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6 Ways To Up Your Selfie Game in Asia

Classic Peace Sign
6 Ways To Up Your Selfie Game in Asia
The young people in Far Eastern metropolises are some of the most tech-savvy people on earth. They’ve even got their own visual language for photo taking that many travelers to Asia have seen and admired. But what do these symbols mean—and what, exactly, do they look like? Here’s your 101 guide to upping your own selfie game with some of these sweet signs.

By Rachel Tepper Paley
Illustration by Rachel Tepper Paley
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    Classic Peace Sign
    Classic Peace Sign
    Yes, we already have this one here in the States—the classic V-sign for "peace" or "victory". The popularity of the gesture, however, seems to have emerged from a strange confluence of pop culture phenomena including an American figure skater Janet Lynn, a Japanese comic, and a television ad for a camera.
    Illustration by Rachel Tepper Paley
  • 2 / 7
    Pistol
    Pistol
    Some sources point to Japanese teen model Manami Enosawa as the instigator of the pistol pose. It’s apparently inspired by anime tropes—the pistol suggests that a character is plotting something malicious—but generally, it’s meant to appear cute.
    Illustration by Rachel Tepper Paley
  • 3 / 7
    Toothache
    Toothache
    This pose may have begun as a way for magazine photographers to showcase their models’ fingernail designs. Over time it trickled down to selfie culture, and now many young girls imitate the gesture, called mushiba no poozuwhich in Japanese literally means "cavity pose."
    Illustration by Rachel Tepper Paley
  • 4 / 7
    Heart
    Heart
    Korean celebrities are often photographed making this gesture, in which a crossed thumb and forefinger make the shape of a heart. It’s often used to express love or appreciation, making it the perfect sign for celebrities to flash at fans.
    Illustration by Rachel Tepper Paley
  • 5 / 7
    Two Fingers Up
    Two Fingers Up
    It’s unclear where this pose began, but it’s a popular one in China. It may be a derivative of the classic peace sign, or perhaps adapted from a military salute.
    Illustration by Rachel Tepper Paley
  • 6 / 7
    Circle
    Circle
    This sign is meant to form the word “OK,” with the thumb and forefinger forming an “O” (often around the eye) and the other fingers forming a “K”. Definitely meant to look whimsical and breezy, we think this gesture is more than just OK!
    Illustration by Rachel Tepper Paley
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    What's Next. . .
    What's Next. . .
    Illustration by A. Salamandra