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The V-sign

Features

Read all about Harvey Smith and his notorious two-finger salute. Come with us to Japan where the peace sign is still very much in vogue. Learn about the bizarre world of international hand gestures and see if the V-sign is still relevent to the person on the street.

A Harvey Smith to You!

In 1971, the rude V-sign received massive publicity and a new name: The Harvey Smith. This followed a controversial incident at that year's British Jumping Derby, at Hickstead in West Sussex...

A Harvey Smith to You!
The Japanese Version (the Sign of Peace)

The Japanese Version (the Sign of Peace)

If you point a camera at young people in Japan, they will instinctively make a palm-forward V-sign. But if you ask them why they are doing it, they are taken aback, and reply, "Doesn't everyone?" The origins of the gesture, called the peace sign, are as mysterious as those of the rude British sign.

International Hand Gestures

When a gesture such as the V-sign is so widely understood, it is easy to forget that it doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to anybody who hasn’t grown up here. Similarly, there are gestures – both polite and obnoxious – that are common in other countries that would leave a British visitor not knowing whether they were being invited for a drink or invited to perform an anatomically impossible act.

International Hand Gestures
Vox Pop

Vox Pop

How much currency does the V-sign have in contemporary English society? Do people still use it? And, if so, in what way? ICONS talked to a random sample of people about "the two-fingered salute", and found that as a group they agreed on a number of things…

Ten Things…

What is the V-sign called in Australia? And which characters in "The Young Ones" were famous for using it rather a lot? All this, and more, is revealed below.

Ten Things…