In Koi wa Ameagari no You ni EP08, a guy in a conversation is trying to reference a girl, and says "前はよく一緒にいたろう。ツリ目の" (You were with them often before. The one with the slant-eyes), further making a gesture.

image of the line being spoken

In America, many might find this highly offensive. But nothing seems off in the anime. Just two regular high-schoolers talking to each other. So are native Japanese just completely fine with the term/gesture? Or have things changed since the anime?

  • Do you mean doing the gesture itself is offensive in the US? At least in the picture, it is not really from the doer to the one in front of him.
    – sundowner
    Feb 27 at 3:48
  • 1
    Oh, so this gesture is related to racial stereotyping of Asians in Western cultures? I didn't even know that. Most Japanese people don't even understand why it has anything to do with race. They generally know that Asians are shorter and have flatter noses than Westerners, but they have no awareness of the angle of the eyes. Depending on the context, ツリ目 is often associated with anger, though.
    – naruto
    Feb 27 at 9:34
  • 2
    In England it is also deemed offensive to make this gesture as it is presumed to be ridiculing Asians (mainly Chinese, because the Japanese population is fairly small in the UK). Likewise, the practice of imitating "head shaking" to ridicule Indians. This was still present in English popular culture up until the late 1980s, when there was a shift away from this kind of casual racism to a more "politically correct" sentiment. As someone from England, I should add that I find the fact that this stereotyping persisted for so long quite deplorable. Feb 28 at 21:51

2 Answers 2


Basically we hardly ever encounter any non-Japanese who are trying to mock Asian facial features, so we don’t know it’s offensive (at least I didn’t).

The other direction is also true, however. Japanese public for the most part didn’t know blackface is offensive, or fixing a big nose to their face to represent a “westerner”.


つり目 is just a description of eye shape and generally there's nothing offensive though it is usually not considered positive either.

Here it is used just to refer to the person with that particular eye shape - so nothing offensive. If a naughty kid makes this gesture referring to an angry mother, it may be offensive to the mother (but the kid will do this to describe the mother, not towards the mother). Either way, as far as I can think of, the gesture is not meant for the interlocutor, so any offense is unlikely.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .