This year's slogan of the Japan Series baseball champion Hanshin Tigers, "Are (A. R. E.)," was selected as Japan's top buzzword for 2023, the award's organizer said Friday.

The phrase, an acronym for Aim, Respect and Empower, came as Hanshin Tigers manager Akinobu Okada referred to the league championship as "are," which means "that" in English, so as not to add pressure to the team by saying the full phrase out loud.

Photo taken on Nov. 21, 2023, shows a Santa Claus figure wearing a Hanshin Tigers baseball jersey atop the Uroko no Ie in the historical Kitano Ijinkan district of the western Japan city of Kobe. The annual "Sesou" Santa display highlights the year's notable events. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Another baseball-related word "pepper mill performance" also entered the top 10 buzzword list, depicting the celebration gesture performed by St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar, who was a member of the Japanese national team that won the World Baseball Classic in March.

The gesture, which saw Nootbaar use both hands to imitate the movement of turning a pepper grinder, helped bring unity in the Japan team that clinched the WBC title for the third time.

Meanwhile, English call-and-response catchphrase "I'm wearing pants" used by Japanese comedian Tonikaku Akarui Yasumura, 41, in his "naked" acts, did not make the top 10 list but won a special award.

Yasumura -- who strikes elaborate poses while wearing nothing but a pair of underpants, giving the appearance that he is naked -- was the first Japanese performer to compete in the final of "Britain's Got Talent" in June.

Also among the top 10 buzzwords was "mirusho," referring to fans watching shogi live on the internet or TV, as the successful run of 21-year-old shogi prodigy Sota Fujii broadened fan bases for the traditional board game.

Fujii in October became the first player ever to hold all eight major titles.

The list also included "yonenburi/koedashiouen," meaning "for the first time in four years" and "cheer and scream aloud" after people were allowed to take off face masks and fans could make noises at music lives and sports events due to the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

"OSO18/urban bear" also entered the list as Japan saw an increase in bear sightings in cities and towns, sometimes resulting in deadly attacks on humans. OSO18 was the codename for an elusive bear that was finally killed after it had attacked dozens of cattle in eastern Hokkaido in a four-year span beginning in 2019.

"Yami baito," literally meaning "dark part-time work" and implying shadowy illegal work, also made the list.

The concept grabbed headlines in Japan after incidents came to light where individuals were recruited via social media to commit crimes for money.

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