I've often seen a symbol that is used in context of smiling or happy expressions. It is sort of a circle with three lines above it.

Can anyone tell me what it's called and where it comes from?

Example from オトメの帝国

enter image description here

Other examples from the same manga:
example 1, example 2.

I may be wrong in thinking that it has to do with smiles, but I do think it has something to do with faces.

  • 1
    Could it actually be う with a 濁点? o,o
    – kuchitsu
    Apr 8, 2016 at 16:27
  • @kuchitsu No, I don't think so. I have looked at other examples and it really is a circle, not a scribbled う.
    – NounVerber
    Apr 8, 2016 at 21:02
  • Despite having read a fair share of manga I've never come across this symbol before. Could it be a face? That "ほええええ" sounds more like an astonished scream than an expression of happiness though.
    – goldbrick
    Apr 8, 2016 at 22:35
  • 3
    – chocolate
    Apr 9, 2016 at 14:12
  • 1
    Looks like a paw Apr 10, 2016 at 3:49

4 Answers 4


Just an impression: If your illustrator/author made-up this symbol, it looks to me like it expresses surprise as in, "Oh!" in context with the character's emotions. It may be more an expression of feeling than saying, (or having the character say) "Oh!" in surprise.


I don't believe it has a name, but it is basically a representation of a face + triple "! rays". Take a look at the top left panel of your example 2 - there the rays are radiating from an actual face.


The symbol in the words is just like adding some expression like a surprised or startled expression. (^^)


Googling it mentioned that Card Capture Sakura's creators Clamp used to use this ほえええ a lot when one of their cute girls (or other thing) would be pleasantly surprised or was being especially cute. It was very cute when she would do it. Brings backs memories. It was fairly popular back then so perhaps it endured.

  • 2
    The symbol doesn't really have to do with the "ほえええ", it's being used with other exclamations, too.
    – NounVerber
    Apr 8, 2016 at 22:51
  • 2
    -1 This does not answer the question May 9, 2016 at 10:51
  • Otherwise CCS is getting a sequel. Time to bring back memories. May 9, 2016 at 10:53

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