Goat mail

Noticed in this month's Mina: the picture for Capricorn on the horoscope page:

The illustrator here is IWASAKI Ayumi 岩崎あゆみ, and as you can see from her gallery (direct link) the rest are pretty obvious: Taurus has a cow-print hat, Aquarius has a glass of water, etc. So why does Capricorn have a letter?

Answer: It's a reference to a Japanese kid's song called "Goat mail" (Yagi-san yūbin) with lyrics by MADO Michio:



A letter arrived from White Goat
Black Goat gobbled it up unread
Nothing for it but to write a letter right back:
"I'm sorry, what was it that your letter said?"

A letter came from Black Goat
White Goat gobbled it up unread
Nothing for it but to write a letter right back:
"I'm sorry, what was it that your letter said?"

(Repeat forever.)

(Alternate translation by Aesun KIM here.)

Everyone knows this song; it even pops up as a Who moved my cheese?-style metaphor in self-improvement books (e.g. Why couldn't Black Goat read White Goat's letter?). I'm not even sure if appropriating it to symbolize Capricorn originates with Iwasaki, although her gallery reveals that she's been using the gag for at least a couple of years.

Popularity factor: 9


I've probably heard that song dozens of times from the kid's CD's that my wife plays for our kids, but even so I never would have picked up on that reference just by seeing the picture.

Of course, I don't know most of the zodiac symbols off the top of my head anyway, so I can only get the references on about half the pictures.


Yeah, at first I thought she was just being a pensive, conservative Capricorn sort, musing over her old-fashioned letter, too. But when I realized that the other pictures all had some sort of symbolism involved I thought about it some more and figured it out. (This song also came up in a book I was reading not long ago, which probably helped.)

Tim May:

Of course, now that you've explained it, it's hard not to see her as raising the letter to her mouth in order to devour it.



I have to admit, I don't get Pisces. (Is it a hair thing, like Leo?)



You brought this upon me.


Pisces is a bit of a mystery to me too, but I think that her collar is meant to look like a fin.

Claytonian: I regret nothing.


Not really related, but is she implying that all Tauruses should kill themselves in this picture? Because that is what I am reading into it.



Must not have been their lucky month.


Must not have been their lucky month.

Comment season is closed.