I star

I've noticed advertising around Yokohama recently featuring the slogan "I ⭐️ YOKOHAMA." Context made it clear that the goal was to encourage women to support the Yokohama BayStars baseball team, but how to read that catchprase? "I star Yokohama"?

It turns out that it's not only obviously derived from the "I ❤️ NY" pattern, but it's actually supposed to be pronounced "I love Yokohama." Why? Because...

Each and every person who loves Yokohama shines like a star in the night sky as they join together to make an even more enchanting Yokohama: [the logo] expresses these feelings not with the LOVE of a heart but rather with a ⭐️.

This may seem arbitrary at first and, well, it is. But it's completely in line with the norms of the Japanese writing system, where any given Chinese character — or indeed any character at all — can be assigned any pronunciation at all, just by writing it down in slightly smaller characters off to one side. If 一致 can be "harmony", ⭐️ can certainly be "love."

Popularity factor: 4

All fields optional:

There was "We [NBC logo] Comedy"


maybe they're taking inspiration from Twitter, which uses a star icon for "favoriting" tweets


I ಠ_ಠ Yokohama.


Not just Twitter; a lot of software is using the star as a visual icon for favorites—Firefox bookmarks, Gmail gold star… (I think this latter might be earlier than Twitter?) It seems like a natural extension from star-rating scales (movie reviews, hotels, Michelin); you just simplify the scales to a binary property. Perhaps we should read it as "I favour Yokohama", preferably with a posh RP accent.

Comment season is closed.