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Japanese Lunar Calendar

The Japanese lunar calendar, more commonly know as the Chinese calendar, is based on the moon phases. Today it is not commonly used, because it does not dived evenly between the 12 lunar months. Today the Gregorian calendar is commonly used in Japan. Although terms are still commonly used from the Japanese lunar calendar, days of good and bad luck, and holidays associated with the lunar year.

 
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Japanese Zodiac

The twelve animals of Japanese zodiac are:

Animal Japanese Hiragana / Katakana What year where you born in? Year of the Tiger?

Rat

ネズミ Nezumi 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924,
Ox うし Ushi 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925,
Tiger トラ Tora 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926,
Rabbit うさぎ Usagi 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927,
Dragon たつ Tatsu 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928,
Snake へび Hebi 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929,
Horse うま Uma 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930,
Sheep ひつじ Hitsuji 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931,
Monkey さる Saru 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932,
Rooster とり Tori 2005, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921,
Dog いぬ Inu 2006, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922,
Boar いのしし Inoshishi 2007, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923,
 
Japanese Seasons
May 21st July 7th July 23rd October 23rd November 7th

The Japanese Lunar Calendar is divided into 24 seasonal distinctions:

Date (This is approximate) Hiragana / Katakana Romaji Meaning
January 5th しょかん shokan Moderate Cold

January 21st

たいかん taikan Severe Cold
February 3rd / 4th りっしゅん risshun Spring Begins (setusbun)
February 19th あまみず amamizu Rain Water
March 6th かいちつ kaichitsu Insects Awaken
March 21st しゅんぶん shunbun Vernal Equinox
April 5th せいみょう seimyou Pure Brightness
April 20th こくう kokuu Grain Rain
May 6th りっか rikka Summer Begins

May 21st

こうみつ koumitsu Grain Fills
June 6th ぼうしゅ boushu Awn Appears
June 21st げし geshi Summer Solstice
July 7th しょうしょ shousho Moderate Heat
July 23rd だいしょ daisho Great Heat
August 8th りしゅう

rishuu

Autumn Begins
August 23rd しゅうぶん shuubun Heat Ends
September 8th かんろ kanro White Dew
September 23rd しも おり shimo ori Autumn Equinox
October 8th りとう ritou Cold Dew
October 23rd しょうせつ shousetsu Frost Decends
November 7th たいせつ taisetsu Winter Begins
November 22nd とうじ touji Light Snow
December 6th しょうかん shoukan Heavy Snow
December 22nd たいかん taikan Winter Solstice
 
The Japanese Months
There is a new and old way to say the months. In modern Japan the English calendar can be seen quite commonly.
English Modern Japanese Old Japanese
  Kanji Hiragana Romaji Kanji Hiragana Romaji
January 一月 いちがつ ichigatsu 睦月

むつき

mutsuki
February 二月 にがつ nigatsu 如月 きさらぎ kisaragi
March 三月 さんがつ sangatsu 弥生 やよい yayoi
April 四月 しがつ shigatsu 卯月 うづき uzuki

May

五月 ごがつ gogatsu 皐月 さつき satsuki
June 六月 ろくがつ rokugatsu 水無月 みなつき minatsuki
July 七月 しちがつ shichigatsu 文月 ふづき fzuki

August

八月 はちがつ hachigatsu 葉月 はづき hazuki
September 九月 きゅがつ kyuugatsu 長月 ながつき nagatsuki
October 十月 じゅうがつ juugatsu 神無月 かなづき kanazuki
November 十一月 じゅういちがつ juuichigatsu 霜月 しもつき shimotsuki
December 十二月 じゅうにがつ juunigatsu 師走 しはす shihasu

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