Monday, May 10, 2021

Corna, コルナ (Horns Hand Gesture)

In Italian, the "corna," in Japanese katakanized koruna コルナ, meaning "horns," tsuno, is a hand sign done by bending the middle and ring finger, and extending the little and index finger, so that they look like two horns. It's also known as sign of the horns.

This gesture is associated with the devil, with evil, and the phrase "rock on" in music. In Japanese culture, and even in anime culture, it has extra meanings.

Shinra Kusakabe 森羅日下部 doing a "corna" hand sign, koruna コルナ.
Character: Shinra Kusakabe 森羅日下部
Anime: En'en no Shouboutai 炎炎ノ消防隊 (Episode 18)
  • Context: Shinra awakens.
  • \m/(`Д´)\m/
  • rokku-n-rooru!!
    Rock 'n' roll!!

Not to be confused with korona コロナ, which refers to the Coronavirus or Crona from Soul Eater.


The corna sign looks similar to several other hand signs with different meanings.

Karana Mudrā

In Buddhism, hand signs have meanings associated with them. The corna, ironically, is called karana mudrā カラナムードラ, and is supposed to ward off evil. It's also known by other names.

In Sanskrit, “wrathful” or “threatening gesture.” The tarjanīmudrā may be formed in several ways: with the index finger raised like a hook from the loosely closed fist of either hand, or with index and pinky fingers extended and remaining fingers closed lightly in a fist.(, emphasis mine.)

A seated Buddha making a karana mudrā hand gesture.

Rumic Sign

In anime, sometimes characters make a pose including hand gestures like the corna in reaction to something surprising, or when they're hurt in an attack.

Maaka Karin 真紅果林 doing a Rumic sign in surprised reaction.
Character: Maaka Karin 真紅果林
Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 3)

This is called a "rumic sign," ruumikku sain るーみっくサイン, in reference to its creator: Takahashi Rumiko 高橋留美子.

Takahashi Rumiko 高橋留美子 doing a hand sign similar to the corna that she uses in series that she has drawn, like Urusei Yatsura うる星やつら and Ranma ½ らんま½.
Person: Takahashi Rumiko 高橋留美子
Source: 永井豪の描く女の子のボディラインにハッとした -, accessed 2021-05-03.

ILY Sign

The corna is sometimes mistaken for the ILY sign, which means "I love you" instead in American Sign Language.

Kikuchi Makoto 菊地真 doing a pose with a double "corna" sign, koruna コルナ.
Character: Kikuchi Makoto 菊地真
Anime: The iDOLM@STER, アイドルマスター (Episode 15, Stitch)
  • Context: a double ILY sign.
  • kawaiku kaizou saretai!
    [I] want to be modified cutely. (literally.)
    • In the sense of being transformed into a more cuter version of oneself.

The ILY sign always has the thumb perpendicular to the index, forming the L of ILY.

An explanation for the hand ILY sign.
Source: Johannes Kalliauer, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The corna typically has the thumb holding the middle and ring fingers, but since the meaning of corna is to make horns, the exact position of the thumb doesn't seem to matter very much, and some ILY signs end up being actually corna signs.

Well, it's not like the character means anything by the sign either way. Generally they're just striking a cool pose and making random hand gestures instead of the typical peace sign.

Noel ノエル striking a pose with a double corna sign コルナ.
Character: Noel ノエル
Anime: Sora no Method, 天体のメソッド (Episode 1)
  • Context: is this girl lovely or does she worship the devil?
Character: Grell Sutcliff, グレル・サトクリフ
Anime: Black Butler, Kuroshitsuji 黒執事 (Episode 11)

Fox Sign

A "fox sign," or kitsune sain キツネサイン, is a sign done similar to the corna, but by pushing the ring and middle fingers forward, with the thumb underneath them, forming the muzzle of a fox.

Howan ほわん doing a double "fox sign," kitsune sain キツネサイン.
Character: Howan ほわん
Anime: SHOW BY ROCK!! Mashumairesh!!, ましゅまいれっしゅ!! (Episode 1)
  • Context: a fox girl with fox ears making fox signs.


Poses & Gestures

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  1. In Italy it's also a widespread gesture used to ward off bad luck. Check out former Italian President Giovanni Leone (1971-1978) here: