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What does this hand sign mean?


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CheshireWolf



Joined: 07 Aug 2004
Posts: 11
Location: Waukegan

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 2:26 pm Reply with quote
I can't really point out a certain manga or anime of some sort to show you want I mean but- my friend and I have been talking about anime and manga in general. Both of us don't know what it means when a character shows you his/her pinky, with the back of the hand facing the other person.

It might means something bad (like the middle finger) girls find it offensive.

I'm just courious if anyone here knows what it means.

Thanks.


(P.S. I didn't really know where to post this so if it's in the wrong place I'm sorry.)
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Godaistudios



Joined: 12 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 3:10 pm Reply with quote
It's basically a symbol for having sex with a woman... for the most part.
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abunai
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 6:32 pm Reply with quote
Godaistudios wrote:
It's basically a symbol for having sex with a woman... for the most part.

Well, yes, but not quite.

It's a euphemistic gesture, yes, and it can be used to indicate sex with a woman, yes - but there's more to it than that.

The pinky-finger gesture means kanojo - "she" or "girlfriend". It's used when one wants to indicate romantic (though not necessarily sexual) relations with a member of the female sex. The corresponding gesture for males (kareshi - "he" or "boyfriend") is similar to a Western "thumbs-up" sign.

The Japanese place great importance on body language, and will often accompany a spoken phrase with a set gesture. In this case, when talking of one's boyfriend/girlfriend, the aforementioned gestures will often be used. It can mean sex, but doesn't have to.

An example, from the anime Koi Kaze (in one of the episode epilogue sequences): The father of the protagonist speaks obliquely of the reason he and his ex-wife divorced. He implies that she wasn't providing for his (sexual) needs, and he was forced to resort to are ("that", with the accompanying pinky-gesture meaning kanojo). In other words, he's admitting to extramarital sex.

The kareshi gesture isn't used as often - girls may use it when asking another girl if a particular boy is her boyfriend, but just as often, they'll judge it too vulgar and just ask "Is he your...?" and leave it dangling. The Japanese are masters of the incomplete sentence with an implied noun or verb.

- abunai
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xuebaochai



Joined: 22 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 6:52 pm Reply with quote
What about adding the "pinky finger" to the lexicon? It's fairly widely used and it can be quite the "hm?" for the uninitiated. And I wonder, does that gesture have a set name, like akanbe or aseji? Anime catgrin + sweatdrop
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abunai
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 7:19 pm Reply with quote
Hmm, not a bad suggestion. I've been doing some work on the Lexicon, on and off, recently. I think we could do with a section on "Japanese body language" or "Japanese gestures".

Right now, though, I'm putting the final touches on a major rewrite and expansion of the section on honorifics, so that takes priority.

- abunai
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.Sy



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 7:32 pm Reply with quote
abunai wrote:
The corresponding gesture for males (kareshi - "he" or "boyfriend") is similar to a Western "thumbs-up" sign.
Whoa I didn't know that. I've also seen manga characters sticking up their middle fingers. Doesn it mean the same thing as in English?
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Dranxis



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 8:11 pm Reply with quote
I've seen these gestures used in some manga series. I believe Yusuke from Yuyu Hakusho used the kareshi sign in one of the earlier volumes when addressing a lovesick ghost girl about her boyfriend. And in one volume of Rurouni Kenshin, either Kaoru or Sanosuke used kanojo when they were talking about the possibility that Yahiko might have a crush on that one innkeeper maid. Can't think of any other examples, though...
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abunai
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 8:12 pm Reply with quote
.Sy wrote:
abunai wrote:
The corresponding gesture for males (kareshi - "he" or "boyfriend") is similar to a Western "thumbs-up" sign.
Whoa I didn't know that. I've also seen manga characters sticking up their middle fingers. Doesn it mean the same thing as in English?

Actually, no. There seems to be a worldwide (and completely mistaken) belief that, while spoken language may be different, body language is universal. The Japanese, in particular, seem to believe this - but you can find the same misconception everywhere.

The fact is, body language varies greatly, even between closely-related cultures. For instance, a German friend of mine got into trouble using the childish "beep-I've-got-your-nose" gesture (making a fist, sticking the thumb between index and middle finger) in Greece some years ago. In Mediterranean countries, this gesture ("the fig") can be considered a rude, almost obscene, gesture.

If you visit Thailand, be careful how you sit when you cross your legs while seated - pointing the sole of your foot at someone is an insult. Incidentally, the same gesture was, in mediaeval Europe, a sign of dominance - you often see kings in old illuminations portrayed with crossed legs, displaying the soles of their feet to their subjects.

The Japanese have a number of gestures that are unique to their culture. The Japanese gesture that means "come here" (making a gathering motion with the hand) looks to a Westerner like waving goodbye.

The Japanese gestures for "good" (maru = "circle", made by holding up the hands or arms in a circle shape) and "bad/no good" (batsu = "penalty", made by holding up the arms in an X) are related to the system of marking school grades pass-or-fail. You'll often see them used in sports situations, but they may also occur in social situations, when someone makes a mistake.

If you want to claim something, you might "call dibs" on it. A Japanese would demonstratively lick his index finger, then touch the object, saying Tsuba tsuketa! = "I put saliva on it!" I understand this originated as a way of claiming a particular piece of food in a communal dining situation (common in old Japan, less common these days). Sometimes, the verbal expression may substitute for the actual gesture.

Oh, and one gesture to be especially careful with: in Western cultures, there's a gesture that implies talking secretively - putting the back of one's hand to the opposing cheek, thus symbolically hiding the mouth. It means almost the same in Japan, if you talk while doing it - then, it means "talking about someone behind their back". However, the same gesture while remaining silent means okama = "gay male" or "transvestite male".

One last addendum to the kareshi gesture mentioned earlier ("thumbs-up"): this can also be used to indicate a dominant male of some sort (your own father, someone else's father, the boss, etc.).

- abunai
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Godaistudios



Joined: 12 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 10:34 pm Reply with quote
abunai wrote:
Godaistudios wrote:
It's basically a symbol for having sex with a woman... for the most part.

Well, yes, but not quite.

It's a euphemistic gesture, yes, and it can be used to indicate sex with a woman, yes - but there's more to it than that.
- abunai


Cut the rest for simplicity's sake. Smile

While I was aware of the rest of that, I unfortunately lacked the time to expand on that answer - which can be blamed on the irregularity of the calls I get while at work. Still, while I was able to provide the more common answer, and address his concerns as to why women could be offended by it, I doubt I could have given it quite so eloquently as you did. Smile
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mrgazpacho



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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 7:19 am Reply with quote
abunai wrote:
.Sy wrote:

Whoa I didn't know that. I've also seen manga characters sticking up their middle fingers. Doesn it mean the same thing as in English?

Actually, no.


I've seen it used in the OL Shinkaron manga to mean something very close, though. Not a direct insult, but more of an expression of general (and strong) annoyance at the target.

(One specific example: a guy approached a girl at the office party. She thought "Cool, he likes me" - then he asked her about her friend. The "bird" popped up in a thought bubble Very Happy )
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abunai
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 8:03 am Reply with quote
mrgazpacho wrote:
abunai wrote:
.Sy wrote:

Whoa I didn't know that. I've also seen manga characters sticking up their middle fingers. Doesn it mean the same thing as in English?

Actually, no.


I've seen it used in the OL Shinkaron manga to mean something very close, though. Not a direct insult, but more of an expression of general (and strong) annoyance at the target.

(One specific example: a guy approached a girl at the office party. She thought "Cool, he likes me" - then he asked her about her friend. The "bird" popped up in a thought bubble Very Happy )

Well, let's just differentiate between native and imported body language. In Japan, a number of imported (Western) gestures are in use - among them using the "thumbs-up" to carry the Western meaning of "good/OK/approved/good luck" instead of the Japanese kareshi; the use of the "V-for-victory" sign; and the gesture of "flipping the bird". The latter gesture, in native Japanese body language, would be a "counting things" gesture.

So it's an import. Same as when Misuzu in Air does this:



or Kano (and Potato) do this:



- abunai
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CheshireWolf



Joined: 07 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 2:15 pm Reply with quote
Wow. Thanks a lot for the useful info. I'll be sure to tell this to my firend the next time I see him.
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abunai
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 3:02 pm Reply with quote
Godaistudios wrote:
While I was aware of the rest of that, I unfortunately lacked the time to expand on that answer - which can be blamed on the irregularity of the calls I get while at work. Still, while I was able to provide the more common answer, and address his concerns as to why women could be offended by it, I doubt I could have given it quite so eloquently as you did. Smile

Thanks. I had already gathered that you must have been pressed for time when making your earlier answer - the "Reader's Digest" version, so to speak. You're not usually so brief in your answers, and I know enough about you to know that you do know all of this.

- abunai
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mrgazpacho



Joined: 14 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 7:11 am Reply with quote
abunai wrote:

the gesture of "flipping the bird". The latter gesture, in native Japanese body language, would be a "counting things" gesture.


What is the native finger order when counting in Japanese? I've seen it done starting from the pinky working back to the thumb, but not starting with the middle finger.
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abunai
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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 8:49 am Reply with quote
BTW, I was reading Mahoraba and came across a fine example of the kareshi (thumbs-up = "boyfriend") gesture. Look at this:



Here, the shopkeeper asks Kozue-chan whether Shiratori is her boyfriend, using the phrase kare ("him") and the gesture, and innocent (and embarassingly literal-minded) Kozue-chan fails to understand it:

Shopkeeper: 誰だいその兄ちゃんは?もしかして梢ちゃんのカレかい?("Who's this fella? Maybe he's your guy?")

Kozue-chan: なんですかそれ? ("What do you mean?")

The confusion continues in the following panels, where he tries to explain that a kare is an ii hito ("good person" = "significant other"). Kozue-chan fails to understand the point of the phrase, and cheerfully agrees that Shiratori is an ii hito - and everybody misunderstands her. Hilarity ensues.

- abunai
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