By ELLEN ENDO, Rafu Shimpo

As the world begins to shake off the tumult brought on by the unrelenting Year of the Rat, a year that included the tragic COVID-19 pandemic, America’s wide partisan divide, an intensified climate change debate, economic inequality, and the Black Lives Matter movement, a great deal of hope is riding on the shoulders of the Ox.

Expectations are high for 2021. According to fortune tellers, astrologers, and Juunishi (Japanese zodiac) practitioners, the challenges aren’t over yet, but there is good news on the horizon. Kathryn Weber, author of “Year of the Metal Ox,” notes, “The Rat is always looking for opportunities, but the Ox is a thinker. The Ox considers all possibilities and errs on the side of safety and security, something we must all work on in this topsy-turvy pandemic world we still live in.”

Namiko Abe, expert in Japanese language and culture, describes the Ox as “patient, mentally alert…(with) a gift for inspiring confidence in others.” This bodes well for President-elect Joe Biden, born in the Year of the Horse, whose friendship with former President Barack Obama, an Ox-year person, has already validated the Horse-Ox compatibility test.

A few astrological pundits have expressed reservations about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, born in the Year of the Dragon. Those born in Dragon years have been known to clash with Horse-year people. It may take some time, they say, for the two of them to forge a symbiotic working relationship. That’s where the Ox’s patience may come in.

The relationship between President Biden and Sen. Mitch McConnell may be worth watching, as both were born in the year of the Horse.

History tells us that world leaders born in the Year of the Ox include Emperor Hirohito and Margaret Thatcher. Former President Richard Nixon and Adolf Hitler were both born in Ox years. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is an Ox, and so is Paul Manafort.

In the words of Confucius: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

Presented for entertainment purposes only, here are the predictions for each of the animal signs in the Juunishi:

Rat (nezumi): 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

Rats can be charming and can be relentless in pursuing their goals. Outwardly, they appear to be in control and are very self-aware, yet they can become jealous and are quick to anger. Rats are most compatible with the Ox, Monkey, and Dragon.

Ox (ushi): 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Ox-year people are usually calm and logical and can expect a year of prosperity. Their persistence and determination will finally pay off. This also might be a good year to explore the family history and genealogy. Rats, Snakes, and Roosters make the best matches.

Tiger (tora): 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022

People born in the Year of the Tiger are the deep thinkers of the Japanese zodiac. Tigers are sensitive and capable of great empathy, but they can also be selfish. During the Year of the Ox, their capacity for strength and courage will be tested. Tigers are best suited for Horses, Dogs, Boars, and Dragons.

Hare (usagi): 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023

The Hare or Rabbit is considered a gentle, elegant, smooth talking creature who is also trustworthy. Hares represent hope, luck, and long life, but they sometimes lack focus. In the coming year, Hares can expect new opportunities, but may be held back by self-doubt. Ideal companions are Sheep, Monkeys, Dogs, and Boars.

Dragon (tatsu): 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024

Dragons are energetic, honest, brave, and strong. They can also be stubborn and short-tempered. The Dragon and the Ox tend to challenge each other. While good news lies ahead for Dragons, they would be wise to move cautiously this year. Best matches for Dragons are Rats, Monkeys, and Roosters.

Snake (hebi): 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025

Snakes are considered the wisest among the 12 animal signs, especially when it comes to financial matters. They have analytical minds and approach tasks with determination. They are competitive and hate to lose. This also makes them possessive. The Year of the Ox can be fruitful if the snake stays focused and is not distracted by short term gains. Snakes are compatible with those born in Years of the Rat, Hare, Dragon, Horse, Sheep, and Dog.

Horse (uma): 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026

Individuals born in Horse years are talented, glib, and skillful at handling money. They will fare well in the Year of the Ox if they concentrate on their own goals and ambitions and learn to be patient. Often, Horse-year people dwell on past relationships, especially romantic ones, and this can hold them back. Horses get along best with Tigers, Sheep, and Dogs.

Sheep (hitsuji): 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027

Those born in the Year of the Sheep carry themselves regally. Often, they are creative, religious or are committed to causes they feel are righteous. 2021 could be a good year for Sheep, who may be able to find balance under the influence of the Ox. This might also be a good year to walk away from a toxic relationship. Sheep-year people are most compatible with Horses, Hares, and Boars.

Monkey (saru): 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028

Monkeys, known for their quick thinking in handling large-scale projects and in financial dealings, will be busy in 2021. Although the year will be challenging, it is also ideally suited to the Monkey’s abilities. However, Monkeys must try to refrain from saying things they may regret later. Monkeys and Snakes can either be ideal partners or clash with each other. Monkeys are compatible with Rats and Dragons.

Rooster (tori): 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029

After a year of uncertainty, Roosters will be able to recover and thrive during the Year of the Ox. Roosters who can keep their objectives in mind and avoid distractions will be able to pursue their ambitions. Roosters end to be expressive and outspoken. These traits will become valuable both in business and in personal relationships. Dragons and Roosters often have common goals. Tigers, Sheep, Monkeys, and Boars are also compatible.

Dog (inu): 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030

People born in the Year of the Dog are kind-hearted, dependable, and loyal. They are creative and articulate but may not always have self-confidence to speak on their own behalf. Dogs seek stable relationships and can communicate effectively with their partners. Male Dogs are best matched with Dragons, Sheep, and Ox, while the female Dogs are compatible with Hares, Monkeys, and Boars.

Boar (inoshishi): 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031

Those born in the Year of the Boar can look forward to fortunate Year of the Ox, especially where work in concerned, but Boars must remember to remain cautious and weigh all options before making a transaction. Boars are usually calm but can be impulsive and hot-tempered. They are also honest and accommodating to the point of being almost naïve. Most compatible with the Boar are Sheep, Hares, and Tigers.

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