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The Year of the Tiger - Toradoshi

Japanese Zodiac


Like the astrological zodiac there are all sorts of things which influence individual people. The Japanese believe that people who are born in the same animal year share similar personality and character. People born in the year of the tiger are sensitive, stubborn, short-tempered, courageous, selfish and slightly mean ... yet they are deep thinkers and are capable of great sympathy for those they are close to and love. Click here to check what year you were born in and what kind of personality your animal sign has.

The Japanese word for a tiger is "tora". It is usually written as 虎 in kanji, but 寅 is used when expressing the tiger in the zodiac.

Like the other zodiac animals such as the snake (hebi), horse (uma), rooster (tori) dog (inu), rat (nezumi) or ox (ushi), there are many expressions including the word tiger.

張り子の虎 (Hariko no tora) a paper tiger, a blustering coward
虎穴に入らずんば虎児を得ず (Koketsu ni hairazunba koji o ezu) nothing ventured, nothing gained.
虎視眈々 (Koshi-tantan) to watch for an opportunity, to prey upon one's opponent
虎になる (Tora ni naru) get beastly drunk
虎に翼 (Tora ni tsubasa) a strong man with other power(s)
虎の子 (Tora no ko) one's treasure, one's saving
虎の尾を踏む (Tora no o o fumu) a very dangerous act
虎の威を借る狐 (Tora no i o karu kitsune) a small man acting arrogantly through borrowed authority
虎を野に放つ (Tora o no ni hanatsu) to free a dangerous person
前門の虎項後門の狼 (Zenmon no tora, koumon no ookami) to find oneself between the devil and the deep blue sea

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