Peace sign=photo sign, since when?

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Peace sign=photo sign, since when?

Postby brianlkennedy » 20 Jun 2008, 07:04

Although this may have been discussed elsewhere and in earlier threads, I am seeking the most current scholarship on a deep and profound issue of Taiwanese culture, one which I am often asked by visiting scholars (really, no fooling).

The question is....why do the Taiwanese flash the peace sign whenever it is photo time? Now I realize asking "why" will get involved in either deep or mundane answers (e.g. "who knows what darkness lies in the hearts of men, whom can judge their motives or the reasons for their actions", or on the other extreme, "they do it because they see other people do it plus it is just a nervous habit").

Let me ask a related historical question; how long has the peace-photo sign been part of Taiwanese photo taking. One scholar asked me if the American soldiers during Vietnam had somehow introduced the peace sign into Taiwan and somehow it became equated with "being cool" and then somehow became the nervous habit of choice when having your pic taken.

Any insights are appreciated.
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Postby Huang Guang Chen » 20 Jun 2008, 08:17

Actually, I have seen a serious piece on this somewhere, sorry, can't recall where. It's not limited to Taiwan, but is broadly speaking an Asian phenomenon that pre-dates Vietnam. Possibly I saw it referenced to Japan.

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Postby StuartCa » 20 Jun 2008, 08:43

I heard that after ww2 an American pilot landed in Japan and made the peace sign, was photographed and the Japanese adopted it for all photos and then i guess because of the Taiwanese thinking that Japan is cool took it for their use as well.
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Postby Huang Guang Chen » 20 Jun 2008, 09:10

Could be, but not mentioned here. Wiki is your friend, or maybe not!

But I have pics of my father with a table full of drunken Chinese revellers all flashing a V sign made from chopsticks taken in Penang in the mid sixties. I thought this was a parody of the v sign from back then. I'd go with the explanation of one plus one equals two in the explanation below. Now if you mix that with StuartCa's pilot sign, it taps an exisiting trend in Japan.

East Asia and the V sign in Photographs
During the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, figure skater Janet Lynn stumbled into Japanese pop culture when she fell during a free-skate period—but continued to smile even as she sat on the ice. Though she placed only third in the actual competition, her cheerful diligence and indefatigability resonated with many Japanese viewers, making her an overnight celebrity in Japan. Afterwards, Lynn (a peace activist) was repeatedly seen flashing the V sign in the Japanese media. Though the V sign was known of in Japan prior to Lynn's use of it there (from the post-WWII Allied occupation of Japan), she is credited by some Japanese for having popularized its use in amateur photographs.[21] According to the other theory (actually present in the Japanese version of this entry), the V sign was popularized by the actor and singer Jun Inoue, who showed it the Conica photo camera commercial in 1972.

Through the 1970s and 1980s in Japan, the V sign was often accompanied by a vocalization: "piisu!" This gairaigo exclamation, which stood for "peace", has since fallen into disuse, though the V sign itself remains steadfastly popular. It is especially popular in photography, as it is a favorite pose of both teens and adults - in Japan, China and elsewhere in Asia.[citation needed]

Another possible explanation for the popularity (and perhaps emergence) of the sign in Japan is that people (usually children) are asked to answer the question Ichi tasu ichi wa? (meaning "One plus one equals?") whose answer is ni ("two"). Being a Japanese equivalent of saying Cheese, the ee sound makes the photographed ones appear as smiling on the photos. Thus, besides saying "two", they are also giving the answer using two fingers.

The V sign is also commonly used in anime and Japanese live-action shows.[citation needed] When characters show this sign, it is often accompanied by an exclamation of "Vui!" (pronounced /vɯi/ or /bɯi/), an approximation of the English pronunciation "vee" which differentiates it from "bii", the Japanese name of the letter B (as many Japanese speakers hear the voiced labiodental fricative as being the same as the voiced bilabial plosive, see Engrish). A more common phrase is "kachi" which means victory (V for Victory) or luck. Several anime characters incorporate the V sign into their poses, including Ash Ketchum of Pokémon fame, both Sailor Moon and Sailor V, as well as video game characters such as Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Chun-Li, and Ling Xiaoyu from the Tekken series.[citation needed]

Due to Japanese cultural influences in the region[citation needed], the V sign in photographs has become popular with young people throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia.[citation needed]

In the Philippines, the popularity of the use of the "V" sign in photographs is mostly done as a mockery of its popularity and usage by their Asian neighbors (in particular, of characters in soap operas having their pictures taken). The "V" sign usually stands for "peace" in the Filipino context and is thus a cause for bewilderment and amusement when seen on Asian commercials, soap operas, and other media. When a person uses the "V" sign in the same manner as it is used in photographs by other Asian countries, it is mostly an attempt to be cute or funny in the photograph. When putting the "V" sign on top a person's head, it usually is done to comically "demonize" that person rather than just give that person Bunny ears.[citation needed]


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Postby brianlkennedy » 20 Jun 2008, 10:17

Super, thanks folks. I didn't know it was an Asian-wide deal, nor did I realize that what I thought was a local and recent habit had actually drawn the interest of scholars and Wiki-ites.

All the explanations are interesting.

take care,
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cool

Postby Battery9 » 20 Jun 2008, 12:23

so that one is explained...

now only the 'Happy sign under the chin'..the bulging 'I think I look cute when I puff up my cheeks' and the 'stick my finger into my cheek' needs to be explained....
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Postby Huang Guang Chen » 20 Jun 2008, 14:07

You mean the L shape under the chin? Wasn't that a James Bond thing, or at least the way a thousand creepy local male models interpreted a James Bond pose? Think the local version of Zoolander's Magnum.

Image

Exhibit A. The Bond pose.

Image

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Postby R. Daneel Olivaw » 25 Jun 2008, 09:55

I always took this to be the "V for Victory" (as opposed to Vendetta) sign rather than for peace. Which fits with its occurrence in anime as many of the more cheeky characters flash the sign after accomplishing something.

In photography I would say this translates into "Yeah!" rather than "Peace!".
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Re: Peace sign=photo sign, since when?

Postby BigJohn » 31 May 2011, 15:02

There was a hilarious video about how and why Asians posed for photos with cute V's and all that, posted quite recently,but I can't find it. Can anyone help?
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Re: Peace sign=photo sign, since when?

Postby antarcticbeech » 31 May 2011, 15:43

I did a quick search in Google Scholar and couldn't find much. Wikipedia says that
On January 14, 1941, Victor de Laveleye, former Belgian Minister of Justice and director of the Belgian French-speaking broadcasts on the BBC (1940–1944), suggested in a broadcast that Belgians use a V for victoire (French: “victory”) and vrijheid (Dutch: "freedom") as a rallying emblem during World War II. In the BBC broadcast, de Laveleye said that "the occupier, by seeing this sign, always the same, infinitely repeated, [would] understand that he is surrounded, encircled by an immense crowd of citizens eagerly awaiting his first moment of weakness, watching for his first failure." Indeed, within weeks chalked up Vs began appearing on walls throughout Belgium, the Netherlands, and northern France.[22]


But I also found this in Google books.

Image

:idunno:

It would be interesting to find out how it got into Asia - via American servicemen, probably. It would be cool to find some 'historically important' peace signs. :lol:
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