Japan has its own variety of hand gestures. In today’s episode, we go over some of the common ones and help show you the difference between Japanese and Western gestures. Get ready for some hand waving fun!
Happy Hour Japan hand gestures, Happy Hour Japan, japanese
Would the gestures be understood in a more formal setting. Are they universal or Tokyo shorthand?
All of the gestures introduced in this video would be understood by nearly everyone in Japan. But, you probably wouldn’t want to use *all* of them in formal situations.
The “kekkou desu” and “come here” gestures are pretty safe, so those can definitely be used in more formal situations (If you want to be extra polite, I would recommend accompanying these gestures with a small, simultaneous bow). The others should probably be saved for more casual conversations.
i knew the girlfriend and boyfriend gestures. It was good to learn some more.
I completed the mini course and I found it useful. I think you convey the uses of a phrase better than any other course I’ve looked at. Also, I think it is good that you are finding your way a bit too. Much more engaging to a student than a professional presenter.
Thanks for the great feedback, Peter! I’m glad you liked the mini course and our approach to teaching Japanese conversation.
Some more gestures I find handy:
- when you cross index fingers in Japan it means you’re after an argument or a quarrel with someone (the “kenka shita” / “kenka chuu” gesture)
- and the funniest - kuru-kuru-paa gesture (you make a swirling movement of your left fist on the side of your head, and the open your fist suddenly) meaning that someone must be out of their mind.
And that was very useful, thank you, I’ll definitely show this to my students!
I tend to see alot of these gestures in videos and when we go out to bars and clubs. It’s great to understand more about them. I also checked out the mini course to see if there was anything new I could learn. I realy like the way you guys break things down better and relate them to every day life. When I watch your videos I pick up alot faster then books and tapes.
Keep up the good work.
Isn’t it crazy how much more you understand when you learn some of the non-verbal language? It sounds like you’re in Japan–I’m so jealous! Whereabouts are you living?
Thanks for the great compliment on our course and videos. I’m really glad to hear you’re getting a lot out of them!
I live in New York but I was in japan for some time, I had a friend that was at the army base there so I was able to go for a week. I loved every bit of it. I stayed in Tokyo and visited Osaka, wow so much food. I am trying to get a place over there in japan as a vacation home. Can’t wait to go back. Kevin what did you do when you went a few weeks ago?
That’s pretty cool that you have a friend over in Japan to visit–it definitely makes the whole experience much more fun. Whereabouts are you thinking of getting a vacation home?
On my last trip to Japan, I went to see some friends of mine get married in Yokohama. I got to know the two of them through Aaron and they recently moved to Japan where they decided to tie to knot. It was great fun. Thanks for asking!
I don’t realy know where to look right now but I would like it to be near a city but not in the city. Some where near Tokyo might be good. I haven’t been in japan long enough to know what would be best. I hear that it’s best to live in the city and I hear that it’s better to live outside of them. If you have any ideas or experiance, that would be great.
If you know of any good locations that are nice and maybe alittle quiet, let me know.
Ps. You guys are always welcome if I do get one.
Ps. you guys are always welcome if I get one.
ignore the repeats, its hard to type and see right on a ipod.
This is a tough one to answer since it really depends on what you like. If you like a high-paced lifestyle the city’s the way to go. But if you’re more laid back, I’d settle somewhere outside the city. You could also look at suburbs surrounding large metropolitan areas for a nice compromise.
When I lived in Japan, I was in a suburb of Osaka. It was a good 40 min train ride so it was really quiet and nice where I lived. I absolutely loved it since it was close enough to the city to go back and forth, but far enough away to be able to escape the madness.
If you want to live near Tokyo, I would recommend looking around the Yokohama area or along the Tokyo/Chiba border. I’m a big fan of these two areas.
In the movie My Neighbor Totoro, as well as other anime that I’ve seen, people make a face where they stick out their tongues, close one eye, and pull down their other eye with their index finger. I’ve been told this is equivalent to the US middle finger but I can’t find any information on it online. Do you know what this means?
I was just watching the Japanese movie, “Ringu”, or in America, “The Ring”
At Yokomo’s funeral or whatever, the little boy Yoichi looked up at her memorial and placed his finger in between his eyes. Is this some sort of respect symbol or what?
Ashley - That is the “Akanbeh” face - it’s a childish thing, very similar to the American “Nanny nanny boo boo” or sticking your tongue out at someone, sometimes it’s shortened to just saying “Beh!”
My funniest adventures with hand gestures both involve the “come here” gesture. When I was in Japan, I went skiing with my uncle. He was taking a photo and made that gesture. I misunderstood it as “back up” - I nearly backed off the mountain! Then my cousin came to America and tried to perform our one fingered “come here” gesture - however, she used her middle finger so the person she was beckoning was quite startled!
I was reading through the comments and I did not see an explaination as to why one should not use the traditional American gesture for “Come Here”. I was told that this was in fact the gesture in Japan that was equal to the middle finger in America. Is this true?
What’s the symbol where you do the peace sign with the thumb out and the palm facing the person who is gesturing? I’ve seen it in a few animes…. Is it an actual gesture or is it just nonsense?
wow so helpful! LOVE this show!
Okay the come here american style is used more for pets. I would not use it but they understand if you do because its your culture. They know you are not calling them like that but its just the opposite. Sorry for short post I am sleepy!
Hi, thank you in advance for any light you can shed on this for me.
I was watching an episode of Witch Hunter Robin called “Simple Mind” and the character Yurika Dojima makes a gesture like: hand open with palm up in front of her face and her tongue stuck out–the motion she made reminded me of a dog lapping up water. She did this after she discovered she and Robin had been fooled or “blind” to the truth. What does this mean?
Very informative video. I just have one question. Is there a particular hand gesture to say that someone is crazy or weird? In the U.S. you make circles by your temple with your pointer finger. Is it similar in Japan? Is it completely different?
Thanks again for making the video! It was great.