Japanese Zodiacal Years

The theme for this year's Annual is the Japanese Zodiacal years. On the following break pages are pictured the different animals. Below is an explanation of each of the signs. In Japan, the years, days, and hours each have their distinctive signs of the zodiac. These animals and the bird are often referred to in Japanese history, story, folklore, literature, art and heraldry.

The Cock The Cock represents five virtues. Its comb represents civilization, its strong feet represent military strength, it fights well with an enemy--courage, having found food, it calls friends for the sake of humanity, and watching for the dawn it is faithful .
The Cow The Cow (Ox) is considered a year of luck.
The Dog The dog appears in Japanese history in connection with Shogun Tsunayoshi 1860-1709, who was so fond of dogs that he was given the nickname of Inu-Kubo Dog Prince.
The Dragon The dragon typifies benevolent constructive forces.
The Horse The horse is especially mentioned in connection with the death of Emperor Suinin, 29 B. C.-70 A.D., when, for the first time, instead of living beings buried alive, terra-cotta images of men, horse, and various other things were set around the grave.
The Monkey The monkey has little meaning. The three monkeys, "seeing no evil," "hearing no evil," and "speaking no evil," are connected with Koshen, god of the roads.
The Rabbit The rabbit is connected with the moon. The Sanskrit word for moon means, literally, "one who carries the hare."
The Rat Associated with Daikoku, the God of Wealth.
The Sheep The sheep is not very numerous in Japan and doesn't figure as prominently as the other zodiac signs. The sheep huddled together represents mutual protection.
The Snake The snake is associated with Benten, the Japanese Venus, sea goddess and goddess of love and beauty. She is often represented with a snake coiled around the rock on which she is seated.
The Tiger The tiger is associated with the story of a Zen priest. The priest had a cat which a dog killed. He deplored its death and said: "As you are an animal, you cannot become a Buddha; but because the tiger is the highest of all animals, you must be reborn a tiger."

Photos from Dana Patrick Sowers 1963 Yearbook