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Peace, Mr. Cash

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Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby Sairana » Thu 10.16.2008 6:12 pm

Gnehehe.... I only put your name in the title to get your attention, Mike, because this kinda has to do with you... and pardon the stream of consciousness format. I can't be buggered to do my usual amount of editing and reediting today.

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).

So.... comments?
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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby furrykef » Thu 10.16.2008 6:39 pm

Well, I'm not Mr. Cash, but I think it's a fairly meaningless gesture at this point. I use the "peace sign" myself -- not specifically because it's a Japanese custom; it was something I kind of unconsciously started doing some years ago -- though probably not nearly as often, and I don't really think too much about whether it's a "peace sign" or "V for Victory". It's just that thing I do. I actually use it most often when saying "goodbye", myself, so I guess it could be interpreted as "peace be with you" in that context, but I never really thought about it.

Though a couple of times I've given the sign with both hands raised high in the air Nixon-style as my cousins left in their car to return to Texas, and I jokingly asked my family, "Is this a peace sign or a V for Victory?" My grandmother responded "I think it's 'V for Victory'," not quite catching my joke (that it'd be a "victory" in the sense of "yay, we got rid of them!" -- jokingly, of course).

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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby AJBryant » Thu 10.16.2008 8:56 pm

The origin may be somewhat irrelevant.

In WWII, it meant "Victory" (actually, it also meant "screw you, Germany" -- there's a reason Churchill did it palm IN and not palm OUT), but ever since the sixties and the hippie age and Vietnam, it's been "the peace sign."

At any rate: screw you, palm in -- peace, palm out.


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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby becki_kanou » Thu 10.16.2008 10:33 pm

I think that regardless of the origin, for most people (especially young people) it doesn't really have any meaning. While most people know that it's the peace sign, and even say 「ピース!」while doing the gesture, it's just the accepted pose to do when someone takes your picture, without any deeper meaning behind it.
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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby spin13 » Fri 10.17.2008 4:55 am

becki_kanou wrote:I think that regardless of the origin, for most people (especially young people) it doesn't really have any meaning. While most people know that it's the peace sign, and even say 「ピース!」while doing the gesture, it's just the accepted pose to do when someone takes your picture, without any deeper meaning behind it.


To expand on that, the most common answer I've gotten from young Japanese people regarding the practice is, "I do it because that's what everybody else does and has done since I was a child." Then again, I, for one, didn't know why we say "cheese" until just now, yet I've been saying it my entire life (and in two languages to boot).

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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby sushi4ever » Fri 10.17.2008 6:29 am

AJBryant wrote:At any rate: screw you, palm in -- peace, palm out.


Well, this is a very British gesture as far as I've encountered it, so it might be irrelevant to Americans and Japanese, although I find it eternally amusing when I see Japanese girls giving their V-signs palm in trying to look cute :twisted:
(Really gives me the gigglefits sometimes :mrgreen: )
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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 10.17.2008 9:27 am

The simple thing here is that's it's an innocent gesture used by almost everyone when taking pictures. Peace, the number 2, bunny ears, palm in, palm out, victory, does it really so much to you to be right? I mean I hope your not staking your full reputation on a meaningless/innocent gesture that's meant more over time than any of us can imagine. :|
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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby sushi4ever » Fri 10.17.2008 10:03 am

I know that it IS an innocent gesture for us and them and I don't give it that much thought anymore, heck, I even catch myself doing it sometimes, it's just those moments when I remember the real (or better: original) meaning and can't help but laughing :wink:

No offenses made :lol:

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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby Sairana » Fri 10.17.2008 10:42 pm

Eh... it's not really my reputation. I was more concerned with the fact that most of the people on said forum seem to think that Japan is a utopian society, and the fact that every single person gives the peace sign in photos is just further proof of it.

Dunno. Guess maybe I should leave them to their blissful delusions.
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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby Infidel » Sat 10.18.2008 1:34 am

And all Japanese food tastes better than crappy American food.

Natto is Japanese so it must be delicious.
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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby jimbreen » Sat 10.18.2008 3:20 am

AJBryant wrote:The origin may be somewhat irrelevant.


Harunodo.

In WWII, it meant "Victory" (actually, it also meant "screw you, Germany" -- there's a reason Churchill did it palm IN and not palm OUT), but ever since the sixties and the hippie age and Vietnam, it's been "the peace sign."


Two different symbols. The WWII one was a "V" (victory). The peace symbol (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_symbol) was developed in the UK in the late 50s for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and was based on the overlaying of the semaphore positions of "N" and "D" (upside-down "V" plus one-flag-up-one-flag-down). A few years later it was enthusiastically taken up by various peace/counter-culture/protest groups as a generaic peace symbol, and the rest is history.

Haven't worked out what this has to do with Mike Cash.

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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby Sairana » Sat 10.18.2008 3:36 am

Haven't worked out what this has to do with Mike Cash.


Nothing, directly, other than a quote of his was used on a forum utterly unrelated to this one, and I found it interesting enough to share in conjunction with my question. As big as the internet is, it's like bumping into someone you know while vacationing overseas. Just doesn't seem to happen very often.
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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby AJBryant » Sat 10.18.2008 3:40 am

Sairana wrote: As big as the internet is, it's like bumping into someone you know while vacationing overseas. Just doesn't seem to happen very often.


Kinda had that happen when I lived in Japan. I worked for a copywriting/translation firm for a while, and they hired a new guy one day. He turned out to be from the same town in Indiana I was born in. A town of about 9,000. What's more, his family lived on a street that had been named for my mother.

He took an immediate dislike to me as my family was from the "right" side of the tracks, and his "wasn't"...

Sigh.


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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby furrykef » Sat 10.18.2008 4:10 am

Sairana wrote:As big as the internet is, it's like bumping into someone you know while vacationing overseas. Just doesn't seem to happen very often.


You'd be surprised. I've had a couple of extremely surprising occasions like that. One of them was I found this one funny picture online, and then some months later or so my best friend got a girlfriend... much later I found that pic online again (it was in the same place, but I'd come across it again by chance) and I noticed the signature on the picture belonged to my friend's girlfriend!! Now that's weird...

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Re: Peace, Mr. Cash

Postby tōkai devotee » Sat 10.18.2008 11:16 pm

sushi4ever wrote:(God, the new smileys are so darn ugly :evil: )



Perhaps someone made the new smilies so ugly on purpose so we would stop using them so often !?!
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