Tegatana (Ceremonial Hand Movement) (手刀)

Tegatana (pronounced either Shuto or Tegatana)

An element of Japanese etiquette. It will be explained in this article.

The ceremonial hand movement made by a sumo wrestler when receiving a monetary award.

It means a chopping motion.

The term also refers to the chopping technique in professional wrestling.

Tegatana as Etiquette

In Japan, when a person cuts across in front of others or enters a crowd, they will make several small vertical movements of their vertical hand a short distance from the body. This gesture is called 'tegatana wo kiru' (lit. making a chopping motion).
In East Asia, this motion is unique to Japan
Particularly when a Japanese person enters a crowd, they will often do so while saying "Excuse me" or "Passing in front" and making a chopping motion with their upper body leaning slightly forward.

It is said that the Tegatana originally meant that the person showed that he/she didn't have any weapon by opening up his/her hand and that the person showed the way he/she was going to take. It can be said that lowering oneself by bending the upper body slightly forward and saying "Excuse me" shows humbleness.

This custom is becoming less common but is still performed by middle-aged and elderly people.

A chopping motion using one hand can be seen when a person expresses slight gratitude, a request or an apology. In this case, the gesture is a simplified motion of the placing together of the palms of the hands.

[Original Japanese]