This Is Not 'F**k You' In Japanese Sign Language

This Is Not 'Fuck You' in Japanese Sign Language

It's really not. This is the gesture for "siblings" (兄弟 or "kyoudai") in Japanese Sign Language.

Just like with spoken languages, sign language has evolved differently in different countries (here's a helpful list of sign languages). So, people who know American Sign Language obviously won't be able to communicate with people who use Japanese Sign Language.

[via RocketNews via GameOver

In the West, the finger has long meant "Fuck you" for a very long time. In Japan, it traditionally has not. In American Sign Language, flipping the bird means, you guessed it, flipping the bird. In Japanese Sign Language, it does not.

So, Japan, what gives? Why the middle finger?

Japanese children are taught the names of all the fingers. The thumb is the "father finger", the index finger is the "mother finger", the middle finger is the "brother finger", the ring finger is the "sister finger", and the pinky is the "baby finger".

This Is Not 'Fuck You' in Japanese Sign Language

GIF: Fuji+ via RocketNews via GameOver

That's why in Japanese Sign Language, the middle finger would logically refer to "brother". There's a long cultural context.

In this video, you can hear the woman saying "ani" (兄), which means "older brother."

This dude too.

But here's where things get tricky! Because while traditionally, the middle finger isn't a profane gesture in Japan, many people in the country are aware of the bird, thanks to its appearance in Hollywood movies, foreign TV shows, and American musicians. There's even a Japanese Wiki page on it:

This Is Not 'Fuck You' in Japanese Sign Language

In Japanese, it's call the "fuck sign" (ファックサイン or fakku sain). In Japan, many might see it as more of a joke, and the Wiki does warn Japanese people about using it towards Americans and British people.

This Is Not 'Fuck You' in Japanese Sign Language

Yet, you do sometimes see it in Japanese media. This tough schoolgirl character flips the bird in the 2008 film Love Exposure. This certainly does not mean "brother." It means, "Fuck you." The image appeared on the movie's poster (though, it's unlikely that lewd Japanese hand gestures ever would).

And in case there is any doubt what is being referred to:

This Is Not 'Fuck You' in Japanese Sign Language

Picture: Ameblo

Oh! And similar gestures are used in Korean Sign Language and Chinese Sign Language.

This Is Not 'Fuck You' in Japanese Sign Language

GIF: jslvideodayo


    They clearly understand what it means elsewhere tho

    I know Australian sign language and this is the sign for "Holiday".

    Heres the official website:

      Makes sense. "We're going on holiday" is basically just a shorter way of saying "we're gonna go fuck off for a while".

        Or simply "Fuck you guys, I'm going on holiday"

        Also, I wonder if the Japanese translation for this would be "You are all my brothers":

      So as it turns out I know sign language?!> Casue that's exactly what I did before I went on my holiday! This is going on my resume...

    You see anime and manga characters flipping each other off all the time. In the Naruto manga, this is what Naruto did to an entire ROOM full of ninja during the chuunin exam. I doubt siblings had anything to do with it.

    It's also, IIRC, the manual syllabary sign for "se"... though it does face the other direction there.

    Well, things happen when there are more than a hundred distinct sign languages. Who invented sign language? It was grown and evolved by those who are deaf. There is an assumption that communities of those who were hearing impaired lived together and taught each other how to communicate in sign language, because they were often cast out by their own societies. Read more about the evolution of sign language here:

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