kancho!

In Angry White Pyjamas, Twigger writes:

Paul used the honorific ‘Kancho’ whenever he spoke of Shioda, the founder.  At the dojo Paul said he was respectfully known as Kancho Sensei.  Later, Frank pointed out that kancho also meant ‘enema’ in Japanese.  I made a mental note to learn the correct pronunciation for the founder’s title.

As expats who have taught Japanese children know, kancho does not just mean “enema.”   It is also means something like “goose.”  And I’m not talking about Christmas dinner, I’m talking about the schoolyard.

In Japan, kancho is wear one kid puts the index fingers and thumbs of the hands together and intertwines the remaining fingers in order to form a sort of torpedo with the index fingers that he uses to perform a sneak attack on the anus of unsuspecting friends, foreign English teachers, etc.  (Yes, these are Japanese kids I am writing about.)  You can get any foreign English teacher in Japan to jump or flinch by simply mentioning kancho or preparing for kancho.

To prepare for kancho, the shape of the hands is key.  It is exactly like the Uttarabodhi mudra of Buddhism.

uttarabodhi-mudra

Depending on your proclivities, it is either hilarious or profound that Uttarabodhi mudra means “Mudra of the Highest Enlightenment.”

uttarabodhi_mudra

As one place notes: “The divining rod.  Like lightening–spark your flame… Open. Strong. All encompassing, not exclusive… Use this naturally, to feel your fullness… Enjoy the expansion of the inhale and release of the exhale.  You are your own divine teacher.”

Ummm… yeah…

If you study ninjutsu, you might recognise this mudra.  I wouldn’t surprise me if the first kancho was a devastating ninja sneak attack.

Anyhow, the kanji for Kancho Sensei’s kancho is , I believe 館長, which means something like “house leader.”  The kanji for enema is 灌腸, which means something like “irrigate intestines.”  Finally, there is a third meaning and a third kanji for kancho.  The Jim Breen WWWJDIC says the meaning is “prank where the anal region of another person is poked with index fingers” and the third kanji is 浣腸, but I don’t know if this kanji goes with the definition or not.  Moreover, I can’t find a meaning for 浣, although it obviously exists.  So the kancho schoolyard game is title either “X the intestines” or “irrigate the intestines.”  Any game with intestines involved, though, is in my opinion not a winning proposition.

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