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.’

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


About Author

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