Kids find all kinds of ways to playfully bully each other that adults might shake their heads at. In the West, this might manifest as little mean-spirited pranks like nipple twisters, convincing a kid to eat a whole tube of toothpaste, or to run up and touch the creepy cat lady’s house in the middle of the night.

But Japanese kids tend to take a more sexually charged approach. We’ve already talked about the intricacies of the infamous kancho – that mighty, two-handed violation of someone’s hind quarters that happens to every westerner at least once and lingers in their psyche for decades, yet the Japanese shrug it off as just another schoolhouse (or workplace) prank.

But one you may not have heard about is the long-standing tradition of the “Denki Anma.”

Essentially, it amounts to grabbing a prone and unwilling participant by both legs and grinding your foot into their crotch in such a way that shouldn’t hurt but certainly doesn’t feel pleasant.

The phrase is written 電気あんま in Japanese, and literally means “electric massage.” Anma massage, which was closely linked to traditional Chinese medicine, was practiced centuries ago in Japan and is that which today’s (also Japanese) shiatsu massage evolved from, though quite why someone decided that grinding their heel into someone’s love eggs could be considered a “massage,” we’re not sure.

As one might imagine, the denki anma occurs primarily in young male circles, but girl-on-guy, girl-on-girl and guy-on-girl denki anma can and do happen.

While the denki anma has been around for at least a few generations now, there are still elderly Japanese people who have thankfully never experienced or heard of it. It’s said the practice came about at around the same time pro wrestling became popular, explaining why this particular form of torture/mischief is so widespread among young boys.

Still, while it’s an accepted form of play in Japan, westerners that find themselves the target of denki anma can often find it humiliating and somewhat painful, especially for guys, whose dangly bits are extremely sensitive and filled with nerves that connect to such seemingly unrelated areas as the stomach – hence my immediate feeling of needing to hurl when my ex-girlfriend decided to try it out on me one night.

Feature photo: Wikipedia