Ash Ketchum sometimes does this:

Ash Ketchum / The only protagonist that would think it's cool to wipe snot off his face in the middle of an opening.

I'm sure this macro is simply ignorant of some Japanese body language he's using. Another example is here:

Ash Ketchum

I can't recall any other anime character who does this, though, so it may be more idiosyncratic than I realise. What, if anything, does it mean when a person does this?

  • This gesture (which is used by IRL Japanese people as well) is used to convey... nervousness, I want to say. This will probably receive better answers on Japanese Language, and I can migrate it there if you'd like.
    – senshin
    Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 0:33
  • @senshin Yes please, if you think they'd deem it appropriate.
    – J.G.
    Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 0:39
  • @senshin I have to disagree. There have been instances in other anime like the avatar or dragon ball where characters do the same action when they are excited, or arrogant etc.
    – Gary Andrews30
    Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 1:25
  • 1
    @l'électeur (Essentially all character names in Pokémon are changed in English, it turns out - カスミ → "Misty", タケシ → "Brock", オーキド博士 → "Professor Oak", ムサシとコジロウ → "Jessie and James", etc. This used to be fairly common when dubbing children's anime into English.)
    – senshin
    Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 5:22
  • 1
    @Chocolate 英語のポケモンの博士はみんな木の名前のパターンを使ったみたいだね。オーキド博士はOrchidではなく、Oakのほうになったそうです。ちなみに、マサラタウン(英語:Pallet Town)以外に町の名前は全部色の名前なんです。
    – psosuna
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 18:01

3 Answers 3


This gesture, typically seen in fiction such as anime, manga, rather old films or dramas, and typically done by young boys, indicates one's pride, confidence, and/or embarrassment.

In Japanese fictional works, you'd see characters, usually young boys, do this gesture when they feel proud or confident when someone has praised them or their achievement. This gesture is also seen when they feel embarrassed or bashful when someone has praised them for their achievement or thanked them for their kind deed, etc.

You won't see real people do this gesture in real life, though, at least in present-day Japan.

  • People also say... " 褒められたときなどに誇らしい感じを表すジェスチャーとして、 自慢げな笑顔で鼻(の下)を人差し指でこするようなしぐさがあります。... 漫画ではよく見るお決まりの表現" " 照れたときに ...たいがい、少年がやりますよね"(detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1137189001), "よく漫画やアニメ等の描写で、誰かに褒められたりしたときに照れて 、照れ隠しのようなかんじで鼻の下を人差し指でこすりながら「へへっ」ていう... " (detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1186325876), "よく漫画で、鼻を人差し指で擦りながら「へへっ」と照れる仕草を見掛けます。" (detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q10114142820) ... So I'm not the only one that feels this way.
    – chocolate
    Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 8:50
  • Any chance you could translate that?
    – J.G.
    Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 13:24
  • 2
    @J.G. "For some people, rubbing their index finger beneath their nose with a proud smile is a gesture that indicates pride, as when one has been praised" "When one is embarrassed... usually done by young boys" (link 1) "In manga/anime/etc, when someone is embarrassed from having been praised, they rub their index finger beneath their nose and chuckle to hide their embarrassment" (link 2) "In manga, one often sees characters rubbing their index fingers beneath their nose and chuckling when embarrassed" (link 3).
    – senshin
    Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 2:02

I'll introduce "人差し指で鼻の下を触るしぐさの心理学 Psychology of a gesture touching under the nose with the index finger" written here as the answer.
Since the original text is written in Japanese, I'll translate it into English for the sake of convenience.

People who touch or rub under the nose with the index finger are feeling some tension and stress, or even fear to let others know what they really think of.

Because the gesture means that they are trying to relieve the tension or stress that they feel.

Furthermore, by rubbing under the nose, concealing the mouth, they are unconsciously trying to keep their opponent from realizing their intention or feelings.

Even when you fail in something and become awkward, you would try to get a sense of security by touching under the nose.

And, even when you feel pleasant as if you're praised by someone and feel embarrassed, you may touch under the nose to hide your embarrassment.

Therefore, if your opponent begins to touch or rubs under the nose with the index finger, you're better to remember what the previous conversation was, and identify the opponent's psychological state.

If a man starts touching under the nose after being praised, you can judge that he is embarrassed.

Also, if your partner is often touching under the nose at going out on a first date, you can judge that the partner is distracting the tension or embarrassment.

Furthermore, if the person touches or rubs under the nose often during a conversation, you can judge that he/she wants to hide the intention or feelings of himself/herself because he/she has something that is hidden.

In this way, even if it is the same gesture, the meaning will differ depending on the situation, so I would be pleased if you understand the intention or the feelings of the person carefully expressed by the gesture.

By the way, since I remember that a man like Stalin pulled the end of a mustache and behaved arrogantly, isn't Gary Andrews30's comment a similar gesture to that even if he hasn't a mustache?


Based on Dragon Ball it's uses more for excitement and arrogance. I rarely see them us it for embarrassment, but I've definitely seen it.

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