December 12. For most people, it is a day that holds little significance, but for the people of Japan, it is a celebration of their native language.
Since 1995, the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Association has hosted the ‘Kanji of the Year,’ an annual event where the Japanese public vote for a single Kanji character that reflects on the political, environmental, economical, and social events that have occurred in the last 12 months. While an important event in Japan, there is little to no material accessible for non-Japanese speakers. As a response to this, my project 12 • 12, is a series of illustrations in the form of risograph prints and a print publication explaining the meaning of the character and the reason why it was chosen as the Kanji of that year.
12 • 12 pays homage to Japanese design aesthetics and printing practices, and serves as a visual guide for foreigners interested in Japanese culture, giving an insight into the events that impacted on contemporary Japanese society, whilst still celebrating the beauty of Kanji and the Japanese language.