List of Japanese Gestures

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Finger Names[edit]

  • Thumb - Parent finger (Oya-yubi 親指)
  • Index finger - People pointing finger (Hitosashi-yubi 人差し指)
  • Middle finger - Middle finger (Naka-yubi/Chuushi 中指)
  • Ring finger - Medicine finger, supposedly finger used to mix/apply medicine. Another theory is this is a reference to the medicine Buddha's bent fourth finger. (Kusurui-yubi 薬指)
  • Pinky finger - Little finger (Koyubi 小指)

Alternative names:

  • Middle finger - Tallest, tallest finger (Takataka-yubi 高高指)
  • Ring finger - Ring finger (Kanshi 環指)
  • Ring finger - Red applying finger, supposedly the finger used to apply lipstick (Benisashi-yubi 紅差し指)
  • Ring finger - The nameless finger (無名指)


When referring to themselves, Japanese point at their noses instead of their chests.

Beckoning to people[edit]

Done with the palm down and a waving motion. The maneki-neko statue represents this. Is rude when done to superiors, though.

Beckoning to dogs[edit]

Beckoning with the palm up is used to summon dogs. Thus, it is insulting to summon a person in this fashion.

Guts Pose[edit]

Used to symbolize victory, triumph.

Done by making a fist and then curling one's arm to show one's bicep.

Hitting the Palm of One's other Hand[edit]

Used to express revelation. Like a eureka moment.

Pinky Up[edit]

Used to represent a girlfriend/mistress

In Japanese culture, it's believed that lovers are connected by the red string of fate. Many anime openings show couples with red strings tying their pinkies together. Miyoko mentions this in Kamen Rider the First.

Rock Paper Scissors[edit]

Or Janken Pon as it's known in Japan.

Rock - Guu
Scissors - Choki
Paper - Paa

Thumbs Up[edit]

Used to show "it's alright" or "it's all good".

It's said this is the alternative version for the pinky. With the thumb representing One's boyfriend.

V Sign[edit]

Used to show cuteness in pictures

Usually used to indicate "Peace". Or 'V' for Victory.

Yes and No[edit]

Yes: When making a circle with one's arms above one's head.
No: Making an x in from of oneself with one's forearms.

This is simply a reference to Circle (まる) meaning "yes" in Japanese and X (ばつ) meaning "no" in Japanese. This is why most Japanese Playstation games use the Circle button as confirmation instead of X (some import games flip the X and Circle before releasing in other parts of the world.)

Related articles[edit]

List of Japanese Idioms

More Japanese[edit]

List of Japanese Words

Page of Japanese terms that appear in the shows

External Links[edit]