OK, so I am part of a small community of... well, self appointed Japanese otaku. I decided to join the group because they had some language-related material, and I figured I could help out. It's like a disaster area... people who don't know Japanese teaching other people Japanese.... I'm sure you know the scenario. I didn't join to teach them, per se (I am not good enough for that) but to throw in corrections or whatever when I'm able. For the most part, it's just things like "50 phrases you can use while chatting" and "Here's one post with all the basic grammar you need to speak Japanese!"
Anyway... the subject of the peace sign came up.
One person posted a picture of two Japanese women giving the 'peace sign', into which she had edited in a speech balloon with the romaji, "HEEWA (peace)". I told her it wasn't really the peace sign. If it was anything, it was V for Victory dating back to WWII, not back to the hippies in the 60's. She responded by copy-pasting this from a UK editorial/blogger thing (actually, I can't figure out what the site is supposed to be...).
I found it insanely cool that this quote is part of that article:
There was also a discussion on the subject on Japan Forum, the online community dedicated to all things Japanese. Westerner Mike Cash, wrote:
"A really odd thing is that most Japanese don't even realize they're doing it, and furthermore seem not to even notice them in their pictures. I remember a high school girl showing me a group photo taken on a school trip. There were about 50 girls in the picture and about 70 or 80 peace signs. (We counted!) Though the photo looked like a huge mass of peace signs to me and it was the first thing that struck me, nobody else present who saw the picture (all Japanese) noticed them at all."
Small world! Is that the same Mike Cash that graces us? ^_^ Because this girl is taking that statement to be proof positive that it is, in fact, the peace sign and that I have no clue what I'm talking about. (Maybe I don't, but I thought I did...)
I'm aware there's a really old thread here at TJP about it, but I couldn't decide whether to necropost it. I opted not to, but here is the link. The consensus -seemed- to be that it was V for Victory, but then, it was just a bunch of people guessing, excepting maybe Harisenbon's initial response.
So is there a definitive answer to this, or is it one of those unanswerable questions? Do Japanese people, in general, view the cute little thing they do when they have their pictures taken as "the peace sign" or no? And since the girl seems to take a liking to Mr. Cash's quote, I figured I'd give her another one.... (yes, I know, that could be asking for egg on my face, but hey, I'll post what he says either way... unedited, I promise).