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Time in Japan: The 10- 12- and 60-cycles
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
If you have 九月乙巳朔 and the ninth month is a 30-day month, what will be the cyclic date of the first day of the 10th month? If it is a 29-day month, what will the cyclic date of the first day of the 10th month? What then is the (easy) relationship between the cyclic dates of the new moons and the length of the month?


Well, using 乙巳 as the first day of the 9th month the cyclic date of the new moon-first day of the 10th month (30 days) would be 乙亥 (2,12:12). The cyclic date of the new moon-first day of the 10th month (29 days) would be 甲戌 (1,11:11). So if the stem of the following month is the same as the stem of the previous month, you have a 30 day 大の月-otherwise, it's a 29 day 小の月.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsu wrote: So if the stem of the following month is the same as the stem of the previous month, you have a 30 day 大の月-otherwise, it's a 29 day 小の月.
Yes. In the words of the 1844 procedure it goes like this (punctuation added).
本月合朔干名與(and)次月合朔干名 同者本月大, 不同者本月小.

Finally, I will get to years, which of course is the main use of the 60-cycle in Japan.

As mentioned above, the 12-cycle was probably first used for years to indicated the position of Jupiter, but eventually came to be used with the 10-cycle for years. In a 168 BC tomb there is an annotation saying giving the first year of the reign of 秦始皇 (246 BC) as 52-60 (乙卯). Since then at least, the kanshi of years has been constant in East Asia.
In Japan, the cycle is known from a 5th cent. AD mirror in Wakayama Pref.

How do you get the western year from a cyclic one? Of course since it is a cycle you have to have some other information to identify the cycle. As the year 4AD was year 1 甲子, 甲子 years are all years X*60+4. So one way to do it is this, take a reasonable latest possible date and roughly subtract the cyclic year number from that. Find the previous year that is divisible by 60 and add 3 plus the cyclic year number. It is possible you have to adjust up or down one cycle.
As an example, take an account of the arrival of firearms in Japan. It dates it 癸卯("water-hare"), which is 40. The battle of Nagashino was 1575, so it was at least 40 years before that, so we need a cycle that starts before 1535. The previous number divisible by 60 is 1500, so 1500+3+40 is 1543. That is a reasonable date.

Q 15 Give the date of the following. The emperors can be found in http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Emperors
and the dates of other people mentioned can be found by searching in http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/.

A.甲子in the reign of Empress Suiko
B.庚申 in the reign of Kanmu
C.辛酉 in the reign of Jinmu

D.Early 15th century contract giving the year as つちのへ いぬ (pictured at the bottom of this post)

E. Letter from Sanada Nobuyuki to a vassal dated 辛丑.

People related to Nobunaga, including Ieyasu, do not seem to have used the cyclic year in their letters much.

The 12-cycle was also much used, especially in informal writing, though you have to know more about the person to date it. The standard Edo-period bureaucratic form seems to have been Nengo+nengo-year+12-cyclic year, which was of course unambiguous.

Q16 What were these years?
A.
letter from Sanada Masayuki dated 卯之三月十五日 wondering if there was any chance for a pardon.
B. A death recorded as 正徳二辰年 (on Taisho 4 stella pictured below)
C. Letter posted by Dash, to Sakamoto Ryoma from his father dated 丑ノ三月吉日 老父
修行中心得大意 Code of Conduct during Training”
右三ヶ条胸中ニ染め修行をつみ、目出度帰国専一に候

Q17 For this last you need something that will give you the cyclic day like
http://web.me.com/meyer.eva/www.yukikurete.de/nengo_calc.htm

A What was the complete date of a 古今伝授書 that apparently was trying to be as Chinese as possible dated 慶長甲辰季夏庚寅.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q 15 Give the date of the following. The emperors can be found in http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Emperors
and the dates of other people mentioned can be found by searching in http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/.

A.甲子in the reign of Empress Suiko
B.庚申 in the reign of Kanmu
C.辛酉 in the reign of Jinmu

D.Early 15th century contract giving the year as つちのへ いぬ (pictured at the bottom of this post)

E. Letter from Sanada Nobuyuki to a vassal dated 辛丑.



Just have time for this one this morning.

A-604
B-I don't see this year falling within his reign-closest I can get is 780 (reign began in 781, ended 806)
C-ouch-negative years-formula still works-could be 599 BC or 659 BC
D-1418
E-1601
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Q15 A,B,D, and E are correct.
C would have been right, except that there is no year 0. Try again.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Just FYI, I'm still trying to follow along--I just have been distracted of late. Lots of good stuff.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q15 A,B,D, and E are correct.
C would have been right, except that there is no year 0. Try again.


I had wondered about that. That would make it 600 BC or 660 BC.

I'll give the other ones a try tomorrow morning.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Bethetsu: there is no year 0.

I had wondered about that. That would make it 600 BC or 660 BC.
That is why they celebrated the 26-centennial of Jinmu (from 660 BC) in 1941, not 1940.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
Q16 What were these years?
A.
letter from Sanada Masayuki dated 卯之三月十五日 wondering if there was any chance for a pardon.
B. A death recorded as 正徳二辰年 (on Taisho 4 stella pictured below)
C. Letter posted by Dash, to Sakamoto Ryoma from his father dated 丑ノ三月吉日 老父
修行中心得大意 Code of Conduct during Training”
右三ヶ条胸中ニ染め修行をつみ、目出度帰国専一に候


A-Since a pardon indicates this would be after Sekigahara (I don't believe any of the Sanada needed a pardon before then, although I think Yukimura was a hostage at some point before that-but not under 'exile' or such), I'll go with 1603

B-Too bad this isn't Taisho 5, since It would be a nice clean 1916. Since it isn't, I'll go with 1904-perhaps this was a monument to soldiers killed in the Russo-Japanese war?

C-since it was sent by Ryoma's father, 1853 sounds good

Bethetsu wrote:
Q17 For this last you need something that will give you the cyclic day like
http://web.me.com/meyer.eva/www.yukikurete.de/nengo_calc.htm

A What was the complete date of a 古今伝授書 that apparently was trying to be as Chinese as possible dated 慶長甲辰季夏庚寅.


It's Keicho so the year is 1604. It's summer (which starts in Japan May 5th by the Western calender)-and one (7, 3: 27) day that fits is 4.10, so I'll go with 1604.4.10. I'm pretty sure there's something here I'm missing, though-probably to do with the season. Is there a way to actually figure out the month here? It can't be the '27th day of summer, at least if May 5th is used as the start.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
As an example, take an account of the arrival of firearms in Japan. It dates it 癸卯("water-hare"), which is 40. The battle of Nagashino was 1575, so it was at least 40 years before that, so we need a cycle that starts before 1535. The previous number divisible by 60 is 1500, so 1500+3+40 is 1543. That is a reasonable date.


I think I let myself get too hung up on this part, when trying to think through this, before, because I don't see what the 40 of the Water-hare date has to do with being at least 40 years before Nagashino. Rather, it would seem that it was *a 40* or *a water-hare* year before Nagashino, correct?

To flow out my own logic, so that I can try to understand what is going on, if I had no further information, I would take 1575 and find the date before that which is divisble by 60, which is 1560, then add 4, so 1564 is the first day of a new cycle. Since 1575 is less than 40 years after that... okay, I see what you are doing.

So, assuming 1575 was both the first introduction and the first use (since we have, at this point, only the date and one historical data point), we are assuming that the *start of the cycle* must be at least 40 years earlier. Thus, 1535 is the first date that could possibly be our (1, 1-1) for the cycle which *water-hare* refers to as the introduction of firearms (not the first date that could possibly be the introduction of firearms themselves).

Dividing 1535 by 60, we get 25.58333..., so we take 60*25 to get the first western date prior to that divisible by 60 (1500), to which we add 3--this actually gets us the last year of the previous cycle (1503). Thus, our western date is 1543 (*possibly 1544*) because 1503 + 40.

Okay, now that I've worked it out it makes sense, but the indefinite *it* of your third sentence was confusing me (not that I don't do the same thing, quite often).

-Josh

PS: The 1543-1544 is just the fudge factor I've seen when it isn't quite clear when something happened (e.g. an event in the 11th month); since the calendars are not lined up exactly. Speaking of which, are we solving for Julian or Gregorian dates, when we start to get into actual days? I've always favored just leaving it in the X day of Y month, unless you need to correlate with a European account.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thank you Tatsunoshi and Josh.
For Q16, A and C are correct.
Tatsunoshi wrote:

B-Too bad this isn't Taisho 5, since It would be a nice clean 1916. Since it isn't, I'll go with 1904-perhaps this was a monument to soldiers killed in the Russo-Japanese war?
B. The year you are supposed to be looking for is 正徳…辰年, not 大正 辰年.
This was on a grave stella 墓誌. As I am sure you know, now in Japan it is normal for the members of a family to be interred in a single plot, which is passed down in the family, usually to the oldest son. There is a large stone with the family name written on it, and the names of the individuals interred, with their death date and often their posthumous name, are engraved as they are interred on the back of the stone or on a separate stella. This custom apparently began in late Meiji--in any case, my example of the stella erected in Taisho 4 (no cyclic year mentioned) is the oldest (and by far the largest- about 2m high) that I have seen. When they started this custom people with family grave plots had the names of the people already there also engraved on the stella, often using temple records, as in my example. It is just one of the death dates on the stella. It is the only stella I have seen that uses the 12-cycle, probably because it is the oldest stella. Other stella I have seen use only nengo, even if the dates are old.

Quote:
Q17 A What was the complete date of a 古今伝授書 that apparently was trying to be as Chinese as possible dated 慶長甲辰季夏庚寅?

It's Keicho so the year is 1604. It's summer (which starts in Japan May 5th by the Western calender)-and one (7, 3: 27) day that fits is 4.10, so I'll go with 1604.4.10. I'm pretty sure there's something here I'm missing, though-probably to do with the season. Is there a way to actually figure out the month here? It can't be the '27th day of summer, at least if May 5th is used as the start.
1604 is correct.
The start of spring, the solar term 節季 立夏 is now May 5-6, but that has only been since 1844. Therefore for earlier periods most of the charts you see of the 24 sekki are useful only for giving a general date, but not an exact one. We will discuss this more when we talk about the Chinese solar calendar, but In 1604 立夏 was May 8 Gregorian.
However, in this case, try looking up 季夏 in a good dictionary like the Kojien.

JLBadgley wrote:
Okay, now that I've worked it out it makes sense, but the indefinite *it* of your third sentence was confusing me (not that I don't do the same thing, quite often).
Sorry about it.
Quote:
PS: The 1543-1544 is just the fudge factor I've seen when it isn't quite clear when something happened (e.g. an event in the 11th month); since the calendars are not lined up exactly. Speaking of which, are we solving for Julian or Gregorian dates, when we start to get into actual days? I've always favored just leaving it in the X day of Y month, unless you need to correlate with a European account.
You should assume Japanese years and dates, as in Tatunoshi's replies above, unless otherwise stated. So far we have used just Japanese dates. When discussing the Chinese solar calendar, Gregorian is better than Julian, but there might be circumstances the Julian is better. I fully agree however that leaving the Japanese date is best unless there is a reason not to.

Q 18 The following are dates on entries for 784 in the Continued Nihongi 続日本紀. They give only cyclic days, no days of the month.
Do you have any comment?

First month:三年春正月己卯(16-60)
○辛巳(18-60)
○戊子(25-60)
2nd month○二月辛巳(18-60)
○己丑(26-60)
3rd month○三月甲戌(11-60)
○乙亥(12-60)
4th month夏四月壬寅(39-60)

By the way, if you check the day of the last entry with Nengo-calc, you find that it starts before the first day of summer立夏. All of months 4-6 were considered summer for dates, likewise for the other seasons. New Years Day occurred before risshun立春 just over half of the time, and likewise for the other seasons.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
OK, for 16B it would be 1712 (second year of Shotoku, matches with the 12-cycle year). Knowing the background of the marker and that 正徳二 is an era year and not a proper name (even something not likely as in 'Tadashii Tokuni') makes all the difference-I was making things much harder than they needed to be.

I'll have to pass on the rest of 17 since I don't have a copy of the Kojien-just the Super Daijirin and Kanjigen (yeah, yeah, I know, I know). I'll take a look at 18 in the morning if no one else gets to it first.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
So, as I see it, there had to have been an extra month between the 1st and 2nd. The first month could not have ended any later than (44-60) and the next month (which I assume was the intercalary month, since there is no indicator on the 2nd month) could not have started earlier than (40-60). The dates (45-60) to (10-60) would have been part of the intercalary month, which would go to no later than (15-60)

The second month could have started no earlier than (11-60), would have included (16-60) to (41-60), and may have gone to as late as (48-60).

The third month, by extension, could have started no earlier than (42-60), would have included (49-60) to (12-60), and could have ended no later than (18-60).

The fourth month then could start as soon as (13-60), would include the dates (19-60) to (42-60), ending no later than (49-60).

Anywhere close to what you are looking for?

-Josh
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hello! I am afraid I have not done anything on this thread for a long time, but as today, Feb. 3, is New Years Day for the old calendar (旧暦), I thought it would be a good occasion to get back to the calendar class. Today is also the Chinese New Year. Unlike China, though, the old New Years Day is virtually ignored in Japan. (With the modern lunar calendars, Japan will be a day later than China on a long-term average of about once in 24 years. In theory, very occasionally it will be one month later.)

I would like to thank Tatsunoshi and Josh for actively participating in this thread. I hope you will continue to participate in the time study, and also hope some others will join in.

For the answer to the last question, Josh, that is very good thinking. That is how people try to reconstruct some calendars like those of the Spring and Fall Annals, where the day of the month is not given. However, in this case you were thinking even more than me! Actually, the date in the 続日本紀 is apparently a mistake, as we know the calendar procedure of the time.

I have one last question. What is the stem and branch for this year (2011), both the kanji and the pronunciation? In Japan almost everyone knows what the branch is, at least at the beginning of the year, but few know the stem.

I plan to start a new thread on the next topic in a few days, but if anyone wants to discuss the cycle more on this thread, please feel free to do so.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm glad to see this thread return! I believe I will be exposing myself as rusty, though...


Would 2011 be an 8,4:28 辛卯 (kanoto u-'metal hare' with kanoto being the stem and u the branch) year?

Now, in China is January still considered what it would have been 'the year before' in Japan (like 1/2011 would still be tora/tiger in China but hare in Japan)? Your comment about "In Japan almost everyone knows what the branch is, at least at the beginning of the year..." makes me wonder.

By the way, I noticed the sexegenary chart on the Wiki has the 10 branches labeled as the 10 stems-just fixed it.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
I'm glad to see this thread return! I believe I will be exposing myself as rusty, though...
.
And maybe a little "crusty"? Chuckles

I am also glad to see this thread return, but like "time", it flies---literally over my head in regards to some of the topics. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
And maybe a little "crusty"? Chuckles


Guilty as charged, at least on Wednesday morning Laughing .
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
I'm glad to see this thread return! I believe I will be exposing myself as rusty, though...

Would 2011 be an 8,4:28 辛卯 (kanoto u-'metal hare' with kanoto being the stem and u the branch) year?
Yes, that is it.
Quote:
Your comment about "In Japan almost everyone knows what the branch is, at least at the beginning of the year..." makes me wonder.
Maybe in July I had better try asking around if people still know what the branch is.

Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
I am also glad to see this thread return, but like "time", it flies---literally over my head in regards to some of the topics. Very Happy
Since Tatsu and Josh were about the only ones posting, I got carried up and away.Very Happy Maybe you should have asked to have some things explained clearly, but you can still post or pm a question. However before I start the next thread perhaps I should write a summary of this topic.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
SUMMARY (but this does not mean no more posts!)

This summary should be read with reference to:
http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Sexegenary_cycle

It appears that from very early times China had a "week" of ten days that were represented by the (ancestors of) the following characters, now usually known as the "10 branches." 甲・乙・丙・丁・戊・己・庚・辛・壬・癸
By the time of the earliest writings that we have, the Shang "oracle bones" of the late 2nd millennium BC, these were supplemented by a set of twelve ”stems"子・丑・寅・卯・辰・巳・午・未・申・酉・戌・亥, later called by animal names, to create a cycle of 60-days. You can see the relationship between the 10-cycle and the 12-cycle in the table at the bottom of the SA-wiki page. This cycle of 60 days has continued unbroken since at least the 8th century BC, and there is no reason to think it has been broken since Shang times. (See Adam Smith,“The Chinese sexagenary cycle and the ritual origins of the calendar,” in: John M. Steele (ed.) Calendars and years II: astronomy and time in the ancient and medieval world, Oxford: Oxbow Books (2010). (Also www.cangjie.info/public/papers/smith_2010_sexagenary.pdf

During the Han period towards the end of the 1st millennium, the cycles were used in the systemization of Han philosophy. Eventually the 12-cycle was used to indicate direction and time and sometimes months. The 60-cycle was used especially to indicate years . The cycles were a fundamental part of calendar divination also.

The cycles entered Japan with Chinese culture.

Probably you will come across the cycle most often to represent years or the time of day. The exact times indicated by the 12-cycle changed with the season, but you can get a general idea from the table of the branches on the SA-Wiki page. The most important use for historians is its use to indicate years. (By the way, cyclic years and days are the same all over east and south-east Asia.)

If we have a cyclic year indicated on a document, how can we know what western year a cyclic year represents? I am afraid my discussion earlier in the thread was almost incomprehensible, so I will discuss a much more direct method.

As you can see by the table, 1504 AD was a 甲子 (no 1) year, but as the cycle repeats every 60 years, 1444, 1144, 384, etc are also 甲子 years. Likewise, 辛卯 (no. 28) can be among other things 1531, 1831, 1891, 2011, etc.
So to find the year a cyclic year represents, first you have to know a range of possible years for your document. Then you find the characters on the table and get one year (15__) it can represent. Then you add or subtract by 60's or 300's until you get a year that is possible.

For example, say you have a document issued by Emperor Tenji (626~671)dated the year 戊辰. First find 戊辰 in the table. It is no.5, and has the year 1508. Now, subtract by 300's till you get close. 1208, 908. 608. That is too early, so add 60, and you get 668, which is possible.
If only the branch of the year is given, as 辰, you will have to add or subtract 12 towards the end. Take the date on a grave stella (pictured below) 正徳二辰年. Shôtoku 正徳 era was 1711-1716. 辰 can be among others 1508, so go 1508, 1808. That is too big, so go down by 60 to 1748, then by 12-- 1724, 1712. That fits, (and is confirmed by the nengô year, Shôtoku 2). By the way, 正徳二辰年 was the standard bureaucratic form in the Edo period, and I have often seen it on graves in the middle of Musashi. However, if only the 12-cycle year is given, it may be hard to decide on the year without more information.

The next are a few actual examples which were discussed above. Try dating them. The answers are after the picture.

1) 慶長甲辰 (Keichô 慶長 period was 1596-1615)

2) A letter dated 丑ノ三月 (third month of the year of the ox) to Sakamoto Ryôma(1835~1867)from his father as he sets out into the world, "A Code of Conduct during Training.”


3) letter from Sanada Masayuki dated 卯之三月十五日 (15th day of the 3rd month of the year of the rabbit) wondering if there was any chance for a pardon. (See the SA-wiki biography for Sanada Masayuki)

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1) 慶長甲辰 (Keichô 慶長 period was 1596-1615)
甲辰 is 41, so 1544, 1604.


2) A letter dated 丑ノ三月 (third month of the year of the ox) to Sakamoto Ryôma(1835~1867)from his father as he sets out into the world, "A Code of Conduct during Training.”
丑 is 1505, so 1805, 1817, 1829, 1841, 1853. 1865. He is more likely to have set out into the world when he was 18 than 6 or 30, so probably 1853.


3) letter from Sanada Masayuki dated 卯之三月十五日 (15th day of the 3rd month of the year of the rabbit) wondering if there was any chance for a pardon. (See the SA-wiki biography for Sanada Masayuki)

Masayuki was exiled in 1600 and died in 1608, so it was probably in that period.
卯 is 1507, so 1567, 1579, 1591, 1603.
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