popularJLPT N2usually written using kana alonenounnoun (generic)noun or participle taking the aux. verb するintransitive verb


Words commonly used in modern Japanese #popular
JLPT N2 words: Upper-intermediate Level #jlpt2
usually written using kana alone
Words and expressions which are always written using hiragana or katakana. #uk
noun (common) (futsuumeishi) #n
noun (generic)
All kinds of Japanese nouns #noun
noun or participle taking the aux. verb する
noun or participle which takes the aux. verb suru #vs
intransitive verb
intransitive verb #vi


  • ジャン()(けん)


How to write

Not available for this kanji.

Rock paper scissors

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

Rock paper scissors

Janken pon! じゃん拳ぽん 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!じゃんけんぽん and all players showing either rock, paper or scissors at the sound of ponぽん
  • 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:


Kanji in this word


Extended information

Example sentences