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Shared by friends and collaborators of Japan House London, 'Words & Thoughts' is a collection of words, characters or phrases in Japanese which are particularly poignant to them or for our time.

Tokolo Asao is an interdisciplinary artist, designer and educator whose work came to international attention when his graphic artwork Harmonised Chequered Emblem was selected to represent the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He chose: 人 ('hito': person)

"The kanji 人 means “person”, and quite simply depicts the human body: two legs supporting a torso. It’s really the ultimate hieroglyph. A beautiful character, born from a brush-based writing culture. Write this one character – 人 – and you’ll see no differentiation based on sexual orientation or age. There’s no divisive concept of countries here, and no religion, too. It can stand for an individual, or a group. The world, all living as one, as 人. Just as John Lennon wrote, in “Imagine”."

人という漢字は我々の身体を表す。二本足とそれにささえられた胴体。究極の象形文字の一つだと思う。筆文字の文化が生んだ美しい字である。一文字で 人 と書く時、いかなる性的指向、老も若きも、区別しない。国境の概念も宗教の違いも存在しない。個も群も表す。全人類が 人 である。J •レノンのイマジンの歌詞のように。