Artist Shohei Takasaki Reflects on Junishi For Concourse D Mural

The PDX Rotating Art Program is honored to present a lively large-scale mural located post-security within Concourse D to ring in the New Year. Living and working in Tokyo, Japan, artist Shohei Takasaki has energetically depicted twelve symbolic animals within his mural titled Reflection for Junishi or Juunishi—the Japanese zodiac.

Takasaki’s radiant and playful combination of the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar for the Junishi mural is a playful representation of humankind, individual traits, and our unique personalities.

The Chinese zodiac calendar was introduced in Japan around the fourth century. It was mainly employed as a way of indicating the day, month, year, time of the day, orientation in space, as well as the order in a sequence of events in a symbolical form.

As there are twelve animals in the zodiac, it is referred to as juni-shi (“the twelve branches”, with juni meaning “twelve” in Japanese), as the cycle rotates every twelve years. Historically, Japan celebrated the New Year according to the traditional lunar calendar, just like China. However, during the Meiji Era, the Japanese government moved towards Westernization and adopted the Gregorian calendar with the New Year beginning on January 1.

Look and see yourself, see the person next to you, your friend, your mother, your child. This painting shows how closely entwined animals and mankind are. Our traits are reflected in them, and theirs in us.

Shohei Takasaki, 2020

Individuals born during a particular year were said to inherit some of the personalities of that year’s animal. In case you are wondering, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger!

What year and animal are you?

Rat (nezumi)

Born 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912. People born in the year of the Rat are charming, honest, ambitious, and have a tremendous capacity for pursuing a course to its end. They will work hard for their goals. They are easily angered but maintain an outward show of control.

Ox (ushi)

Born 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925, 1913. People born in the year of the Ox are patient, mentally alert and when required to speak are skillful. They have a gift for inspiring confidence in others. This allows them to achieve a great deal of success.

Tiger (tora)

Born 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, 1914. 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.

Rabbit (usagi)

Born 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, 1915. People born in the year of the Rabbit are the most fortunate. They are smooth talkers, talented, ambitious, virtuous, and reserved. They have exceedingly fine taste and are regarded with admiration and trust.

Dragon (tatsu)

Born 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928, 1916. People born in the year of the Dragon are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered, and stubborn. However, they are honest, sensitive, brave, and can inspire trust in most anyone. They are the most peculiar of the 12 signs of the Zodiac cycle.

Born 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929, 1917. People born in the year of the Snake are deep thinkers, speak very little, and possess tremendous wisdom. They are fortunate in money matters and will always be able to obtain it. They are determined in what they do and hate to fail.

Horse (uma)

Born 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906. People born in the year of the Horse are skillful in paying compliments and talk too much. They are skillful with money and handle finances well. They are quick thinkers, wise and talented. Horse people anger easily and are very impatient.

Sheep (hitsuji)

Born 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907. People born in the year of the Sheep are elegant, highly accomplished in the arts, passionate about nature. At first glance, they seem to be better off than the people born in other years. They are deeply religious and passionate about whatever they do and believe in.

Monkey (saru)

Born 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920, 1908. People born in the year of the Monkey are the erratic geniuses of the Zodiac cycle. They are clever and skillful in grand-scale operations and are smart when making financial deals. They are inventive, original, and are able to solve the most difficult problems with ease.

Rooster (tori)

Born 2005, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921, 1909. People born in the year of the Rooster are deep thinkers and are always busy and devoted to their work. They always want to do more than they are able, and if they undertake a task beyond their abilities, they are disappointed. Rooster people have a habit of speaking out directly whenever they have something on their minds.

Dog (inu)

Born 2006, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922, 1910. People born in the year of the Dog have all the fine qualities of human nature. They have a sense of duty and loyalty, they are extremely honest and always do their best in their relationship with other people. Dog people inspire confidence in others and know how to keep secrets.

Boar (inoshishi)

Born 2007, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923, 1911. People born in the year of the Boar are brave. They have tremendous inner strength which no one can overcome. They display great honesty. They are short-tempered, yet hate to quarrel or have arguments. They are affectionate and kind to their loved ones.

Shohei Takasaki (b. 1979, Saitama, Japan) Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. Creating works that display his powerful and freestyle approach to painting, Takasaki is fascinated by notions of desire and the physicality of human bodies, bringing his imagery alive on 2-D surfaces, pulsing and undulating in rich colors and dynamic lines. Unafraid to walk the tightrope between abstraction and figuration, Takasaki distills his perception of the outside world and its inner individual passions, including his own, with neo-expressionist flair. Solo Exhibition at OIL by Bijutsutecho, Tokyo, Japan, NATIONALE, Portland, USA, Gallery COMMON, Tokyo, Japan, Upfor Gallery, Portland, USA Dar Al Funoon Gallery, Kuwait City, Kuwait, BACKWOODS Gallery, Melbourne, Australia, CALM & PUNK Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, Space Edge Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, and PLSMIS, Tokyo, Japan. Collections at The Hoxton Hotel, Portland, OR, and STARBUCKS headquarters, Seattle, WA.

For information about Shohei Takasaki’s upcoming shows and events, please visit:

Instagram: @shoheitakasaki

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