Pretty much everyone has heard of the wedgie, whether you’re from a Western country or not. The wedgie has been popularized through television and movies as a form of childhood pranking or, more often, as a form of bullying. Nothing says ‘you’re a douche’ like yanking someone’s underwear up into their butt crack right?
Sometimes a wedgie can be painful, especially if it’s a rough one that mangles your genitals in the process. Sometimes it can make your whole day uncomfortable, especially if you wind up with a brown skid mark in your underwear. Sometimes, if it’s just done playfully and without violent force applied, it can even be funny. It’s almost always embarrassing, though.
Like most things, Japan has their own version of the wedgie, but also like with most things, they take it to a whole new level. In Japan they may do the wedgie as well, in imitation of Western culture, but the truly Japanese equivalent is the kancho.
Image via Tofugu.com
So, you’re probably wondering what a kancho is. It’s not just the Japanese name for a wedgie. It’s something much more unpleasant. A kancho is performed by placing your hands together, palms inward, with your index fingers extended together and your other fingers clasped so that your hands form the shape of an imaginary pistol. The perpetrator of a kancho, which can be either male or female and as young as 5, will then violently thrust their fingers into the anal region of an unsuspecting target, while simultaneously yelling “Kan-CHO!” Emphasis is placed on the ‘CHO’ portion of the word.
Image via Tofugu.com
From what I’ve read on various forums, kancho is incredibly painful when done correctly. However, it’s not given the same connotation as a wedgie. Rather than being seen as a method of bullying, it’s considered wholesome fun, reminiscent of something we did in high school called ‘open chest’, where someone would randomly slap another person’s chest as hard as they could. Many Japanese see it as a way of bonding with their fellow students. Targets of kancho are typically fellow male students, though I’ve read a lot of instances of foreign teachers in Japanese schools being targeted as well. The foreign male teachers also seem to have problems with male students randomly trying to touch their penises. Not sure what that’s all about. I also read one account of a female foreigner teaching in Japan mentioning that fellow female teachers had experienced being kanchoed.
Image via Kirainet.com
Kancho has been introduced to a larger audience through the use of anime. In the popular anime Naruto, it’s shown as a special technique called ‘One Thousand Years of Pain’.
Image via ThePirata.com
Kancho has also found its own special place in some of the more perverted Japanese comic books, known as hentai. If you’re not familiar at all with Japanese comics and anime it can be broken down into quite a few categories, but it’s important to remember that there’s a distinction between what’s anime (cartoons) and manga (comics) and their hentai counterparts. Hentai translates to something like perverted or weird. I don’t even want to know where the hentai shown in the image above goes with its storyline.
The popularity of kancho has spread beyond Japan to both South Korea, where it’s known as ttong chim (poop needle), and the Philippines, where it’s known as katsibong, bembong, bombet, jempot, or pidyok, from the Tagalog word tumbong. I guess Filipinos really enjoy kancho!
So, if you ever find yourself in Japan and in a position where you’ll be working with students, protect your ass, or you may hear someone shouting “kan-CHO!”, right before their fingers do a kamikaze dive right up your butt.