Sanmitsu — or the “Three Cs” approach to preventing COVID-19 infection by avoiding closed spaces, crowds and close-contact situations — was chosen Dec. 1 as Japan’s buzzword of the year.
With the novel coronavirus pandemic dominating everyday lives, the words and phrases that made the top 10 were largely related to the virus. They included:
・“Abenomask,” which literally means “Abe’s mask” and describes one of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s signature COVID-19 policies of distributing two cloth face masks per household as stores across the nation faced a shortage
・“Amabie,” a mythical sea creature that first appeared in the popular consciousness back in the Edo Period in Kumamoto Prefecture and is said to predict both a rich harvest and a pandemic
・“Go To campaign,” which refers to a series of government programs intended to revitalize the economy amid impacts of the pandemic, especially in the hard-hit tourism, food and entertainment sectors
The buzzwords, selected annually by publishing house Jiyukokuminsha, provide a unique insight into the nation’s social trends, as well as the political, business and sports news of the year.
The term sanmitsu, awarded the top prize, was popularized by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who used it frequently to remind the public to practice social distancing. (The Japan Times)