The common stereotype about women among sexually frustrated, mostly parents’ basement-dwelling, men is that girls only go for attractive, rich guys, and never the nice, tender guys with warm hearts and chic fedoras.

Well, when it comes to one of those observations, anyway, there appears to be at least one cultural precedent of a diabolical hidden message that seemingly proves the stereotype right in one of the very words that defines men and women’s relationship in Japan…

At this top of this page, you’ll see the the kanji character for husband (“otto”), which is commonly used to describe someone’s husband indirectly (women tend to directly refer to their husbands by pet names, the most common being, “anata,” which loosely translated means something like, “Hey, you over there.”). It’s a fairly simple character and one that Japanese learners meet not too far into their studies. So far, so unremarkable.

But let’s see what happens when we flip it upside-down:

▼ Hey, doesn’t that look a bit like…


▼ Well, this is awkward.


And, lest you think this is totally a coincidence that a vertically flipped “husband” should come out as the symbol for Japan’s currency, there’s actually a relatively common Japanese Internet joke that the perfect boyfriend or husband in Japan is…an ATM.

“Has money, never talks back, always on time, never forceful, doesn’t work on holidays, warm to the touch.”


So, the resemblance is a little eerie, to be sure, but there’s actually no deeper purpose here outside of a funny Internet meme, mostly because the Japanese don’t actually even use the yen symbol unless dealing with foreigners. They typically go for the native en (円) except maybe for when talking about international currency exchanges or something. History – insofar as I had time to Google – is pretty unclear about the¥symbol’s origins or whether it was devised by a Japanese or non-Japanese person.

The most commonly accepted theory, of course, is that it’s just a Y for “yen” with two lines through it – because that’s, like, just what you do with currency symbols – because in native Japanese it’s sometimes pronounced “en” and sometimes pronounced “yen” depending on the numbers that precede it, which was apparently terribly confusing to old-timey foreigners.

So, rest assured guys; this doesn’t mean Japanese women see yen signs whenever they look at men and probably aren’t waiting on proposals from ATMs.

Source: alfalfalfa
Feature image: Kanji Jiten