"Janken", also sometimes called "jankenpon", is the Japanese term for rock-paper-scissors.
Janken is used to resolve virtually all disputes among children in Japanese schools. The win-lose system is identical to the western system:
rock > scissors > paper > rock
Sometimes children will refer to each individual hand motion as follows:
- Rock = Guu
- Scissors = Choki
- Paper = Paa
How it's (usually) done:
- Players start by chanting together, "Saisho wa guu" (最初はぐう) (Starting with stone) and pump their fists in time.
- The players then quickly scream, "Janken pon!" (じゃん拳ぽん！). On "pon" both players show their opponent "Guu", "Choki" or "Paa" with their hand.
- If there is a draw, both players chant "Aiko desho!" (あいこでしょ！), and on the "sho!" both players show their hands again.
- Osaka janken:
- "Osaka janken, janken pon!" The loser is the winner...because Osaka has to be a rebel and do everything opposite of Tokyo.
- Guu-paa-choki, choki-paa-guu, hoi!
- Large groups will usually either compete against the leader/teacher, or compete in smaller pairs first.
- Another large-group variation is "Oooi na hou wa nukete ikou!" (Leave out the majority), in which everyone throws out rock/paper/scissors on "ikou" and the majority is "out". This is typically used when deciding who will be "It" when playing tag.