Each year the organization that publishes the Standardized Kanji Test announces the "kanji of the year," the character that best sums up the events of the past twelve months. Previous characters have included inochi (life) in 2005 to mark the terrible young lives lost in suicides that year, tora (tiger) in 2003 to comemorate the Hanshin Tigers' victory that year, nise (fake) in 2007, a year marred by manufactrers intentionally mis-labeling food products, and hen (change) for 2008, symbolizing the many changs the world went through that year. The official kanji for 2009 has been announced, and it's...shin, meaning "new." (Correctly pronounced like "sheen," not like the bone in your leg.) There are many things that were renewed this year, starting with the historic change of government in Japan as the Liberal Democratic Party was defeated by the Democratic Party of Japan, ending a half-century of nearly unbroken rule. The presidency of Mr. Obama was no doubt on the minds of the people who voted for this year's kanji, and perhaps the H1N1 influenza variant, which was a certainly a major concern for everyone this year. It was also a year of renewal for the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation organization itself: scandals involving improper use of funds by the group's former president racked the organization this year, which nearly caused Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple to deny them permission to hold the iconic ceremony there.
The official kanji of 2009 isshin (new), presumably not related to Crayo Shin-chan.