Body Language in Japanese

How to express yourself non-verbally in Japanese


If you read manga, you will certainly see these and other body language poses.

NAME – Unknown
ACTION – Point to your nose

Most Westerners point to their heart, but in Japan, the Japanese point to their noses. 

NAME – アッカンベー
MEANING – “I won’t do as you say” or “Poo poo on you”
ACTION – Pull down one lower eyelid while sticking out your tongue

Needless to say, this isn’t the nicest thing you can do to someone.  But it comes in handy if you are slightly angry with someone.  Usually children do this and then run.

NAME – Unknown
MEANING – embarrassed, or when wanting to appear humble when being honored
ACTION – Place your hand behind your head

If you are crowded by people giving you praise for something you have done, this is the proper pose to take.

NAME – Unknown
ACTION – Make an OK sign but show your palm

If someone asks why you haven’t gone to Japan yet, or why you don’t have a big screen TV just make this sign.

NAME – Unknown
MEANING – Girlfriend
ACTION – Make a fist without the pinky

Be careful with this as it can sometimes mean “mistress”


NAME – 指切り
MEANING – Making a promis
ACTION – link your pinky with someone else’s pinky.  

This has a song that goes along with it.  To learn about it click here .

NAME – Unknown
MEANING – Come here
ACTION – Palm facing down, level hand and wave it downwards

In most Western societies, we motion “come here” by curling our index finger.  But in Japan they do this.  I wouldn’t advise doing this in the US though!

NAME – Unknown
MEANING – Position your hand under your chin
ACTION – I am not quite sure, but something like “I’m cool” or “TADA!”

I think this has become somewhat popular through its usage by the popular singing dancing group Morning Musume.  Although it could have been around longer.  Most people I have talked with [granted they are the older generation] haven’t a clue what this means!!

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