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(   Why do Japanese people make the V sign with their fingers when they pose for a photo?   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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578 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Apr 2003 at 8:53 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

193 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-04-06 09:19:32 PM  
Sign language for "cheese."
2003-04-06 09:20:19 PM  
So why exactly do so many of our peace-mongering warrior bretheren, the Rapists of Nanjing, bleach their hair? If the pictures in that survey were any indication, there are more bottle blonds on the streets of Hiroshima than in Hollywood. Are they trying to be a tad more Teutonic in preparation for The Next Time 'Round, or is their sense of fashion really that dismally lost?
2003-04-06 09:20:34 PM  
Just a guess, but, uh, maybe because the Allies won?

Ask this guy.
2003-04-06 09:21:17 PM  
"Two Sapporos, please! Hai!"
2003-04-06 09:21:47 PM  
Cornelius, Pizzicato 5, Guitar Wolf, all good. In fact, Matador is a great label.

By the By, does anyone have english lyrics to any Daler Mendhi songs?
2003-04-06 09:21:54 PM  
Irockalot: Yeah, I forgot how funny that "I only want to hit it a little bit" pic was. It was the funniest from back when the "I'd hit it!" pics were still funny.
2003-04-06 09:22:39 PM  
damn, theres that shanes world add again...why would they advertise this?
2003-04-06 09:22:42 PM  
goddam you 1/2 japanese girls do it to me every time

2003-04-06 09:22:59 PM  
Oops! I guess that was bad Japanese grammer. It should've read: "Two Sapporos, PREASE!"
2003-04-06 09:23:58 PM  
The site is farked and I wanna know why!!!

2003-04-06 09:24:46 PM  
seemed sort of on-topic?
2003-04-06 09:25:28 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-04-06 09:25:31 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

Japan Victory Corporation

2003-04-06 09:27:11 PM bout theyre japanese...
2003-04-06 09:27:52 PM  
PEACE = please don't nuke us again.
2003-04-06 09:27:55 PM  
because they can't pronounce their "l's"

got nuthin
2003-04-06 09:28:55 PM  
rabu ando peesu!
2003-04-06 09:29:01 PM  
if this is a peace sign.. then what's this?

that's the symbol of -axis-of-evils-we-gonna-nuke-you
2003-04-06 09:30:32 PM  
you're damned right Matador is a good label

/continue with the thread people
2003-04-06 09:30:33 PM  
can someone farking post the real reason they do it because after reading that god damn title i actually want to know...
2003-04-06 09:30:33 PM hahahaha
2003-04-06 09:30:51 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-04-06 09:31:04 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-04-06 09:31:13 PM  
ElwoodCuse, big american dance party!!
2003-04-06 09:31:40 PM  
2003-04-06 09:31:45 PM  
This is the one where you point the V at your mouth and flick your tongue? Or am I thinking of the wrong thing?
2003-04-06 09:34:03 PM  
For those who don't have the patience to wait for this damn thing to load. I included the comments just for ya-yas. Enjoy. (Though to be honest, after scrolling through it, I wonder why anyone would bother...but you'll see. You'll see...)

Japan Today's Sachie Kanda dropped into Shinjuku to ask:

Do you know why Japanese people make the V sign with their fingers when they pose for a photo?

Seiichi Igeta, 17
"I make the peace sign but I don't know why I do it, who invented it and when we started doing this. I think I've been doing it since I was born. The peace sign gesture must have been programmed in my DNA, or foreigners mind-controlled Japanese to make the peace sign subconsciously when we pose for a photo to keep the peace after the war."

Kaoru Tsunoda, 21
"I remember seeing Toshihiko Tahara, an old Japanese idol singer, and Ittetsu Hoshi, a famous cartoon character of "Kyojin no Hoshi" making the peace sign a long time ago. However, I think the origin must go way back. Maybe from Perry, St Francis Xavier, MacArthur, Winston Churchil or the Beatles? Whoever introduced that sign indirectly helped Japan adopt pacifism in Article 9 of the Constitution. Let's just keep making peace signs. Anyway, it is too boring to stand with a plain face, otherwise you just end up with a mug shot or ID picture."

Seima Sekine, 21
"It is very difficult to talk about the science of idiotic gestures. All I can say is that even when I don't feel like I have to smile, I can easily make the V sign and show my desire for peace in a photo. I wish everybody peace too. If you want to talk logically about the gesture, there is a monograph on nonverbal behavior; you should look into that."

Yasuyuki Honma, 15
"For some reason, I automatically make the peace sign when I pose for a photo and it makes me happy somehow. These days, many people make backward peace signs. That's a kind of a trend among my friends. At first I thought it was a nail length check when a friend of mine showed me his peace sign but now I think a backward peace sign is pretty cool. Of course, I didn't know that making the sign that way denotes "F you" in some countries until you told me."

Toshihiko Higa, 18
"We make the peace sign because everyone does it and it's easy to make. It is not a cool thing but rather cute. I've been watching "Good Luck," a TV drama starring Takuya Kimura of SMAP as a pilot. I thought it is cool when he makes a good luck gesture with his hand. I've adopted that gesture now instead of the peace sign."

Mami Koami, 16
"Making the V sign when we pose for a photo is taken for granted in public in Japan. When I was small, my mom asked me to make the peace sign and say "peace peace" whenever she took my photo. Anyway, a V looks better than just clenching your fist and it looks cooler. Anyway, I do not know why we call it a peace sign when it really looks like a Y to me."

Ami Sato, 16
"If I had been born in the Heisei period, I would say I had started making the peace sign because of the hit song, "The peace" by Morning Musume (a female idol group). However, I am a Showa girl, so I can't give you any reason why I make the V sign. I have never seen any Edo period photos in which anyone makes the peace sign or even in my grandma's pictures. But I remember my mom making a peace sign in her old pictures. Among my generation, more people started making such gestures with the advent of printable photo game machines."

Shuhei Yodogawa, 30
"Peace is a sign made by two fingers, but when you say "ni" (two) in Japanese, you open your mouth horizontally. That is why we make the V sign although we do not say "ni" to take a photo. We still say peace in Japlish. The contradiction makes me think of who started the gesture. It must have come from a foreign country since it is katakana. Anyhow, how the hell can making such a gesture for a photo be a wish for peace? This sort of group-oriented behavior without any reason illustrates a symbol of Japanese subculture."

March 12, 2003

Japan Today Discussion
Post Your Opinion!

71 Total Messages (Click here to show all)
15 Messages Shown (Scroll down for most recent)

haru ichiban (Mar 14 2003 - 01:18)

Meaulnes. Good story. The opposite V.

My guess with the peace sign got something to do with ww2. Where did kancho originate from? Ever seen a gaijins face when some 10 year old pulls a kancho? hehe.

Cyclops (Mar 14 2003 - 10:45)

For some it represents peace or victory. For others it represents the number two. It could also represent a pair of spread legs. And in France it means "I'm gay."

But for Japanese it means, "Everyone else here does it so I better do it too if I want to look cool."

Do you know why Japanese people make the V sign with their fingers when they pose for a photo?
Douglas MacArthur (Mar 14 2003 - 12:48)

Have you ever seen lemmings jumping from cliffs?

Actually, I think lemmings should be made into Japan's national animal. Why not make a cartoon out of one, give him big round eyes, have him making the 'V' sign and slap him right there on the red splotch on the Hinomaru. I couldn't think of a better description of Japan today.

The Horn (Mar 14 2003 - 13:49)
Doesn't every gesture in France mean "I'm gay"?
iquincu ocha (Mar 14 2003 - 16:32)

"Mindless Drones"

I love it.

Loki520 (Mar 14 2003 - 19:59)

I can handle the drones and the peace sign, even though I have had to argue with my kid to "put the damn hand down and take a normal picture". But have you seen these idiots that stick thier tongue out of the corner of the mouth, wink at you, tilt the head, and then put the "V" sign up by their eyes (or some variation thereof)? You can tell that Mami-chan above really WANTS to finish that pose she started.

If the "V" sign in every picture gets to you, this pose ought to really send you to the madhouse!

In Japan only
passerby (Mar 14 2003 - 23:32)

There was a commercial in Japanese TV a long long long LONG time ago (when the first easy-to-use cameras came out) where a Very Famous Tarento made the peace sign (for signifying something like "the easy-to-use cameras has came to win" = to stay).
Well, the cameras did stay and went easier and easier - and the then "cool and new" peace-sign stayd with them as a half-compulsory pose for snap-shot photos ...

Conclusion: all the young Japanese are just victims of a commercial their parents though to be cool ...

The Origin of the "V" - sign as used by Japanese
Hana-Bi (Mar 15 2003 - 05:57)

The origin of the "V" sign is a very long one actually dating back some 2000 years, often used for good and bad reasons by many groups of people from the Romans to signify the Number five, to being used by Satan worshipers to communists and Jewish groups.

The "V" sign also having other names such as broken cross or crow's foot to signify the anti-christ "Or upside down cross"

But in recent times it was used by Winston Chruchhill during the second world war as a sign of hope and encouragement to the people on the home front and for the troop's at war as the "V-for Victory sign"

However! The origin of Japanese people using it when photo's are taken they make the "V-sign" is quite rightly as the lovely Kaoru Tsunoda said in her comments at the top of this forum of replies. The "V" is used as a sign of hope and peace. Its origin in this case come from the peace movement in the 1950's and 1960's later with the united periods of the swinging sixties and hippy and peace movement it was used to parade against the vietnam war, during which Famous artists like John Lennon and Yoko Ono whom where part of the peace movment during the sixties and seventies brought new meaning to the show of peace with the signifying of the "V" sign during there famous photo calls and media related protests and peace calls. this has been further used by CND orginisation for total disarmament of all nuclear weapons during the 1980's

But the significant use of the "V" sign by the peace movement over the years against war and and nuclear weapons has enforced this use. It now appears as a token sign of peace and happiness. Which in it's own way is re-enforced by the ironic fact Japan has stood as statement and symbol for peace and against the use or possession of all nulcear weapons since Japan exists as the only country to have been bombed and suffer the force and distruction of what nuclear weapons can do.

This in effect means the "V" sign used by many if nearly all Japanese "Especially the young" when taking or having there photo taken shows a ever so refreshing and symbolic and justified show of "Hope Peace & Happiness to all of us. - "HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL"

Hana-Bi Woof

ZlGGY (Mar 15 2003 - 16:42)

I think the V sign was made famous by Winston Churchill. V for Victory. In the 60's it became a symbol for peace. Now if you want a piece you should make V sign because it makes the sign for a great piece. I is also a great sign for one and it may be the only shot you get at having a piece if she knows your interest in her piece.

BS (Mar 15 2003 - 18:23)


That 'V' sign,


pressing one's nose with the index finger when referring to oneself,

hiding one's teeth with the curbing palm of the hand when laughing,

the terebi hosts' obsession with those cooking programs (Oishiii!! Umai!!)

Banks that charge you to have your money deposited

the ladies' shopping obsession

the ojisan's passion for late escapades into Izakayas

the unsuitability of colour tones, food tastes, because it doesn't match the 'japanese taste'

I know what the 'older' James Bonds would say:


Please don't censor me... it took me a long time to type!

When it comes time to make the peace sign...
Jojo (Mar 16 2003 - 09:46)

...I reached for ohashi or something else to make it with! No one ever explained any deep meaning behind the gesture, so I personalised it rather than being robotic!

A bad joke I once heard from a marine....
Bushido (Mar 16 2003 - 19:18)

"One finger for Hiroshima, the other for Nagasaki."

Another probelm with JT is....
haru ichiban (Mar 17 2003 - 01:41)

Most gaijins have never lived abroad and then they do for the first time in their lives in JP.and because it is different they start being judgemental..

There are more ways than one.

The "V"
petdog (Mar 17 2003 - 19:46)

I just thought that sh#t is funny, but it is cool I guess. It is just funny though that almost 9 times out of 10 pictures, there will always be a peace sign!

Keep peace'n

Do you know why Japanese people make the V sign with their fingers when they pose for a photo?
dsc (Mar 17 2003 - 22:06)

Once upon a time, there were two brothers. Both were small and weak, but one was very bossy and wanted to force his brother to be his servant. Since the two brothers were evenly matched, the bossy brother couldn't do it by himself, so he went and got two very big, very mean friends to help him beat up his brother.

The second brother knew he was doomed, so he asked another large man to be his friend and help him defend himself against his bossy brother and his two big friends.

All the friends of the bossy brother and his two friends were furious when they heard this. How dare anyone interfere with their friends, when all they wanted to do was to relegate the second brother to his rightful place?

They held many meetings and wrote many manifestos as they tried to decide what to do about the interference by the second brother's friend. They all wanted to bring public opinion into line behind their friends, the bossy brother and his two large friends, but they worried that the unenlightened, unwashed denizens of flyover country might mistakenly believe the bossy brother to be in the wrong, because he was the aggressor, and might sympathize with the second brother and his friend because it was three against two.

"Oh, oh," they cried. "What shall we do to bring the benighted of the world to see things the way we, the specially anointed, see them?"

"I know," piped up one of the anointed. "Let's keep repeating that the second brother's big friend is the actual aggressor."

"No, no, no," intoned a tenured Ivy League professor. "The benighted will just research the matter and see who is attacking whom. After all, all the fighting is in the second brother's yard, when the bossy brother attacks."

There was much consternation and stomping of Birkenstocks at this. All the friends were very upset. "Oh, oh," they cried. "Whatever shall we do?"

Suddenly, in their midst a spirit appeared. He was so nebulous that they could see right through him, but as he spoke he gradually began to take on the appearance of substance.

He was short, walked with a limp, and wore a really snazzy uniform with a leather belt and a brimmed cap. He called himself "Joe." As he spoke, the friends knew they had their plan.

"You amateurs," he said. "Have you learned nothing from history? Tell a bold enough lie often enough, and brazenly enough, and many people will come to believe it. Shout from the rooftops that the second brother and his big friend are to blame. In time, your claim will gain credibility simply through repetition."

"But surely that won't be enough," the friends whined, as they wrung their hands.

"If you claim that your only interest is 'peace,' you yourselves will gain credibility. You will come to be seen as morally superior to those who fail to put 'peace' above all else. People will forget who started this fight, and who refuses to let it drop. New generations will be born who will never even hear that it was the bossy brother who insisted on making a servant of his own brother. They will always 'know' that the second brother and his big friend were in the wrong."

As the morning sun struck the spectral figure and he began to fade away, he spoke rapidly and forcefully, knowing that he had little time to impart his last bit of wisdom. "And remember-never, never, never admit that your real goal is to help the bossy brother and his friends. If that becomes known, the game is up. Your only goal, your only interest is peace. Those who oppose you, who oppose the bossy brother, are warmongers and imperialists. They don't want peace, because they are bad people. You are good people, because you want peace. Repeat it, and repeat it, and repeat it, again, and again, and again, and..."

Then the friends were alone again. They looked at each other hopefully.

"I will help," said the newspaper reporter.

"And I will help," said the television reporter.

"I will help, too," said the college professor.

"I will really help," said the congressman.

"We will all help," said all the friends of the bossy brother and his two big, mean friends.

"But wait," the cry went up. "We need a symbol, a sign of recognition, something that will rally us and unify us, and by which we will know each other."

There were many suggestions, but finally someone said, "Wait. Why invent a new symbol. This one," and he held up two fingers, "already has a good reputation. Let's take it for our own, and call it the 'the peace sign.' When we make this sign, we will know that it really indicates our support for the bossy brother and his two big, mean friends, but we will tell everyone else that it shows how wonderful we are because of our love of peace."

And they did, and everything turned out just as they wanted.

Even today, 28 years after the bossy brother and his two big, mean friends made a servant of the second brother and did terrible things to him, many, many people still call that gesture "the peace sign," even though it always was a symbol of support for bad people who were attacking and doing terrible things to their brothers.

Millions of people died because of the people whose symbol that was, but it is still called "the peace sign," and it is taught to innocent children.

Fark commentary lite...
2003-04-06 09:35:21 PM  
RaoulDuke: That's the Three Finger Salute, and it stands for the 3 parts of the scout oath: to stay physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
(who can start a fire in under 3 seconds)
2003-04-06 09:35:51 PM  
Duh....obvious........It's how many nukes we dropped on Japan

("Hell, hell, I'm a goin to hell")
2003-04-06 09:36:25 PM  
Looking at new-fangled dildo/vibrator designs from Japan, I see a clear connection to the V sign.

Not like I browse those kind of sites.. honest guv
2003-04-06 09:37:56 PM  
You might as well ask why the sick bastards like cartoon porn of women with dinner-plate sized purple eyes and blue hair shiatting on eachother....

Umm... I don't understand. Whats not to like?

2003-04-06 09:40:05 PM  
Dome Arigato, Mr. Robato.
2003-04-06 09:41:00 PM  
2 dahrahs
2003-04-06 09:47:23 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

it's a "W".

/dumbass liberals
2003-04-06 09:51:09 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

It's W showing he can count more than Susan.
2003-04-06 09:52:41 PM  
I want a girlfriend with blue hair!!!
2003-04-06 09:53:01 PM  
LittleCamel--And here I thought it was the number of fingers Rummy has up his bum at all times...
2003-04-06 09:54:17 PM  
Hubiestubert: we call them 'homeless' now you intolerant farktard.
2003-04-06 09:54:55 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-04-06 09:55:51 PM  
LittleCamel--As in Rumsfeld. He has a parking place at the Whitehouse, might have heard of him... Geez, Righties got no sense of humor any more...
2003-04-06 09:59:23 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

It's misunderestimation.
2003-04-06 10:01:56 PM  
I read the headline and the first thing I thought was...
"In all the pictures I've seen, they aren't using their fingers to make the V sign!"
2003-04-06 10:06:30 PM  

Look, this guy was caught in the act [2nd from left]

[image from too old to be available]

2003-04-06 10:09:34 PM  
Are they consummate Vs?
2003-04-06 10:12:56 PM  
It's a "W", "dubbya", "Double Ewe"

2003-04-06 10:12:56 PM  
Irockalot and supercool Yeah! Cornelius rocks. How about Fantastic Plastic Machine? The first two albums were great.
2003-04-06 10:17:13 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-04-06 10:19:51 PM  
Holy moly,
I just read her shirt!
2003-04-06 10:23:22 PM  
No web site is configured at this address.

The link is Totally Farked, now.
2003-04-06 10:25:50 PM  
Silly people. Its not a peace sign, its a victory sign. It was used at the end of WW2. It became a "peace" sign because victory brought peace.
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