The playground favourite rock, paper, scissors is also popular in Korea, but there are a few differences to the way we play in the UK. First of all, it’s called 가위 바위 보 gawi bawi bo, which doesn’t follow the English order. It makes it scissors, rock, paper. 가위 = scissors, 바위 = rock, 보 = paper.

Learn how to say it correctly here.

Second, Koreans often say a phrase before they play: 안 내면 술래 가위바위보. It means, if you don’t show your hand, then you are it (you lose). You can hear it being said here right before ‘gawi bawi bo.’

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The game is often played by adults too, so don’t be surprised if your Korean friends challenge you to a game to make any kind of decision. Let’s hope you have better luck than SHINee’s Minho, who lost seven times in a row on this occasion.

Last, if you become an expert at gawi bawi bo, there’s an advanced level, called muk-jji-ppa. In this game one person ‘attacks’ and the other tries to defend, using the same hand gestures.

Here’s a step by step instruction of muk-jji-ppa


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British writer and editor living in Japan. Currently studying Japanese, Korean, K-pop dance, and the fine form of 이성종's legs.