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The Chinese sexagenary cycle (Chinese: 干支; pinyin: gānzhī) is a cyclic numeral system of 60 combinations of the two basic cycles, the ten Heavenly Stems (天干; tiāngān) and the twelve Earthly Branches (地支; dìzhī). These have been traditionally used as a means of numbering the years, not only in China but also in other East Asian nations like Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

Overview[सम्पादन]

It was first developed in China, then imported through Korea into Japan. China has had a knowledge of eto since antiquity, but it was much later in the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC- 8 AD) that it was used in the calendar. According to Nihon shoki (日本書紀), the calendar was transmitted to Japan in 553. But it was not until the Suiko (推古) era around 602 that the calendar was used for politics.

The calendar is calculated by combining the jikkan (十干 the 10 stems) and jūnishi (十二支 the 12 branches). These two sets of terms were used to enumerate years of the civil calendar. Combining the series form a greater cycle of 60 terms, as the least common multiple of 10 and 12 is 60. The first term is formed by adding the first stem to the first branch, then the second stem to the second branch, and so on. If you start with kinoe-ne (甲子), so the 61st year would also be kinoe-ne. This was how the tradition of celebrating the 60th birthday (還暦) began. This counting system employing things of nature and animals create many myths, and people of Japan today still consider the good and bad luck of certain days and years.

The year 604, when the Japanese officially adopted the Chinese calendar, was the first year of the cycle. The year 1984 began the present cycle, and 2044 will begin another.

Ten Heavenly Stems[सम्पादन]

  Heavenly
Stem
Chinese
name
Japanese
name
Korean
name
Vietnamese
name
Yin Yang Element
1 jiǎ kō/kinoe (木の兄) gap 갑 giáp yang wood
2 otsu/kinoto (木の弟) eul 을 ất yin
3 bǐng hei/hinoe (火の兄) byeong 병 bính yang fire
4 dīng tei/hinoto (火の弟) jeong 정 đinh yin
5 bo/tsuchinoe (土の兄) mu 무 mậu yang earth
6 ki/tsuchinoto (土の弟) gi 기 kỷ yin
7 gēng kō/kanoe (金の兄) gyeong 경 canh yang metal
8 xīn shin/kanoto (金の弟) shin 신 tân yin
9 rén jin/mizunoe (水の兄) im 임 nhâm yang water
10 guǐ ki/mizunoto (水の弟) gye 계 quý yin

Twelve Earthly Branches[सम्पादन]

  Earthly
Branch
Chinese
name
Japanese
name
Korean
name
Vietnamese
name
Chinese
zodiac
Corresponding
hours
1 shi/ne ja 자 Rat/Mouse (鼠) 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
2 chǒu chū/ushi chuk 축 sửu Ox/Cow/Bull (牛) 1 to 3 a.m.
3 yín in/tora in 인 dần Tiger (虎) 3 to 5 a.m.
4 mǎo bō/u myo 묘 mẹo/mão Rabbit/Hare* (兔) 5 to 7 a.m.
5 chén shin/tatsu jin 진 thìn Dragon (龍) 7 to 9 a.m.
6 shi/mi sa 사 tỵ Snake (蛇) 9 to 11 a.m.
7 go/uma o 오 ngọ Horse (馬) 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
8 wèi mi or bi/hitsuji mi 미 mùi Sheep/Goat (羊) 1 to 3 p.m.
9 shēn shin/saru shin 신 thân Monkey (猴) 3 to 5 p.m.
10 yǒu yū/tori yu 유 dậu Chicken/Rooster (雞) 5 to 7 p.m.
11 jutsu/inu sul 술 tuất Dog (狗) 7 to 9 p.m.
12 hài gai/i hae 해 hợi Pig/Boar (豬) 9 to 11 p.m.

*The names of several animals can be translated into English in several different ways. The Vietnamese Earthly Branches use Cat instead of Rabbit/Hare.

In a traditional story of the twelve animals, the cat and rat were once good friends, but the animals to be selected to represent the years included the cat but not the rat. These animals had to present themselves to be given the honour of representing the years in the cycle, and the cat asked the rat to wake him up before they had to go. The rat didn't do this, but instead went himself. When they came to cross a river, the rat jumped on the ox's back, and just before the ox got to the bank, the rat jumped off and was first in line. This is why the twelve animals are lead by the rat, and because the cat was cheated out of its rightful place, rats are forever sought out by cats for revenge.

Sexagenary Cycle[सम्पादन]

  Stem-Branch Chinese
name
Korean
name
Japanese
name
Associations
1 甲子 jiǎ-zǐ gapja 갑자 kōshi/kinoe-ne Yang Wood Rat
2 乙丑 yǐ-chǒu eulchuk 을축 itchū/kinoto-ushi Yin Wood Ox
3 丙寅 bǐng-yín byeongin 병인 heiin/hinoe-tora Yang Fire Tiger
4 丁卯 dīng-mǎo jeongmyo 정묘 teibō/hinoto-u Yin Fire Rabbit
5 戊辰 wù-chén mujin 무진 boshin/tsuchinoe-tatsu Yang Earth Dragon
6 己巳 jǐ-sì gisa 기사 kishi/tsuchinoto-mi Yin Earth Snake
7 庚午 gēng-wǔ gyeongo 경오 kōgo/kanoe-uma Yang Metal Horse
8 辛未 xīn-wèi shinmi 신미 shinbi/kanoto-hitsuji Yin Metal Sheep
9 壬申 rén-shēn imshin 임신 jinshin/mizunoe-saru Yang Water Monkey
10 癸酉 guǐ-yǒu gyeyu 계유 kiyū/mizunoto-tori Yin Water Chicken
11 甲戌 jiǎ-xū gapsul 갑술 kōjutsu/kinoe-inu Yang Wood Dog
12 乙亥 yǐ-hài eulhae 을해 itsugai/kinoto-i Yin Wood Pig
13 丙子 bǐng-zǐ byeongja 병자 heishi/hinoe-ne Yang Fire Rat
14 丁丑 dīng-chǒu jeongchuk 정축 teichū/hinoto-ushi Yin Fire Ox
15 戊寅 wù-yín muin 무인 boin/tsuchinoe-tora Yang Earth Tiger
16 己卯 jǐ-mǎo gimyo 기묘 kibō/tsuchinoto-u Yin Earth Rabbit
17 庚辰 gēng-chén gyeongjin 경진 kōshin/kanoe-tatsu Yang Metal Dragon
18 辛巳 xīn-sì shinsa 신사 shinshi/kanoto-mi Yin Metal Snake
19 壬午 rén-wǔ imo 임오 jingo/mizunoe-uma Yang Water Horse
20 癸未 guǐ-wèi gyemi 계미 kibi/mizunoto-hitsuji Yin Water Sheep
21 甲申 jiǎ-shēn gapshin 갑신 kōshin/kinoe-saru Yang Wood Monkey
22 乙酉 yǐ-yǒu eulyu 을유 itsuyū/kinoto-tori Yin Wood Chicken
23 丙戌 bǐng-xū byeongsul 병술 heijutsu/hinoe-inu Yang Fire Dog
24 丁亥 dīng-hài jeonghae 정해 teigai/hinoto-i Yin Fire Pig
25 戊子 wù-zǐ muja 무자 boshi/tsuchinoe-ne Yang Earth Rat
26 己丑 jǐ-chǒu gichuk 기축 kichū/tsuchinoto-ushi Yin Earth Ox
27 庚寅 gēng-yín gyeongin 경인 kōin/kanoe-tora Yang Metal Tiger
28 辛卯 xīn-mǎo shinmyo 신묘 shinbō/kanoto-u Yin Metal Rabbit
29 壬辰 rén-chén imjin 임진 jinshin/mizunoe-tatsu Yang Water Dragon
30 癸巳 guǐ-sì gyesa 계사 kishi/mizunoto-mi Yin Water Snake
31 甲午 jiǎ-wǔ gapo 갑오 kōgo/kinoe-uma Yang Wood Horse
32 乙未 yǐ-wèi eulmi 을미 itsubi/kinoto-hitsuji Yin Wood Sheep
33 丙申 bǐng-shēn byeongshin 병신 heishin/hinoe-saru Yang Fire Monkey
34 丁酉 dīng-yǒu jeongyu 정유 teiyū/hinoto-tori Yin Fire Chicken
35 戊戌 wù-xū musul 무술 bojutsu/tsuchinoe-inu Yang Earth Dog
36 己亥 jǐ-hài gihae 기해 kigai/tsuchinoto-i Yin Earth Pig
37 庚子 gēng-zǐ gyeongja 경자 kōshi/kanoe-ne Yang Metal Rat
38 辛丑 xīn-chǒu shinchuk 신축 shinchū/kanoto-ushi Yin Metal Ox
39 壬寅 rén-yín imin 임인 jin'in/mizunoe-tora Yang Water Tiger
40 癸卯 guǐ-mǎo gyemyo 계묘 kibō/mizunoto-u Yin Water Rabbit
41 甲辰 jiǎ-chén gapjin 갑진 kōshin/kinoe-tatsu Yang Wood Dragon
42 乙巳 yǐ-sì eulsa 을사 itsushi/kinoto-mi Yin Wood Snake
43 丙午 bǐng-wǔ byeongo 병오 heigo/hinoe-uma Yang Fire Horse
44 丁未 dīng-wèi jeongmi 정미 teibi/hinoto-hitsuji Yin Fire Sheep
45 戊申 wù-shēn mushin 무신 boshin/tsuchinoe-saru Yang Earth Monkey
46 己酉 jǐ-yǒu giyu 기유 kiyū/tsuchinoto-tori Yin Earth Chicken
47 庚戌 gēng-xū gyeongsul 경술 kōjutsu/kanoe-inu Yang Metal Dog
48 辛亥 xīn-hài shinhae 신해 shingai/kanoto-i Yin Metal Pig
49 壬子 rén-zǐ imja 임자 jinshi/mizunoe-ne Yang Water Rat
50 癸丑 guǐ-chǒu gyechuk 계축 kichū/mizunoto-ushi Yin Water Ox
51 甲寅 jiǎ-yín gapin 갑인 kōin/kinoe-tora Yang Wood Tiger
52 乙卯 yǐ-mǎo eulmyo 을묘 itsubō/kinoto-u Yin Wood Rabbit
53 丙辰 bǐng-chén byeongjin 병진 heishin/hinoe-tatsu Yang Fire Dragon
54 丁巳 dīng-sì jeongsa 정사 teishi/hinoto-mi Yin Fire Snake
55 戊午 wù-wǔ muo 무오 bogo/tsuchinoe-uma Yang Earth Horse
56 己未 jǐ-wèi gimi 기미 kibi/tsuchinoto-hitsuji Yin Earth Sheep
57 庚申 gēng-shēn gyeongshin 경신 kōshin/kanoe-saru Yang Metal Monkey
58 辛酉 xīn-yǒu shinyu 신유 shin'yū/kanoto-tori Yin Metal Chicken
59 壬戌 rén-xū imsul 임술 jinjutsu/mizunoe-inu Yang Water Dog
60 癸亥 guǐ-hài gyehae 계해 kigai/mizunoto-i Yin Water Pig

The sexagenary cycle was first used for days in the Shang Dynasty, and later also used for years and less commonly for months.

For example, the year 2000 was 17th year of the 78th sexagenary cycle, a gēng-chén year (庚辰年), a year of the Yang Metal Dragon. Therefore, 2006 is 23rd year of the 78th sexagenary cycle, called a bǐng-xū year (丙戌年), a year of the Yang Fire Dog.

The naming of the months and days is not common now, although they will be shown on Chinese calendars and almanacs.

स्वया दिसँ[सम्पादन]