ぐう

Pronunciation

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  • ぐう guu

Translation

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  • noun
    rock (in rock, paper, scissors game)
    • see also: 
  • onomatopoeic or mimetic wordadverbnoun
    sound made through constricted throat
    • see also: 
  • onomatopoeic or mimetic word
    sound made in suffering or under adversity

    Rock paper scissors

    The rock paper scissors game is very popular in Japan. Know why.

    Rock paper scissors

    Janken pon! This is the sentence to start a new game of rock paper scissors in Japan. This game is very popular among Japanese children since very old times. Did you know it was originated in Asia and it expanded from there to the rest of the world?

    Some history

    The game was created in China in the Han dynasty and from there it was imported into Japan where it became very popular. At the beginning the shapes done by the hands where very different from the ones used today. Instead of a rock, paper and scissors they represented a frog, a slug and a snake. After some time it evolved to the shapes we use today.

    From Japan the game expanded to the rest of the world. In some countries like Peru and Brasil, the game is even known by the Japanese name: jan-ken-pon.

    Rules of rock paper scissors in Japan

    Who doesn’t know how to play it? This game is so popular everyone knows its rules. However, rock paper scissors in Japan has some particularities that make this game a bit different:

    • The game starts when both players say: Saisho wa guu 最初はぐう. It literally means “Beginning with stone”. At the same time both players show their fists to start the game.
    • This is followed by someone saying: Janken pon! and all players showing either rock, paper or scissors at the sound of pon
    • If there is a tie it’s said Aiko deshou! 相子でしょう which means “it seems a tie” and all the players show their hands again until someone wins the game.

    Those are the different shapes you can make with your hands:

    EnglishHandSymbolJapaneseWinsLosses
    Rock✊🏔ScissorsPaper
    Paper✋📄RockScissors
    Scissors✌✂PaperRock