Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Fox Sign (Hand Gesture, Kitsune Sign, キツネサイン)

In Japan, a hand gesture with index and little finger raised, and ring and middle finger bent, pushed forward together with the thumb, is a "fox sign," kitsune sain キツネサイン, as it imitates a "fox," kitsune 狐. It's also known by the katakanization fokkusu sain フォックスサイン.

Ichinose Hana 一之瀬花名 making a fox sign.
Character: Ichinose Hana 一之瀬花名
Anime: Slow Start (Episode 7)



The fox sign is often used like a sock puppet, except without the sock, so a (literal) hand puppet, I guess. This hand shape is also used to make the image of a fox in shadow puppetry.

コンコン カブー キャー
Manga: Tomo-chan wa Onnanoko! トモちゃんは女の子! (Chapter 42, Volume 7, Page 11, 強気の交渉)
  • Context: Carol Olston キャロル・オルストン plays with Aizawa Tomo 相沢智.
  • konkon
    *the sound foxes make*
  • gabuu
    *sound effect for biting*
  • kyaa


One can move the ring and middle finger away from the thumb to "open" the fox's mouth, making the hand puppet talk.

Character: Nancy Lee ナンシー・リー
Anime: Ninja Slayer From Animation, ンジャスレイヤー フロムアニメイシヨン (Episode 22)
  • Context: Nancy Lee makes the fox hand puppet talk together with her as she says she has copied data.
Character: Ichinose Hana 一之瀬花名
Anime: Slow Start (Episode 7)
  • Context: a fox sign being used to imitate a dog.
    • What sort of blasphemy is this?
  • wan


Sometimes, someone makes two fox signs, one with each hand, and makes them kiss each other by touching noses

Character: Yuuta 由詩
Anime: ZOMBIE-LOAN, ゾンビローン (Episode 3)
  • Context: afterwards, Yuuta uses ventriloquism to make one fox complain about the other fox kissing it.
  • chuu
    *sound effect for kiss.*
Hatadaira Tsunekichi 葉多平ツネキチ making a hand gesture with two fox signs kissing.
Character: Hatadaira Tsunekichi 葉多平ツネキチ
Anime: Munou na Nana 無能なナナ (Episode 5)
  • Context: Tsunekichi makes two foxes kiss as he says that he doesn't have a girlfriend.

Japanese Sign Language

In Japanese "Sign Language," (JSL), shuwa 手話, the fox sign means the syllable ki き.(nhk.or.jp)

See also: kana 仮名.


In JSL, making a gesture with two fox signs touching noses means the word "kiss."


Sometimes, a fox sign is used to greet or say goodbye, just like other hand gestures, such as opening your hand to say hello, or waving it to say bye.

Shimizu Raimei 清水雷鳴 and Rokujou Miharu 六条壬晴 say goodbye to each other by making fox hand signs.
Left: Rokujou Miharu 六条壬晴
Right: Shimizu Raimei 清水雷鳴
Anime: Nabari no Ou 隠の王 (Episode 12)
  • Context: Miharu and Raimei make fox signs to each other as they say goodbye.


In some cases, the sign doesn't mean anything, and it's just someone fooling around, or making a cute pose with random hand gestures like a peace sign.

Minakami Mai 水上麻衣 making a fox sign as Aioi Yuuko 相生祐子 watches.
Left: Aioi Yuuko 相生祐子
Right: Minakami Mai 水上麻衣
Anime: Nichijou 日常 (Episode 17)
  • Context: Mai raises her hand in class to tell the teacher she wants to read a passage of a book, except she makes a fox sign for no reason.

Because Fox

Sometimes, a fox sign is done by a fox girl with fox ears and fox tail because they're a fox, and that's about it.

Lico, リコ, a fox girl, doing fox signs.
Middle: Shirasawa-Tenchou 白澤店長
Right: Lico, リコ
Anime: Machikado Mazoku: 2-choume まちカドまぞく 2丁目 (Season 2) (Episode 4)

vs. Schweigefuchs

In German, the schweigefuchs, literally "silent fox," is a hand sign used to tell children in kindergarten to be quiet.(english.best) It's also called leisefuchs, "quiet fox."(de.wikipedia.org) This sign looks just like that Japanese kitsune sign, however it doesn't seem to carry the same connotations: one doesn't use the kitsune sign in Japanese to tell someone to close their mouths the way they do in German.


The fox sign is easily mistaken with the corna コルナ, which is that sign associated with rock 'n' roll. The corna typically presses the ring and middle finger against the palm with the thumb, while the fox sign places the thumb underneath pushing the fingers forward to make the fox's muzzle.

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: these are horns, not foxes.
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, not corna signs.


Poses & Gestures

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