Why do Koreans throw up the peace sign whenever they take a picture?
You mean, like this?
And like this?
And like this?
At any rate, it is true that when taking a picture, Koreans very commonly throw up the "V" sign. But why?
Truth is, Koreans themselves are not particularly sure. It is a habit that is practiced without much thought behind it. It is not as if Koreans care much more about peace than any other people in the world, as Koreans generally know the sign as a "V" sign, rather than a "peace" sign. When pressed, some Koreans may give an answer that the "V" sign was popularized by Winston Churchill to signify "victory," and simply caught on thereafter. While the explanation may be plausible (as Churchill did popularize the "V" sign,) this explanation does not reflect that reality that Koreans are hardly thinking about "victory" when they are taking a picture.
In fact, Koreans are not really trying to convey any meaning as they throw up the "V" sign. If one really tried and forced a meaning behind the gesture, it would be: "Yes, I am aware that I am having my picture taken, and I am mildly happy that I am doing so."
Then why do it? The best answer might be -- why not? When taking a picture, particularly while standing still, what to do with your hands always presents an awkward dilemma. Might as well do something with them, and a "V" sign is as good as any. It's something, and it kind of looks cool. This explanation may be unsatisfying, but given that Koreans hardly assign any meaning to the "V" sign as they are taking a picture, it may be the only possible one.
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