In Japan, children can stick their fingers into people’s butts and get away with it — at least in theory. The act, which involves putting together one’s index fingers to form a “gun,” is a socially acceptable prank known as kanchō.
The term is a slang adaptation of the Japanese word for “enema.” When used as a prank, kanchō is written in katakana (カンチョー), while as a medical term, it is written in kanji (浣腸).
To perform kanchō, one finds an unsuspecting victim and fires the imaginary gun into the person’s anus while shouting “kan-chō!” The act, however, is not exclusive to Japan, as other Asian countries such as the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand reportedly have their own names for it.
In Taiwan, it is known as qiānnián shā, derived from the full Japanese name of the skill “Leaf village’s secret finger jutsu: A thousand years of death.” Interestingly, this grandiose term of skill is simply an enhanced version of the prank from the “Naruto” franchise, with Kakashi Hatake using it on the protagonist during ninja practice.
While generally tolerated, it must be pointed out that kanchō is far from encouraged in Japan, according to Kumiko Makihara, who mentioned the subject in a 2009 article for The New York Times: “Kanchō certainly isn’t encouraged in Japan — a friend of mine is convinced her daughter failed a preschool entrance exam because she playfully jabbed her mother in the rear during the interview. But Japanese parents usually bestow only a mild rebuke.”
Children might get a pass on pulling kanchō among their peers, but grown-ups performing the prank on others is understandably controversial as it can easily be considered sexual assault and especially since some have actually died from it.
Last year, a 34-year-old man was arrested for accidentally killing his 46-year-old coworker with an air compressor, which he had used to perform kanchō.
“I just did it as a prank,” Yoshiyuki Yoshida told the police, according to Asia Times. “I didn’t think he could possibly die from that.”
A police spokesman then speculated the cause of death, “It was a tragic accident but not the first of its kind. The air compressor was pushed up against the anus, over clothing, not directly into the cavity, and the release of the air into the body probably damaged the lungs, causing death.”