Sexagenary cycle

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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.

Contents

[edit] Overview

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.

[edit] Ten Heavenly Stems

  Heavenly
Stem
Chinese
name
Japanese
name
Korean
name
Vietnamese
name
Yin Yang Element
1jiǎkō/kinoe (木の兄)gap 갑giápyang wood
2otsu/kinoto (木の弟)eul 을ấtyin
3bǐnghei/hinoe (火の兄)byeong 병bínhyang fire
4dīngtei/hinoto (火の弟)jeong 정đinhyin
5bo/tsuchinoe (土の兄)mu 무mậuyang earth</td>
6ki/tsuchinoto (土の弟)gi 기kỷyin
7gēngkō/kanoe (金の兄)gyeong 경canhyang metal
8xīnshin/kanoto (金の弟)shin 신tânyin
9rénjin/mizunoe (水の兄)im 임nhâmyang water
10guǐki/mizunoto (水の弟)gye 계quýyin

[edit] Twelve Earthly Branches

  Earthly
Branch
Chinese
name
Japanese
name
Korean
name
Vietnamese
name
Chinese
zodiac
Corresponding
hours
1shi/neja 자Rat/Mouse (鼠)11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
2chǒuchū/ushichuk 축sửu Ox/Cow/Bull (牛)1 to 3 a.m.
3yínin/torain 인dần Tiger (虎)3 to 5 a.m.
4mǎobō/umyo 묘mẹo/mão Rabbit/Hare* (兔)5 to 7 a.m.
5chénshin/tatsujin 진thìn Dragon (龍)7 to 9 a.m.
6shi/misa 사tỵ Snake (蛇)9 to 11 a.m.
7go/umao 오ngọ Horse (馬)11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
8wèimi or bi/hitsujimi 미mùi Sheep/Goat (羊)1 to 3 p.m.
9shēnshin/sarushin 신thân Monkey (猴)3 to 5 p.m.
10yǒuyū/toriyu 유dậu Chicken/Rooster (雞)5 to 7 p.m.
11jutsu/inusul 술tuất Dog (狗)7 to 9 p.m.
12hàigai/ihae 해hợi 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.

[edit] Sexagenary Cycle

 Stem-BranchChinese
name
Korean
name
Japanese
name
Associations
1甲子jiǎ-zǐgapja 갑자kōshi/kinoe-neYang Wood Rat
2乙丑yǐ-chǒueulchuk 을축itchū/kinoto-ushiYin Wood Ox
3丙寅bǐng-yínbyeongin 병인heiin/hinoe-toraYang Fire Tiger
4丁卯dīng-mǎojeongmyo 정묘teibō/hinoto-uYin Fire Rabbit
5戊辰wù-chénmujin 무진boshin/tsuchinoe-tatsuYang Earth Dragon
6己巳jǐ-sìgisa 기사kishi/tsuchinoto-miYin Earth Snake
7庚午gēng-wǔgyeongo 경오kōgo/kanoe-umaYang Metal Horse
8辛未xīn-wèishinmi 신미shinbi/kanoto-hitsujiYin Metal Sheep
9壬申rén-shēnimshin 임신jinshin/mizunoe-saruYang Water Monkey
10癸酉guǐ-yǒugyeyu 계유kiyū/mizunoto-toriYin Water Chicken
11甲戌jiǎ-xūgapsul 갑술kōjutsu/kinoe-inuYang Wood Dog
12乙亥yǐ-hàieulhae 을해itsugai/kinoto-iYin Wood Pig
13丙子bǐng-zǐbyeongja 병자heishi/hinoe-neYang Fire Rat
14丁丑dīng-chǒujeongchuk 정축teichū/hinoto-ushiYin Fire Ox
15戊寅wù-yínmuin 무인boin/tsuchinoe-toraYang Earth Tiger
16己卯jǐ-mǎogimyo 기묘kibō/tsuchinoto-uYin Earth Rabbit
17庚辰gēng-chéngyeongjin 경진kōshin/kanoe-tatsuYang Metal Dragon
18辛巳xīn-sìshinsa 신사shinshi/kanoto-miYin Metal Snake
19壬午rén-wǔimo 임오jingo/mizunoe-umaYang Water Horse
20癸未guǐ-wèigyemi 계미kibi/mizunoto-hitsujiYin Water Sheep
21甲申jiǎ-shēngapshin 갑신kōshin/kinoe-saruYang Wood Monkey
22乙酉yǐ-yǒueulyu 을유itsuyū/kinoto-toriYin Wood Chicken
23丙戌bǐng-xūbyeongsul 병술heijutsu/hinoe-inuYang Fire Dog
24丁亥dīng-hàijeonghae 정해teigai/hinoto-iYin Fire Pig
25戊子wù-zǐmuja 무자boshi/tsuchinoe-neYang Earth Rat
26己丑jǐ-chǒugichuk 기축kichū/tsuchinoto-ushiYin Earth Ox
27庚寅gēng-yíngyeongin 경인kōin/kanoe-toraYang Metal Tiger
28辛卯xīn-mǎoshinmyo 신묘shinbō/kanoto-uYin Metal Rabbit
29壬辰rén-chénimjin 임진jinshin/mizunoe-tatsuYang Water Dragon
30癸巳guǐ-sìgyesa 계사kishi/mizunoto-miYin Water Snake
31甲午jiǎ-wǔgapo 갑오kōgo/kinoe-umaYang Wood Horse
32乙未yǐ-wèieulmi 을미itsubi/kinoto-hitsujiYin Wood Sheep
33丙申bǐng-shēnbyeongshin 병신heishin/hinoe-saruYang Fire Monkey
34丁酉dīng-yǒujeongyu 정유teiyū/hinoto-toriYin Fire Chicken
35戊戌wù-xūmusul 무술bojutsu/tsuchinoe-inuYang Earth Dog
36己亥jǐ-hàigihae 기해kigai/tsuchinoto-iYin Earth Pig
37庚子gēng-zǐgyeongja 경자kōshi/kanoe-neYang Metal Rat
38辛丑xīn-chǒushinchuk 신축shinchū/kanoto-ushiYin Metal Ox
39壬寅rén-yínimin 임인jin'in/mizunoe-toraYang Water Tiger
40癸卯guǐ-mǎogyemyo 계묘kibō/mizunoto-uYin Water Rabbit
41甲辰jiǎ-chéngapjin 갑진kōshin/kinoe-tatsuYang Wood Dragon
42乙巳yǐ-sìeulsa 을사itsushi/kinoto-miYin Wood Snake
43丙午bǐng-wǔbyeongo 병오heigo/hinoe-umaYang Fire Horse
44丁未dīng-wèijeongmi 정미teibi/hinoto-hitsujiYin Fire Sheep
45戊申wù-shēnmushin 무신boshin/tsuchinoe-saruYang Earth Monkey
46己酉jǐ-yǒugiyu 기유kiyū/tsuchinoto-toriYin Earth Chicken
47庚戌gēng-xūgyeongsul 경술kōjutsu/kanoe-inuYang Metal Dog
48辛亥xīn-hàishinhae 신해shingai/kanoto-iYin Metal Pig
49壬子rén-zǐimja 임자jinshi/mizunoe-neYang Water Rat
50癸丑guǐ-chǒugyechuk 계축kichū/mizunoto-ushiYin Water Ox
51甲寅jiǎ-yíngapin 갑인kōin/kinoe-toraYang Wood Tiger
52乙卯yǐ-mǎoeulmyo 을묘itsubō/kinoto-uYin Wood Rabbit
53丙辰bǐng-chénbyeongjin 병진heishin/hinoe-tatsuYang Fire Dragon
54丁巳dīng-sìjeongsa 정사teishi/hinoto-miYin Fire Snake
55戊午wù-wǔmuo 무오bogo/tsuchinoe-umaYang Earth Horse
56己未jǐ-wèigimi 기미kibi/tsuchinoto-hitsujiYin Earth Sheep
57庚申gēng-shēngyeongshin 경신kōshin/kanoe-saruYang Metal Monkey
58辛酉xīn-yǒushinyu 신유shin'yū/kanoto-toriYin Metal Chicken
59壬戌rén-xūimsul 임술jinjutsu/mizunoe-inuYang Water Dog
60癸亥guǐ-hàigyehae 계해kigai/mizunoto-iYin 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.

[edit] See also

fr:Cycle sexagésimal ko:육십간지 ja:干支 sv:Sexagesimala_cykeln vi:Can Chi zh:干支(测试)

Sexagenary cycle

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