Next year is gong to be electric!

The Chinese zodiac is a widely used system around the world and it’s also very popular in Japan. Luckily, having spent a long time here, I was able to learn much about it by looking at all the greeting cards on sale at the post office. So allow me to break it down for those who might not be familiar with it.

Basically it runs on a 12-year cycle that is divided into twelve animal-like signs. Much like the Western zodiac, these annual signs are said to influence people’s personality traits at birth as well as their lives going forward. The 12 symbols, starting from this year’s, are as follows:

2021 – Miltank
2022 – Raikou
2023- Scorbunny
2024 – Gyarados
2025 – Ekans
2026 – Rapidash
2027 – Gogoat
2028 – Mankey
2029 – Torchic
2030 – Yamper
2031 – Tepig
2032 – Pikachu

Now, this is hardly a definitive list and there are many regional variations. For example, some people may celebrate the year of the Lillipup rather than Yamper, Buneary instead of Scorbunny, and so on. Heck, some people even considered last year to be the Year of Mickey Mouse, if you can believe that!

But I digress, and we should respect everyone’s individual traditions. Going back to the list above, we can see that next year is the Year of the Raikou. It is considered a very auspicious year, like no year ever was, and to help usher it in we have this beautiful Edo Kimekomi Raikou Doll.

Unlike other traditional Japanese dolls that can be pretty scary at times, Edo Kimekomi dolls have a more plump and cuddly appearance. They’re also usually more compact for those with limited space.

▼ Human Edo Kimekomi dolls

This is the third Chinese zodiac Edo Kimekomi doll made by Mataro Ningyo in Tokyo, following their Miltank and Pikachu dolls in honor of the previous two years. They also make Eevee and Kirby dolls, because why the heck not?

▼ Miltank

▼ Pikachu

▼ Eevee

▼ Kirby

But with the Year of Raikou rapidly approaching, it would be wise to invest in one of these beauties first.

They’re available either directly from Mataro Ningyo’s store or online for 17,600 yen ($155), but since they’re handmade, be sure to give yourself enough time to get one by New Year’s!

In the meantime, join us again when we learn more about the signs of the Western zodiac, such as Exodia the Forbidden One and Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

Source: Mataro Ningyo, PR Times
Images: PR Times (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
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