This is one of our Tokyo JET Lesson Plans

Feel free to use, modify, and upload your own lessons!


This is an activity to teach and compare common hand gestures. It`s also a good way to talk about using body language for communication, even if you can't say what you want to in English.


Answer key:

  1. “It`s ok” or “Good”
  2. “I`m broke” or “That`s too expensive.”
  3. “Shame on you.”
  4. “Good job!” or “Hey, what`s up?”
  5. “Call me.” or “I`ll call you.”
  6. “I love you.”
  7. used when “ ” [quoting] something
  8. “Go away” or “Shoo!”
  9. “Hand it over.” or “Bring it on.”
  10. “Come here.”
  11. “No, no, no. That`s bad.” or “Don`t do that.”
  12. To say something/someone is “crazy.”
  13. “I don`t know.” or “ I`m confused.”
  14. “Rock on” or “Yeah! That`s cool!”


  1. Demonstrate the different gestures and have students write down what they think the meaning is.
  2. Reveal the meaning either one at a time, or go back through a second time. Some will be very obvious, and there are a few that might be completely new to students.
  3. Have students practice the short dialogues in pairs, using the hand gestures.


  • You can also split students into teams and award points to the ones who guess the meaning correctly.
  • Have students (or teams) give examples of hand gestures used in Japanese, and compare/ contrast them with the ones used in English.


(This lesson was transferred over from the old Tokyo JET Trello board. Please contact Information Committee if you are the original creator and would prefer it to be taken down.)