Year of the...Hedgehog?!

It’s that time of year again! As 2019, the Year of the Boar, comes to a close, shops are getting ready for the impending Year of the Rat/Mouse. The word 鼠 (sometimes written 子)「ねずみ」means ‘rat’ or ‘mouse’; there’s no distinction in Japanese. So why am I seeing hedgehogs everywhere? Because ‘hedgehog’ in Japanese is 針鼠 「はりねずみ」which literally means “needle-mouse”. So it appears, for zodiac purposes, the hedgehog is a mouse.



Aside from Sonic, exactly where are you seeing hedgehogs?

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I live in Japan, so they’re a common motif anywhere New Year’s Stuff is being sold. They’re on stamps, post cards, decor…all over the place!

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I haven’t seen any hedgehogs. I’ve seen cards and decorations with regular mice on them, though.

EDIT: To be fair, I see way more Christmas stuff at the moment


Google is showing mice.


I don’t doubt that some designs might have hedgehogs. Maybe there will be a variety of rodent-like animals.

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Yuki Sohma - Rat of the Zodiac


One of my favorite manga and anime…Fruits Basket

It’s a play on the fact that in the East Asian sexagenary cycle, next year is going to be the “metal rat” or “metal mouse” year. Since hedgehogs in Japanese are “needle mice”, and needles are made of metal, it becomes the year of the hedgehog. Not officially, just some people having fun with words.


I have seen this on Twitter a few times of late. It’s pretty special.


who is showing this off on twitter? I gotta say its pretty cute

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OMG that is so cute!

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