By ELLEN ENDO, Rafu Shimpo

Back in January 2022, it was predicted that the Year of the Tiger would bring optimism and purpose to a world weary of the pandemic’s chokehold. With the approaching new year, eager followers of Asian astrology are turning to the Rabbit to effect a long-anticipated post-COVID course correction.

Recommendation: Don’t throw those N95s away just yet. It has been 21 years since shoe bomber Richard Reid hid an explosive in his sneaker, and we’re still removing our shoes at the airport security gate. It’s safe to say that face masks are here to stay.

Likewise, experts in Asian astrology emphasize that 2023 is the Year of the Water Rabbit, which occurs every 60 years and can bring hopes and aspirations to life. The previous Water Rabbit bowed in 1963, a year noted for history-making events, including turning points in the Vietnam War, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the civil rights movement in America, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The Japanese zodiac (juunishi) is divided into 12 blocks, each given an animal name based on the ancient Chinese concept that all time shifts are based on these 12 units. Since 1873, the official Japanese New Year has been celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar on Jan. 1 each year.

Fifty-six distinct cultures observe the arrival of the new year, including China, Tibet, Vietnam, North Korea and South Korea, which observe the lunisolar new year beginning Jan. 22, 2023. The Korean celebrations last for three days. Each year in the repeating 12-year cycle is represented by an animal and those born in those animal years are said to exhibit the attributes of the animals.

The following attributes assigned to the astrological animals are shared here for entertainment purposes only:

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

Rats are most compatible with the Ox, Monkey, and Dragon. Rabbits, Horses, and Roosters are not good matches. Rats are resourceful, smart, and have creative imaginations, but occasionally lack courage. Rats know how to take advantage of an opportunity, are thrifty and work diligently. Rats are charming and many become wealthy and prosperous. They are also easily angered but will rarely openly disagree with someone. Rats make excellent administrators, entrepreneurs, broadcasters, entertainers, politicians, lawyers, and researchers. 2023 will be a lucky year for the Rat.

Ox (ushi1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Those born in an Ox year are the strongest animal signs in the Asian zodiac and have become a symbol of strength, persistence, wealth, and patience. They are also mentally alert and adept at public speaking. 2023 is expected to bring prosperity to the Ox-born people, whose positive attitude helps others build confidence. The website predicts a year of prosperity in 2023. The female Ox makes a faithful wife and attentive mother. The male Ox is often quite patriotic. Good luck is forecast for Ox people in 2023, especially those who work diligently and/or have their own business. The Ox pair up well with the Rat, Snake, and Rooster, but not the Tiger, Ram, Monkey, or Horse.

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

Overall fortunes for Tigers are destined to improve in life and at work in 2023. The new year will bring improved career opportunities and salary increases. Romance is also predicted in 2023. Tigers are set to meet more people, including those of the opposite sex. Tigers are brave, confident, and charming, but they can sometimes be stubborn, irritable, competitive, unpredictable, overindulgent, and do not like to prepare for things. On the other hand, they can manage anything. They never go back on what they have said. Tigers are compatible with Horses, Dogs, and Boars. They should avoid the Ox, Snake, Ram, and Monkey.

Rabbit (usagi) 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023

Those born in the Year of the Rabbit are often known to be kind, sociable, empathetic, polite, and meticulous. They also can be unambitious, overly cautious, and tend to avoid sharing details about their personal life. Rabbits need someone gentle and considerate. They like to feel secure and socially active, so it helps if their partner has wealth. Rabbits are good matches for Rams, Monkeys, Dogs, and Boars. Famous Rabbits include Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Tiger Woods, soccer stars David Beckham and Lionel Messi, singer Marvin Gaye, and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.

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

Dragons are the most powerful animals and only mythical creature in Asian astrology. Although Dragons are associated with being aggressive and hotheaded, they are also intelligent, enthusiastic, and courageous. The Dragon’s finances will grow with improved earnings.  Lucky months for Dragons in 2023 are March, April, and July. Red and purple are lucky colors for Dragons. Dragons are compatible with Rats, Monkeys, and Roosters, but are less compatible with Dogs. Famous Dragon year people include Bruce Lee, John Lennon, and Charles Darwin. Dragons are well suited to careers as teachers, journalists, lawyers, engineers, architects, and salespeople.

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

Snakes are symbols of seduction and mystery. They are observant and calm as well as intelligent, wise, creative, and great thinkers. They prefer to be private and are focused on their goals. Lucky months are January, August, and November, and fortunes will be stable. A Snake partners best with the Ox or Rooster but should stay away from Tigers, Horses, and Boars. Snakes are creative and hard-working but tend to change jobs frequently. They would make excellent analysts, investigators, potters, jewelers, dieticians, and sociologists.

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

Energetic and gregarious, the Horse loves to be in a crowd at the theater, concert, sporting events, and parties. Horses possess a deft sense of humor and love attention, often to the point of being self-centered. In truth, however, Horses secretly lack confidence. Lucky months in 2023 will be April, September, and December, but the year will be plagued by difficulties at work and could impact finances. Horses are often impatient and tend to dwell on the past rather than look toward the future. Fortunately, personal relationships for Horses may be an area of stability. they often lack patience and tend to dwell on the past rather than move forward. Tigers, Sheep, and Dogs are good matches for Horses.

Ram (hitsuji) 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

Sheep-year people are the artists of the Japanese zodiac. They are gentle, calm, elegant, empathetic and love nature. They possess a keen sense of justice and are creative yet tend to be resilient and tough on the inside. The Ram prefers to be in groups even though they are reserved and quiet. Rams favor fashionable clothes and high-quality accessories but are not snobbish. Sheep-year people are compatible with Rabbits, Horses, Boars, and other Rams. The Ox, Tiger, and Dog are not compatible.

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

The Monkey, which is the ninth of the 12 animals, is compatible with Rats and Dragons. Monkeys are quick-witted, smart, and curious. They are mischievousness and clever and enjoy playing practical jokes. Occasionally, the pranks hurt other people’s feelings. Not everyone can keep up with the Monkey’s fast-paced energy, but they can be compatible with a Rat, Dragon, or Dog. Monkeys should avoid the Ox and Tiger. In 2023, there will be challenges. Monkeys will do well in their career if they are able to build their self-confidence and solidify the relationship with their partner.

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

Rooster-year people are industrious, resourceful, charming, and confident. They are often the center of attention, talkative, outspoken, and honest. They are loyal friends who always keep their promises. On the darker side, they can be vain and like to brag about themselves and their accomplishments. This tends to annoy people around them. Roosters are best with the Ox, Dragon, and Snake, and worst with Rats and Rabbits. Roosters may face new challenges in 2023 and are advised to remain optimistic while also spending time to refine job skills and focus on career development.

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

June, October, and December will be the best months for those born in the Year of the Dog. The autumn months will also be favorable for Dogs, who are believed to be dutiful, loyal, and honest. Dogs are also confident and seek stable relationships. Tigers, Rabbits, Horses, and Monkeys get along best with Dog-year people. Dragons and Rams are the least compatible. Dogs are encouraged to pay special attention to health and finances. The romantic life of the Dog will trend upward. The best career path for Dogs is one in which they serve others. Dogs are seen as valuable employees, are easygoing, and kind.

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

The Boar, or Pig, can appear to be calm under pressure. They set goals and work diligently toward achieving that goal. Boars prefer to work alone but will offer to lend a hand to others. They are oblivious to the deception of others who might take advantage of them. Boars have a strong sense of responsibility and are determined to complete a project no matter how difficult. The best partners for Boars are Rams, Tigers, and Rabbits. The Snake is the least compatible. Best months for Boars in 2023 are February, July, October, and November. Overall fortune, salary advancement, and promotions seem favorable in the coming year. Among famous people born in the Year of the Boar are Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hillary Clinton, and Elvis Presley.

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