Tuesday, December 31, 2019

tehepero てへぺろ

In anime, sometimes a character knocks on their head, giggles a tee hee, winks, and puts their tongue out, or a variation of the sort, to say "oops" when they make a mistake, or to pose cutely for the camera, perhaps doing a peace sign. This is called a tehepero てへぺろ (or "teehee pero" in English), also spelled テヘペロ, or with a star てへぺろ☆.

Examples of tehepero テヘペロ.
Anime: Shadows House, シャドーハウス (Season 2)
Anime: Hisone to Maso-tan ひそねとまそたん
Anime: Machikado Mazoku まちカドまぞく
Anime: Hyouka 氷菓
Anime: K-On!, Keion! けいおん!
Anime: Hataage! Kemono Michi 旗揚!!けものみち
Anime: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト
Anime: Zombieland Saga, ゾンビランドサガ
Anime: Blend S, ブレンド・S

What's The Meaning of Tehepero in Japanese?

Literally, tehe テヘ means "tee hee," the giggle, and pero ペロ means either *lick* (phenomime) or "tongue."

  • peropero
    *lick lick.* *licking.*
  • pero wo dasu
    To put [your] tongue out.

In other words, the term is literally what is: a tee hee and sticking your tongue out. Even though, sometimes, the pose doesn't even include sticking your tongue out.

How Tehepero is Used?

The tehepero is used mostly by cute girls in anime, because it doesn't matter how bad you mess up, so long as you're cute, it will all be forgiven.

  • Oopsie, I'm a dummy, pls forgib.

Besides being used after doing something wrong, or a mischief, cute girls also strike this pose when taking photos.

In some cases, guys do the pose too, but it often doesn't yield the same results.

The siblings Hikigaya Komachi  比企谷小町 and Hikigaya Hachiman 比企谷八幡 striking a tehe pero てへぺろ pose.
Top: Hikigaya Komachi 比企谷小町
Bottom: Hikigaya Hachiman 比企谷八幡
Anime: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。 (Episode 4)
  • Hachiman's sister was able to escape doing the tehe pero.
  • Hachiman himself, however, wasn't as successful.

A tehepero is often accompanied by a star coming out of the character's head as they strike the pose, either coming out of their eyes as they wink, or out of their hand as they hit their heads.

Flowey フラウィ, example of tehe pero てへぺろ☆, star coming out of wink.
Character: Flowey フラウィ
Game: Undertale (Part: before meeting Toriel)

In many examples of tehepero, the character puts their tongue out at the corner of the mouth, rather than at the middle.

This is called Peko-jita ペコ舌, literally "Peko tongue," because it parodies, or at least resembles, the well-known mascot character Peko-chan ペコちゃん, from Fujiya 不二家 co. ltd.

Peko-chan ペコちゃん, on a box of Milky ミルキー.
Character: Peko-chan ペコちゃん
Source: 7粒ミルキー - fujiya-peko.co.jp, accessed 2020-03-10

One example of parody:

Vignette ヴィネット striking a tehe pero てへぺろ pose
Character: Vignette ヴィネット
Character: Oreki Houtarou 折木奉太郎
Anime: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Episode 9)

Tehepero Examples


Examples with the character knocking on their head, implying they're a dummy, a big klutz.

Oreki Houtarou 折木奉太郎, example of tehepero てへぺろ.
Character: Oreki Houtarou 折木奉太郎
Anime: Hyouka 氷菓 (Episode 20)
Tatsumi Koutarou 巽幸太郎, example of tehepero てへぺろ.
Character: Tatsumi Koutarou 巽幸太郎
Anime: Zombieland Saga, ゾンビランドサガ (Episode 8)

Know With Wink

Lou, ルウ, example of tehepero テヘペロ.
Character: Lou, ルウ
Anime: Shadows House, シャドーハウス (Season 2) (Episode 3)
Mile マイル, Adele von Ascham アデル・フォン・アスカム, example of tehepero てへぺろ.
Character: Mile マイル
Anime: Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne! 私、能力は平均値でって言ったよね! (Episode 4)
Random fairy, example of tehepero てへぺろ.
Character: a random fairy
Anime: Ishuzoku Reviewers, 異種族レビュアーズ (Episode 2)
Veronica Vasilyevna Vonitsky ヴェロニカ・ワシーリエヴナ・ヴォイニーツカヤ, example of tehe pero てへぺろ.
Character: Veronica Vasilyevna Vonitsky ヴェロニカ・ワシーリエヴナ・ヴォイニーツカヤ
Anime: Onigiri 鬼斬 (Episode 4)

Hand Behind Head

Sometimes, the character places his hand behind his head instead.

Tatsumi Koutarou 巽幸太郎 striking a tehe pero てへぺろ pose.
Character: Tatsumi Koutarou 巽幸太郎
Anime: Zombieland Saga, ゾンビランドサガ (Episode 5)
Manako マナコ, striking a tehe pero てへぺろ pose in front of the mirror.
Character: Manako マナコ
Anime: Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou: Hobo Mainichi ____! Namappoi Douga, 「モンスター娘のいる日常」ほぼ毎日○○!生っぽい動画 (ONA)


Other examples:

Lilith リリス striking a  tehe pero てへぺろ pose.
Character: Lilith リリス
Anime: Machikado Mazoku まちカドまぞく (Episode 8)
Kaizaki Nao 貝崎名緒, example of tehepero てへぺろ.
Character: Sexy Jaguar, セクシージャガー (Kaizaki Nao 貝崎名緒)
Anime: Hisone to Maso-tan ひそねとまそたん (Episode 4)
Vanstein Carmilla ヴァンシュタイン・カーミラ, example of tehepero てへぺろ.
Character: Vanstein Carmilla ヴァンシュタイン・カーミラ
Anime: Hataage! Kemono Michi 旗揚!!けものみち (Episode 3)
Kanzaki Hideri 神崎ひでり, example of tehe pero てへぺろ.
Character: Kanzaki Hideri 神崎ひでり
Anime: Blend S, ブレンド・S (Episode 8)
Yachiyo Mei 八千代命, example of tehepero てへぺろ.
Character: Yachiyo Mei 八千代命
Anime: Release the Spyce (Episode 1)
Dali ダリ, example of tehepero てへぺろ.
Character: Dali ダリ
Anime: Mairimashita! Iruma-kun 魔入りました!入間くん (Episode 20)
Kumoko 蜘蛛子 doing a tehepero てへぺろ.
Character: Kumoko 蜘蛛子
Anime: Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka? 蜘蛛ですが、なにか? (Episode 13)
Character: Grell Sutcliff, グレル・サトクリフ
Anime: Black Butler, Kuroshitsuji 黒執事 (Episode 11)

Tehepero Kaomoji

As kaomoji 顔文字:

  • てへぺろ(・ω<)
  • てへぺろ☆(・ω<)

Origin of Tehepero

It isn't very clear who started the tehe pero pose.

The phrase "tehe pero" was used as a gag by the actress Hikasa Youko 日笠陽子, its first usage being in the 7th episode of the radio program Odoroki Sentai Momonoki Five おどろき戦隊モモノキファイブ , which was broadcast in 2009-05-21.(dic.nicovideo.jp:てへぺろ☆)

Naturally, since it started in a radio program, you couldn't actually see what the pose looked like. Hence why the name of the pose is literally "teehee lick." The actress literally said tehepero out loud in the episode. Only later would people see what it actually looked like.

女子中高生の流行語てへぺろ おはようございます声優の日笠陽子です! 声優日笠陽子さん 「てへ」と「ぺろ」を合わせて「てへぺろ」というのを自分の中で言葉を作って ラジオで初めて使ったのをきっかけに声優仲間の皆が使い始めて そこから一般の方に広まるとは想像していなかった てへぺろ!!
TV Program: Hanamaru Market はなまるマーケット
  • joshi chuukousei no ryuukougo tehepero
    A slang [among] middle and high school girls: tehepero.
  • ohayou gozaimasu seiyuu no Hisaka Youko desu!
    Good morning, [I] am the voice actress Hisaka Youko.
  • Seiyuu Hisaka Youko-san
    Voice actress Hisaka Youko-san.
  • {"tehe" to "pero" wo awasete "tehepero" toiu} no wo jibun no naka de kotoba wo tsukutte
    [I] made up in my mind a word {combining "tehe" and "pero" into "tehepero"}.
  • {rajio de hajimete tsukatta} no wo kikkake ni seiyuu nakama no minna ga tsukai-hajimete
    After {[I] used [it] for the first time in the radio}, the [other] voice actresses started using [it].
  • {soko kara ippan no kata ni hiromaru} towa souzou shite-inakatta
    [I] hadn't imagined that {from there, [it] would spread to normal people}.
    • ippanjin
      General populace. Common person. Especially someone unrelated to specific situation.
    • kata

      Person. (polite.)
  • tehepero!!
    • Reminder: 2D > 3D.

She voiced Akiyama Mio 秋山澪 in the anime K-On! (2009).

And the anime did feature the pose, which probably helped it become a trope in anime.

Hirasawa Yui 平沢唯 and Yamanaka Sawako 山中さわ子 striking a tehe pero てへぺろ pose.
Left: Hirasawa Yui 平沢唯
Right: Yamanaka Sawako 山中さわ子
Anime: K-On!, Keion! けいおん! (Episode 5)

However, there are instances of tehe pero dating before 2009, so while she may have named the pose, she didn't create it.

For example, a tehe pero is featured in the 3rd episode of the anime Karin かりん, first broadcast in 2005-11-18, four years before the above mentioned radio program.

Character: Usui Fumio 雨水文緒
Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 3)
  • Context: Fumio was out looking for a job. Upon arriving home, her son asks her:
  • dou datta?
    [How was it]?
    [How did it go]?
  • zenbu dame deshita, tehe
    全部ダメでした てへ
    [It] was no good, teehee.
    • None of them were good, none of them worked.
  • She says this knocking on her head, and putting her tongue out.


Faces & Expressions Poses & Gestures


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  1. I think it's also worth noting that sometimes the art style changes to a parody of the Milky candy mascot Peko-chan when they do this. Like in the example of Gabriel Drop-Out and K-On! (unless... i'm mistaken?)

    1. That's a good idea. I've added that information to the article.