Names in this site follow the Japanese custom of family name first.

January 1, 2015

The Year of the Sheep

2015 is the Year of the Sheep. The sheep or goat is the eight symbolic animal of the East-Asian zodiac.

Years of the Sheep are 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907... etc.


In China the goat may have been the original zodiacal animal, but in Japan this sign of the zodiac is called hitsuji, sheep (goat is yagi). But it is still a cultural import from China, for neither sheep not goats used to be very numerous in Japan, and in art before the Meiji-period they are virtually absent, too. Japanese paintings of these animals are usually copied from Chinese originals. The extreme scarcity of sheep and goats may be due to the fact that there are no grasslands in Japan - except in Hokkaido where one does find sheep today, but that is again a modern phenomenon.

People born in the Year of the Sheep are said to be elegant and highly accomplished in the arts. They are also considered to be passionate in whatever they do.

I wish you a very cultural year!