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Japan's Trending Words in Our 2023 Stories: 'After Four Years/Cheering Out Loud'

Relive 2023 through the trending words of the year! We start with the 5th place winner honoring the return of in-person celebrations after 4 years of COVID-19. 



Every year on December 1, "U-can Shingo Ryukogo Taisho" (U-can Prize for New Words and Popular Words of the Year) announces the top 10 trending words of the year. It's a list of new phrases and expressions that people in Japan couldn't get enough of.  

The award is a way to look back at how these words help us understand new trends that emerge throughout the year. 

As 2023 comes to an end, JAPAN Forward has picked up 5 top trending words to relive some of the year's main stories with our readers. 

And without further ado, we start with the expression trending at No 5: "After Four Years/ Cheering Out Loud" (4年ぶり/声出し応援). 

First of 5 in a series

No 5: After Four Years/ Cheering Out Loud (4年ぶり/声出し応援)

Compared to many countries, Japan was slower at completely relaxing COVID-19 restrictions. In May 2023, the government finally downgraded the infectious alert level of the disease. 

Taking this as a cue, many festivals, fireworks shows, and other annual events resumed. They had been on hold for the past four years. 


Summer was full of an air of celebration. It added fun and energy to events and travel, accompanied by a sense of relief and excitement. Finally, those in Japan could celebrate with friends and family again. 

Covering the Trend

JAPAN Forward covered many festivals in all their delights, including one in Zushi. 

Foreign tourists could also enter the country for the first summer since 2019. At JAPAN Forward, we marked some of the new ways in which tourists could enjoy the celebrations. 

Sports and music fans were especially thrilled as leagues allowed spectators at stadiums to once again chant and cheer loudly. This was something that had previously been discouraged. Our music writer, Micah Go, wrote about the best festivals to look forward to in 2023. 

Summer kimono-clad men and women were a regular sight in the streets, adding to a festive and colorful atmosphere. 

Our resident kimono expert, Sheila Cliffe wrote some fashion advice for readers with these celebrations in mind. 

In the past, we had taken opportunities to celebrate together for granted. This year, the return to normality brought with it new expressions of gratitude. 

What is the next word or phrase of the year? Check back for Trending Word No 4 on our list. 

Continues in: Japan's Trending Words in Our 2023 Stories: 'Shogi Watching' (観る将)

Author: JAPAN Forward


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