Can you say the word “glove” in Japanese, in reverse?

By | April 10, 2014

As I’ve touched on several times in this blog, one of the themes in my Japanese studies is uncovering what real Japanese is like. Not the stuffy textbook Japanese (though that’s also important in it’s own way), but things like slang expressions and other phrases you’d hear on the street or spoken by an everyday native speaker. You can get exposure to some of that stuff through Anime and Manga, and of course living in Japan would help with this type of knowledge immensely.

One sort of cutsey/funny thing I came across goes like this:

Someone walks up to you and says,

「手袋を逆から言ってみて」 (“Say ‘glove’ backwards”)

You, being innocent and naive, proceed to say the word 手袋(てぶくろ) in reverse. (If you like, try it now and see if you can catch the pun)


As soon as you finish the last syllable you’re shocked to find your questioner pounding on your arm, for a total of six hits.

Do you get why?

ろくぶて sounds like “6打て”, which could be interpreted as “hit me 6 times” since 打て is the imperative/command form of 打つ (pronounced as うつ or ぶつ). Technically speaking, 6回 would be more correct here but since its a joke there is no reason to get technical (:

Instead of 言ってみて you can also say 読んでみて or omit the みて part.

Be sure to try this on your friends who are studying Japanese and see if they fall for it. Just don’t hit them too hard (:


(Featured image of glove taken from here


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