“Utsu” means ‘depression’ in Japanese, and the kanji (characters) symbolizing the word will be among the 196 kanji added by the Japan Ministry of Education to its list of common characters, the first change since the list was established in 1981.
The “Joyo Kanji,” a standardized list of 1,945 characters taught to Japanese students through high school, will be expanded to 2,136 characters starting tomorrow, said Yasuhiro Takeda, a researcher at the ministry’s language division. Review of the additions started in 2005, when an initial list of 45,000 kanji from books, websites and newspapers were selected by the ministry. The list was pared by the Council for Cultural Affairs, a government body comprising professors, authors and corporate executives, using public comments through the Internet, Takeda said.
“Our daily life has significantly changed since the guide was made 29 years ago,” said Takeda. “Now it’s more common to type characters instead of handwriting them.”