Japanese pranks

I’ve learned a lot of useful things from the people I work with so far this year.

Thanks to their insights, I have learned how versatile rice cookers are (one pot meals, yo!), the history of cutting eels in different regions (don’t cut the belly in Tokyo!) and how best to deal with mukade, should the devils decide to enter my apartment. Thankfully, I haven’t had to use that information just yet.


Some of my favourite things that I have learned, however, are Japanese pranks! I haven’t been subject to any of these myself, just yet.. but learning about them is great fun!




Kancho (かんちょ)

I think most non-Japanese know what a ‘kancho’, and pretty much all incoming ALTs fear it happening at least once during their tenure as a Japanese school employee..

Basically, a ‘kancho’ is the activity of putting both hands together, index fingers pointing out nice, strong and long.. and then BAM! Jamming it right up someone’s butthole. Or at least, trying to. Usually resulting in loud shrieks, doubling over or leaping into the air, and great buttpain.

I think this is most popular with young kids, and it definitely isn’t exclusive to one particular gender. It can be a little disconcerting for foreigners, but it definitely has no sexual implications or undertones – so as humiliating as it is, it’s all done in good humour among kids.

And yes – if you type in ‘butt’ into LINE, there is a kancho sticker.


Hizakakkun (膝かっくん)

‘Hizakakkun’ is by far one of my favourite pranks that I have learned so far being here. Basically, to perform this prank you sneak up behind someone standing and use your knees to bend and slam into the backs of their knees, causing them to bend, lose balance and fall down.

‘Hiza’ (膝 ) is knee, and kakkun (かっくん)is onomatopoeia for the apparent noise of falling down.. imagine a dramatic KAKKUUUUUN! as they tumble to the ground.

This one was great to learn about – plenty of demonstrations were shown to me and I even got to try it on someone.. ((*>3<*)) ごめん、ね~~



Kabedon (かべドン)

I’m not sure if ‘kabedon’ is so much of a prank as something which young people do and teenage girls fantasize about, but it definitely has been mocked with great humour in Japanese pop culture.

‘Kabe’ (壁)is wall, and don (ドン)is again another onomatopoeia for a slamming noise.. literally meaning WALL SLAM! But a kabedon is not aggressive in a physically violent way..

It’s a physically violent display of COOL ROMANCE! Kabedons are usually when a boy slams his arm against a wall, blocking the quick escape of a shy girl with his arm, leaning in to display his cool charm and if she’s lucky.. tilt her head upwards ever so slightly so he can look deep into her soul..

At least, so I was taught – and thus teenage girls dream of the coolest boy in class kabedonning his way into her soul.

Conversely, I found the most hilarious kabedon book, where a manga artist illustrated hilariously dramatic kabedon scenarios gone wrong. I need to find this book again so I can review it…



This post was originally written in March but was accidentally archived – here it is restored in it’s full glory!


5 thoughts on “Japanese pranks

    • rebelriotori says:

      膝かっくん is hilarious and dramatic! I love my teachers, they have such wonderful insights they are eager to share!

      I haven’t been on the receiving end of a kancho but luckily my students seem too polite for that! Ψ( ̄∇ ̄)Ψ


  1. Tri Huynh says:

    I saw Kancho in anime and manga but I didnt know it’s actually something people do in real life! What a pain in the butt. I wonder if it’s also the origin of that phrase. We dont have those type of pranks in the West so we cant possibly know what it feels like. Hizakakkun and Kabedon are also hilarious! We have sort of Hizakakkun here but it’s just to startle people, not to make them falling down. Japanese people sure know how to take it to the next step. Kabedon does sound like a scene from a cheesy anime. Pleasant read. I love how you broke up the words and explained their meaning. I learned new words today: Hiza, kakkun, kobe, don, also onomatopoia. p/s: the last two pictures didnt load for me.


  2. rebelriotori says:

    Yes! I wonder if that is where the phrase originates from.. It’s such a strange prank, I hope to never be subject to one!
    That sounds like a much less dramatic and dangerous hizakakkun! Does it have a similar impact if you just startle someone?

    Thanks for your comments – and for the image update! I will try and fix that today.


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