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 '16 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 '16 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 '16 at 22:35
  • 3
    びっくりマークに縦棒を1~2本足したら可愛いので、そういうふうに書いたりすることがありますが・・・ – Chocolate Apr 9 '16 at 14:12
  • 1
    Looks like a paw – Amani Kilumanga Apr 10 '16 at 3:49

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.


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.


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 '16 at 22:51
  • 2
    -1 This does not answer the question – 永劫回帰 May 9 '16 at 10:51
  • Otherwise CCS is getting a sequel. Time to bring back memories. – 永劫回帰 May 9 '16 at 10:53

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