Play Jan-Ken-Pon, or Japanese Rock-Paper-Scissors

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Updated on Dec 18, 2012

Rock-paper-scissors is a well-known kid's game in the U.S., but did you know it's popular in Japan, too? To play in Japanese, all you have to do is say "jan-ken-pon" instead of "rock-paper-scissors." It's easy as pie to learn, and kids get to learn a little Japanese and work their hand muscles while they play.

What You Need:

  • 2 or more players

What You Do:

  1. To begin, all players must face each other and extend one closed fist toward the center of the group.
  2. In unison, all players pump their fists up and down three times and say "jan ken pon" as they do. On the third motion, players make one of the follwing hand gestures:
    • Rock: Hold out a closed fist
    • Paper: Hold out your hand flat
    • Scissors: Hold up your index and middle fingers like you're making the peace sign
  3. Each gesture is strong against one but weak against the other. For example, rock beats scissors (rocks break scissors), scissors beats paper (scissors cut paper), and paper beats rock (paper covers rock). Players compare gestures to see who wins.
  4. If it's a tie, all players pump their fists again and say, "Aikodesho!"