Have you ever seen in an anime or drama someone tell a nervous and anxious person to write the kanji of people (人) on their hands and then say to eat them? In Japan nervous children are taught to do this. In this article, we will understand the story behind this belief to swallow people by hand.
In Japan, students nervous about a performance are advised by friends to draw the kanji of people (人) 3 times on their palm. Drawing can be done mentally, people must pretend they are swallowing or eating drawing in hand.
Just swipe your finger in the kanji form of (人) three times and then place your hand in front of your mouth. This belief is used to relieve anxiety and nervousness. By doing this you are insinuating that the people drawn in your hand is the cause of your nervousness. By eating them you make them seem irrelevant and unworthy of your anxiety.
Anime like Shokugeki no Souma show a nervous Tadokoro doing the same thing:
Why write people and eat them?
The name of this popular belief is hito wo name (人を飲む) which translated is swallow people, but metaphorically means dominate someone. This movement is used to overwhelm the audience and calm down. It's like swallowing before being swallowed by nervousness and shyness. Perfect for those with stage fright and social anxiety disorder (grabbed – あがり症).
It is not known how this superstition. It was probably a mother who told her son to do this before a school performance. Until it finally became common for parents, teachers and peers to teach students who are very nervous about a speech, lecture or talent show at school.
Although kanji (人) is used in both the singular and plural, writing 3 times refers to a large crowd that is making you nervous. This is strange, since only 2 kanji in a row (人々) already means people or everyone. If you're embarrassed or anxious about just one person, just write once.
Does hand swallowing really work?
Does this attitude really help? It can help yes, since there are connections in our hands capable of controlling our feelings and anxiety. In addition, this attitude also works our mind in order to gain confidence and determination. A tension caused by fear, can easily end through this technique, if you believe!
This is what we call the Placebo effect. Many people were calm before performances using this method, which is why it became popular among young people in Japan. Some also claim that the 2 longest lines on our hands come together, thus automatically forming the kanji for hito (人).
Westerners have something similar, when they say “Imagine your audience naked!” for someone who is nervous. In Japan they also suggest imagining the audience, but like pumpkins or potatoes.
The Japanese also have other methods of dealing with stress. See the articles we recommend below:
- Japanese practices and techniques to relieve stress and relax
- Different types of onsen hot springs and their benefits
- Are the Japanese depressed? Is Japan an unhappy nation?
Have you seen this scene in any anime? What do you think about the matter? We appreciate the comments and shares.