[WotD] – toradoshi

寅年 [とらどし] – the year of the tiger
寅 [イン・とら] tiger (in the Chinese zodiacal system)
年 [ネン・とし] year

The New Year is upon us. Goodbye ox, hello tiger. Some of you may have noticed that this 寅 [とら] tiger is different from this way that the animal tiger is normally written in Japanese: 虎 [とら]. When naming their signs of the zodiac, for some reason the Chinese used different symbols from those used to describe animals. The Japanese also use this system to name their years. Let’s take a look at the Chinese zodiac:

十二支 [じゅうにし] – the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac
Chinese English Japanese
rat 鼠 [ねずみ]
ox 雄牛 [おうし]
tiger 虎 [とら]
rabbit 兎 [うさぎ]
dragon 龍 [りゅう]
snake 蛇 [へび]
horse 馬 [うま]
ram 羊 [ひつじ]
monkey 猿 [さる]
rooster 鳥 [とり]
dog 犬 [いぬ]
pig 豚 [ぶた]

So… what’s your sign?