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  • Chinese/Japanese: 魁星 (kuíxīng / kaisei) or 奎星 (kuíxīng / keisei)

Kuíxīng is the traditional Chinese term for the four stars which make up the "bowl" portion of what we in the West call the Big Dipper.

Originally seen as presiding over culture, and named 奎星, these four stars later came to be known as 魁星 (same pronunciation in Chinese, different characters), and came to be worshipped as a god or spirit of good fortune, specifically for success on the civil service examinations. As the character 魁 (kuí) is also that in the name of Zhong Kui (J: Shôki), a demon who guards against evil spirits, there came to be an association, and the four-star constellation came to be seen as a demon kicking over a square measuring cup.

Kuíxīng is described in, among other places, Zhu Xi's commentary on the Four Books of the Chinese classics, his Sishu jizhu.


  • Takatsu Takashi, “Ming Jianyang Prints and the Spread of the Teachings of Zhu Xi to Japan and the Ryukyu Kingdom in the Seventeenth Century,” in Angela Schottenhammer (ed.), The East Asian Mediterranean: Maritime Crossroads of Culture, Harrassowitz Verlag (2008), 262.
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