hand signal cover

If we had a 100 yen for every action movie that showed scenes of SWAT teams sneaking around waving hand signals at each other, we’d probably have, um, a lot of yen. At least enough to buy a Happy Meal or something. But have you ever looked closely at those hand signals? For most of us, they could be making it up on the spot and we’d probably never know! Fortunately, this is the Internet and everything you could ever want to learn about anything is probably available online.

And that includes hand signals! For a few years now, charts explaining the hand signals that sneaky tactical groups use to communicate silently have floated around on the web, though their explanations have always been a bit…straightforward. “Stop.” “Look over there.” “Holy crap, they’re shooting at us!” All pretty standard fare, we suppose. But standard fare is never good enough for the Internet, and thus “Hand signals commonly used by mothers with babies” was born!

That’s right, once the hand signal charts arrived in Japan, Internet users lept at the chance to show off their funny skills. Like the bizarre penguin meme from last December, the hand signal charts provided the graphics while netizens provided the text. Currently, the most popular spin on the SWAT hand signal charts comes in the form of a tweet by working mother @Tomoko522. We’ve provided a translated version of the tweeted image below!

▼We regret to inform you that your mother is not, in fact, a gachapon machine.


Of course mothers aren’t the only ones using hand signals! Here’s a Hokkaido version of the chart produced by a northern resident of Japan, probably wondering when it will finally be colder inside the freezer than outside!



Some of these might require a bit of explanation. Obviously, Hokkaido is well known for it’s great snowfall, but it’s also home to some of the most difficult to read place names in Japan. And combining the large population of Ainu people with the remoteness of the prefecture, the Hokkaido dialect is known for its uniqueness. For example, “shitakkene” is the Hokkaido way of saying “sore deha mata ne” or “See you later.” Another peculiarity of Hokkaido speech is “gomi nagetoite,” which means “to throw away garbage.” In standard Japanese though, people would usually use “suteru” instead of “nageru,” which literally means “to throw.”

Finally, yes, Hokkaido has its very own bear park! And it’s exactly what it sounds like–a park full of bears. Okay, maybe “a farm full of bears” would be a closer translation, since it’s technically a bokujo, or “farm,” but that just makes us think of bears in overalls. If you happen to find yourself in the northern land and want to see some of the prefecture’s furriest residents, be sure to check out Kuma Bokujou!

Now we’re wondering what a RocketNew24 chart would include. Hmm….

▼Yep. That looks about right!

TR Hokkaido hand signals

So, now that we all know what these hand signals mean, action movies will definitely be a lot easier to understand! Or, at the very least, a lot more interesting.

Sources/images: Twitter, Otakuma, Kinisoku