The Names in Japanese Originate from Size or Usage

Sorry for the sudden question, but what is each finger of the hand called in your country?
In Japan, they are referred to as:

#1 親指、Oyayubi: ‘Parent Finger’
#2 人差し指、Hitosashiyubi: ‘Pointing Finger’
#3  中指, Nakayubi: ‘Middle Finger’
#4 薬指、 Kusuriyubi: ‘Medicine Finger’
#5 小指, Koyubi: ‘Little Finger’


Why are they named this way?
#1 is the biggest, so it’s called the “Parent” finger.
#5 is the smallest, so it’s called the “Little” finger.
#3 is in the middle, so it’s called the “Middle” finger.

Why is #2 called the “Pointing” finger?
It  comes from the fact that you use this finger to ‘point things out’ to other people.

Finger #4’s name is derived from the fact that doctors use this finger when they mix medicine or apply ointment.



Fingers of the Hand as Family Members

In order to teach little children the names of the fingers, they are sometimes represented as a family!
The parent finger is the “Father Finger”(お父さん指、Otousanyubi) the pointing finger the “Mother Finger” (お母さん指, Okaasanyubi) the middle finger is the “Brother Finger”(お兄さん指, Oniisanyubi) the medicine finger is the “Sister Finger” (お姉さん指、Oneesanyubi) and the little finger is the “Baby Finger” (赤ちゃん指、Akachanyubi).
Its cute and easy to remember… isn’t it nice?

If you like this article, you might be interested by this one:

Why do Japanese people bow? Japanese etiquette: Ojigi

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Editor / Writer

“My dream is that Tadaima Japan will make more people want to come to Japan. I want to introduce the beautiful Japan in which I was born. I like fingernail art!”