This year is nearly over. For some people, it was a great year; for others, it wasn't. Japanese people have chosen the kanji (Chinese character) they thought described 2018. The winning kanji means "disaster". This was because of the many natural disasters in Japan in 2018. Japan was hit by typhoons, earthquakes, heavy rains, and a killer heatwave. Hundreds of people died in these disasters. Many roads and houses were destroyed.
The Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation has found a "kanji of the year" since 1995. This year, 193,214 people voted. The second most popular kanji was "peace". Last year, "north" was the winner, because of North Korea's nuclear tests. The world was also hit by natural disasters, including wildfires, hurricanes and tsunami. There were wars in Syria and Yemen. There was suffering because of immigration. People hope next year's kanji will be "happiness".