2018: Year of the Earth Dog

新年明けましておめでとう! (Happy New Year everyone!)

As the new year of 2018 begins for all of us, it’s time to get on with some new posts. Just about everyone wishes to progress though the year with as much success as possible. Those that do so following the Chinese Zodiac calendar generally look to this first to see what is in store for the new year, such as to find out what sign is being represented. In case you didn’t know, the sign for 2018 is the Dog.

As was discussed in a similar post regarding the Rooster Sign and the Chinese Zodiac calendar last year, every year follows an ancient astrological system that predicts how things will unfold. A zodiac sign is used to explain this, which is represented by an animal for easier understand. Well, this happens to be the dog sign, an animal that is, in many modern societies around the world, beloved and a symbol of comroderie. How does this relate to the traits that the dog sign of the Zodiac calendar represents? Let’s find out.


  • Chinese New Years takes place on February 16, which is when the year of the Earth Dog begins according to the Chinese Zodiac calendar.
  • In relations to fortune telling, the dog sign of old is associated to the 10th month of the year¹, falls in the middle of 8 pm (and continues on for another 2 hours) on the old clock system, it’s direction is north-west-north², and is the 35th year in the current 60-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac calendar.
  • In Japanese, the year of the dog is “Inudoshi”, which is written as “戌年”.
  • According to the Eto³ (Japanese for both the 12 Animal Zodiac signs and 5 Elements), the element that accompanies the dog sign this year is earth. Thus, the astrological naming convention for this year is “Earth Dog”.
  • Earth Dog is written as “Tsuchi no E Inu”, or “戊戌⁴”. This does not use the standardize kanji for both “earth” and “dog”.
  • The dog sign represents dedication, effort, and leadership. The earth element supports those qualities, giving the intentions behind them a sense of justice.
  • While it would seem that much positive is in store to grace those born in the year of the dog, there is also a chance falling under the influence of sensitivity. This can lead to periods of loneliness, especially if things are not going your way.
  • Sensitivity to injustice could also lead to rash actions. There is the potential for opposing those that are viewed wrong. Protesting and rioting are such means.


  • The kanji (Chinese character) used in the Chinese Zodiac calendar is “戌”. It’s pronunciation is “inu”, which is the same for dog in Japanese. However, the kanji used doesn’t stand for dog. The proper kanji would be “犬”.
  • The kanji “戌” instead originally meant to wither or decay. For a clearer image, think plants or grass that have not been watered.
  • This kanji’s ties to the dog is only due to the fact they both have the same pronounciation, which makes it easier to remember it when the image of a dog is used to represent it.
  • The dog sign is #11 in the Zodiac cycle. While the reason why this sign is placed as that number is based on old Chinese philosophy when it was created, in the old fable where 12 animals are chosen through a race⁵ , the dog finishes in 11th place. He is beaten by the rooster, but manages to cross the finish line before the pig (boar in Japan).
  • In Japan, some souces give extra emphasis to the dog sign representing friendship and loyalty. This is further supported with the imagery of a dog with a happy face, which is a good incentive to greet all with a friendly heart.
2 pics related to the true story of “Chūken Hachikō⁶”. Click on each of the pictures above for descriptions.
  • There is a famous true story in Japan that could easily be related to the personality of the dog sign called “Chūken Hachikō⁶”, or “The Faithful Dog called Hachikō”. Hachikō, or Hachi if we go by his original name⁷, lived with his owner in Tokyo. Hachi would accompany his owner to the train station in the morning to see his owner off to work, and return back later in the day to wait for his return. One day, in 1925 his owner passed away while at work. Unaware of this, Hachi returned to the station and waited…but did not see his owner. He continued to go to the station everyday waiting for his owner for several years, being fed and watched over by the townsfolks, most who were familiar with him from the start. In 1935 Hachi died from illness to his heart and injesting harmful items. Moved by his dedication and loyalty, locals had his body preserved (stuffed) and kept in a museum for awhile, before the remains were taken to be buried in the same gravesite with his former owner. A bronze statue can be seen before that same train station, made in Hachi’s honor in remembrance of his unwavering loyalty.


  • The traits of the dog sign is that of friendliness, honesty, dedication, and leadership. Being social and frequently communicating with others will ensure peace and happiness to all.
  • 2018 is a good chance for change in one’s lifestyle. This includes for those to starting new business ventures, enrolling in school, moving to a new place to live, and becoming more health conscious with a new diet or routine.
  • When doing business, honesty and fairness will go a long way. Dishonesty and bad business practices will be met with a huge backlash.
  • Family and friends will be held at high regard, which will help to keep relationships strong.
  • Being a protector of those vulnerable is also a trait for those of the dog sign.


In ending, 2018 should be a positive year promoting unity and a drive for happiness. As this year is the dog sign, we can be inspired to look forward, take care of those around you, and work hard to be successful in an unpretentious manner. The earth element should help solidify this. Wishing everyone good fortune this year, and hope we all can unify through good relations!

1) On the old calendar, this was originally the 9th month

2) According to N-E-W-S directions if you use a standard world map, the point is slightly veering downwards, sitting on the 300° mark.

3) 干支

4) Also pronounced as “bojutsu”.

5) The folklore of the 12 animals being chosen by the Jade Emperor was designed to help people remember the Zodiac, as well as give meaning behind animals being associated to each specific sign & traits.

6) 忠犬ハチ公

7) In the name Hachikō (ハチ公), kō (公) is an honorific suffix used for those of presigious ranks who have pssed away. Note that the origin of its use in this manner was not truly positive. On top of that, the reason behind using it in honor of an animal is also questionable.

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