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It's the Year of the Monkey! - ADMISSIONS BLOG | APU Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University International Undergraduate Admissions

ADMISSIONS BLOG

It's the Year of the Monkey!


It's the Year of the Monkey!

  • *Illustration by Puangkorn Trirat (APM, 2nd-year student)
2016 is finally here! As you might know, this is the year of the monkey.

In Japan, New Year is arguably the most widely celebrated holiday of the calendar. As a student in Japan, you will notice ornaments appearing in shops and homes with stylized or realistic depictions of animals. Families and friends exchange New Year cards called “nengajō” which often also have depictions of the same animal. But where does all this come from?

Legend has it that a long, long time ago, a great race was held and all the animals of the wild came to compete. The twelve animals which made it across the finish line first were awarded the honor of having a year named after them for the rest of time. This was the start of the 12 year Chinese zodiac, adapted and adopted all over Asia. The twelve animals, known collectively in Japan as “jūnishi” are (in order):

  • Rat (子) 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
  • Ox (丑) 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
  • Tiger (寅) 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
  • Rabbit (卯) 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
  • Dragon (辰) 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
  • Snake (巳) 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
  • Horse (午) 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
  • Sheep (未) 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
  • Monkey (申) 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
  • Rooster (酉) 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
  • Dog (戌) 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
  • Boar (亥) 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
The labeling of the years continues, following the same pattern all the way from antiquity into the future. Were you able to spot the animal that corresponds to your year of birth?

Whatever the case, this year is the year of the monkey so moderate amounts of monkey-ing around can be tolerated. Here’s to a happy 2016.


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