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Yubikiri Genman (Pinky Promise)

  • Yubikiri Genman


    Japanese children say “yubikiri genman uso tsuitara hari senbon nomasu” while crossing their little fingers when they make a promise.

    In the case of adults, the phrase becomes just “yubikiri” or “yubikiri genman.”

    At one time, Japanese prostitutes cut off their fingers and present them for particular customers to prove their loves.

    (It’s said that there were many imitation fingers.)

    Cutting off fingers (which is called “yubikiri” in Japan) became widespread and the meaning changed to “to keep a promise.”

    Also, “genman” means “ten thousands fists,” and “hari senbon nomasu” means “to make someone drink a thousand needles.”

    Japanese children say this phrase as they are singing, but the actual meaning is horrible: “If you tell a lie, I will cut off your little finger, fist you 10,000 times, and make you drink 1,000 needles.”

    Original sentence