Japan selects ‘disaster’ character to define 2018

The “disaster” symbol has been selected by Japan to define the year of 2018

By: Denise Corsel

2018 has been a tough and challenging year. Disasters have left a big impact on all continents. Japan, which has been specially affected, has selected ‘disaster’ as a symbol to define this year as part of a competition. This symbol is pronounced like the word: “sigh” in English. The competition has been run since 1995 by the Kanji Aptitude Testin Foundation.

In 2018, Japan suffered from numerous disasters (i.e. triggered by flooding, earthquakes, typhoons and heatwaves). Almost 200 people were killed and millions were evacuated due to floods in July. A few days later, 65 people died and more than 20,000 people were hospitalised due to a heatwave. In September, the powerful Typhoon Jebi hit western Japan. This storm was the strongest to hit the country in the past 25 years. At least 10 people were left dead and thousands were stranded after the storm. Also in  September, a powerful 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck Japan’s island of Hokkaido, which triggered landslides.

The rest of the world was also affected by numerous disasters in 2018. For instance:

  • In May, there was a heat wave in Pakistan, which resulted in 180 deaths.
  • In June, there was volcanic eruption in Guatemala, which resulted in 425 deaths.
  • In July, Greece was affected by wildfires, which resulted in 126 deaths.
  • In August, floods severely affected India, especially Kerala, which resulted in 361 deaths, landslides and people displaced from their homes.
  • In September, a 7.5 magnitute earthquake and subsequent 20-foot tsunami hit Sulawesi Island in Indonesia resulted in about 2,780 deaths and left more than 330,000 people homeless.
  • In September, floods stuck Nigeria, which resulted in 200 deaths, the destruction of more than 13,000 home and more than half a million people displaced.
  • In November, California was impacted by numerous wildfires that spread quickly, which led to 91 combined deaths and more than 230,000 acres of land damaged.
  • In December, the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia were hit by a tsunami, which resulted in 430 deaths, 1,500 injured and many more displaced.

These disasters were all very devastating. Tragically, these are only a few of the disasters that occurred worldwide in 2018.

Source: BBC, 2018.

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