Japanese Zodiac Signs

Zodiac signs have been a part of the world since ancient times and are even more popular today thanks to the Internet. The signs derive mainly from the constellations themselves. A few known examples that might ring your bell are Aries, Leo, Virgo, Cancer, etc. But, did you know that zodiac signs in Japan are actually different from the Western zodiac?

Japanese zodiac signs were adapted from the Chinese ones, which emerged from the mix of Chinese astrology and Buddhism teachings. It’s based on a lunar year and 12-year sub-cycles. Japan adopted the zodiac calendar in the mid-6th century AD, coining the term Kanshi to describe it. The zodiac in itself has 12 animals that represent each personality depending on the year you were born:

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by FamilieswithChildrenfromChina (@fccny) on

  1. 1. Rat 子 (Ne, Nezumi)

    People who were born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, and 2008 are represented by the “rat'' in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are versatile, kind, creative, wise, and ambitious.

  2. 2. Ox 丑 (Ushi)

    People who were born in 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, and 2009 are represented by the “ox” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are strong, determined, cautious, honest, and loyal.

  3. 3. Tiger 寅 (Tora)

    People who were born in 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, and 2010 are represented by the “tiger” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are friendly, sensitive, confident, competitive, and brave.

  4. 4. Hare/Rabbit 卯 (U, Usagi)

    People who were born in 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011 are represented by the “hare” or “rabbit” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are quiet, elegant, gentle, skillful, and responsible.

  5. 5. Dragon 辰 (Tatsu, Ryū)

    People who were born in 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and 2012 are represented by the “dragon” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are intelligent, successful, innovative, charming, and quick witted.

  6. 6. Snake 巳 (Mi, Hebi)

    People who were born in 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, and 2013 are represented by the “snake” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are discreet, sympathetic, agile, enigmatic, and loving.

  7. 7. Horse 午 (Uma)

    People who were born in 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, and 2014 are represented by the “horse” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are energetic, clever, fashionable, independent, and active.

  8. 8. Sheep, Ram 未 (Hitsuji)

    People who were born in 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, and 2015 are represented by the “sheep” or “ram” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are imaginative, shy, calm, polite, and determined.

  9. 9. Monkey 申 (Saru)

    People who were born in 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, and 2016 are represented by the “monkey” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are charismatic, leaders, curious, smart, and humorous.

  10. 10. Rooster, Cock 酉 (Tori)

    People who were born in 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, and 2017 are represented by the “rooster” or “cock” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are courageous, hard-working, observant, progressive thinkers, and kind-hearted.

  11. 11. Dog 戌 (Inu)

    People who were born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018 are represented by the “dog” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are prudent, faithful, straightforward, venerable, and trustworthy.

  12. 12. Boar, Pig 亥 (I, Inoshishi)

    People who were born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, and 2019 are represented by the “boar” or “pig” in the zodiac calendar. It’s said that people who belong to this zodiac sign are carefree, easygoing, happy, diligent, and compassionate.

These are all the animals represented in the Japanese/Chinese zodiac calendar! If you’re an anime fan, you should watch “Fruits Basket”, where you’ll get to see the Japanese zodiac animals interact in a fun and interesting way. That’s how I got to know about them for the first time. Now, which zodiac animal are you?