2011 hits the animal indication of “Rabbit”. According to the old lunar
calendar that was brought into Japan from China in mid-6th century, the
classification system of “Junishi” (Chinese zodiac) was applied to every
historical year that is represented by 12 kinds of animals individually.
2011 corresponds to the fourth turn animal of “Rabbit”. The fixed order
of animals consists of Rat, Cattle, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse,
Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. According to a fairy tale, when God
called up animals to get together for the new year celebration, Cattle
arrived the meeting place earlier than others for fear of his slow walking
speed. Rat stayed on the back of Cattle and jumped off toward God appearing
as the top animal to see God. This is why Rat was ranked as the first year
Persons born in the Rabbit year are said to have amiable and optimistic
character. They like to get well together with many people and tend to
have long lives. However, they had better be careful about the man vs.
woman relationships. We, Japanese often ask others, “What year were you
born in?” as every year has its own feature. Then, the reply will be “Rabbit
year” for instance. The animal shape of a new year is often printed in
“Nengajo”, greeting card for a new year.