= Yakusoku ne! Yubikiri shiyo!
= Let’s make a promise with pinkie?
= Hari senbon kaa…
=Um…(if I break my promise, I need to swallow) one thousand needles, huh?
Today’s word is 指切り = yubikiri
指= yubi = fingers
切り = kiri = cutting
Yes, it’s about cutting fingers. Are you scared? I am!
The verb form is
= yubikiri suru
= yubikiri wo suru
It is a gesture to make a promise or to swear to keep one’s words by interlocking one’s pinkies.
You might have seen some Japanese kids stick out their pinkie saying,
= Yakusoku dayo!
It is mainly for children but sometimes even grownups (usually women) say this when they want other people to make a promise,
= Jaa yubikiri shiyou! ? /Yubikirine!
OK, then let’s make a promise and swear with pinkies.
We hook pinkie with each other like this
and sing this “oath” ,
= Yubikiri genman uso tsuitara hari senbon nomasu.
= Yubikiri genman ( = Cutting fingers- punching with fists 10,000 times), if you lie, I will make you swallow (drink) one thousand needles.
•拳 = gen = it is read as “kobushi “= fist (supposedly to hit someone with one’s fist)
•万 = man = 10,000
•嘘ついたら = uso tsuitara = (conditional) If you lie
•針 = hari = needles
•千本 = senbon = 1,000 pieces (of needles)
We count sticks or long items with 本 ( = hon/bon/pon)
( Go check my counter lesson)
•吞ます(or 飲ます）= nomasu = to make someone drink/swallow
Sometimes it follows with a line,
= Yubi kitta
= Have cut a finger!
So you will see how dangerous it will be if you lie. You have to swallow a thousand needles or you will get ten thousands fist punches. Oh my…
!kirakira! Cultural Note : This is a traditional children song that everybody in Japan knows.
But it is said that the origin of 指切り ( = yubikiri) goes back to 江戸時代 ( = Edo jidai), Edo Period.
Some 遊女( = yuujo) prostitutes in 遊郭 ( = yuukaku) the red-light district cut off the tip of their pinkie and gave it away to their important customer to show their loyalty and love.
(Some says they actually faked it buying a pinkie of cadaver and gave it to their customer.)
I am so happy that I don’t have a pinkie…
So, when children swear something with their friends or parents, they do 指切り ( = yubikiri)
= Maggie chan watashitachi wa zutto otomodachi dayo.
= Maggie, we are going to be friends forever!
= Un jaa yakusoku!
= Yes, then let’s make a promise.
And hook our pinkies, and while shaking the interlocked pinkies up and down, we sing
= Yubikiri genman, uso tsuitara….
Now “promise” in Japanese is
約束 = yakusoku
verb form is
to make a promise
= yakusoku suru
= yakusoku wo suru
= Otōsan doushite yūenchi ni tsurete itte kurenai no? Yakusoku shitajanai!
= Dad, how come you don’t take me to the amusement park? We promised!
to keep one’s word, to keep one’s promise
= yakusoku wo mamoru
The negative form is
= Yakusoku wo mamoranai
= Kare wa itsumo yakusoku wo mamoranai.
= He always fails to keep his promise.
to break one’s promise is
= yakusoku wo yaburu
!kirakira! Note : 約束 ( = yakusoku) also has a meaning of engagement, plans, appointment or a date with someone
= Kyō wa tomodachi to ranchi no yakusoku ga aru.
= I have a lunch date with my friend.
= Rokuji ni chotto yakusoku ga arukara mou ikanaito.
= I have some plans at 6 o’clock so I gotta go.
If you have an appointment for a beauty salon, dentist, doctor, etc, we call it 予約 = yoyaku = reservation
= Minna mainichi kono burogu ni kite ne. Yakusoku dayo!
= Come to this blog every day! We promise, OK?