Dou Tu, The Art of Sticker War [Lost In Translation]

斗图 dóu tú, Sticker Duel

Verb. Literally, to fight using stickers (we think the name “Sticker Duel” better fits the sport)

Origins: Undocumented, but claims are that this tradition of emoticon bombardment (sharing) has been around since the early days of QQ messaging. The name was not coined until around early 2015, after the mass advent sticker packs in WeChat.

The stickers hurled in a “dou tu”combat are often of the vulgar, sarcastic, or satirical variety — frequently rage comics hailing from Baozou (暴走漫画). Sometimes these are best loved trophies from past fights — when someone shoots a sticker your way, simply long press to collect and claim your own.

The common way to provoke a sticker duel is by throwing one or two stickers into the midst of a conversation. If your friend responds with the same, then fire at will. The only ceasefire is when one side gets bored (runs out of fresh, funny one) of the the dull game.

1467685051006k9xi6y2c6Though it may sound like a pathetic pastime, it’s also an unfailing way to draw some chuckles and instantly add some zest and personality into a chat. Entire websites and chat groups are devoted to helping people keep their stickers trendy and up to date, so that one day if you’re challenged, you won’t be sheepishly resorting to something like this:

“Jin Guanzhang” (Master Kim) is an omnipresent personage you’re sure encounter in sticker duels. The unmistakable sneer of Master Kim–a character from a Korean martial arts comedy– are ubiquitously superimposed upon a range of characters from Tom the cat to Pikachu:

            c75c10385343fbf2d6306d92b17eca8065388f67 %e9%87%91 jin2

Another enduring favorite and integral character in Chinese dou tu matches is Leonardo Di Caprio. Just last week, when the actor opened up an official Weibo account, ecstatic netizens showed a zealous welcome by lavishly showering him with emoticons in his honor (more than 10 thousand comments in three hours of his first post), transforming his message board into a nationwide sticker duel.

                     7 %e6%96%97%e5%9b%be%e5%b0%8f%e6%9d%8e2

             6af89bc8gw1f8ot277opng204g04gx32 %e5%b0%8f%e6%9d%8e1 %e6%96%97%e5%9b%be5

                               %e6%96%97%e5%9b%be4leo

More considerate fans were concerned that Xiao Lizi (Leonardo’s nickname in China) would be taken aback by intense greetings. One user tried to console him: “Hello!We hope you will love these expression packs, which represent our enthusiasm. [可爱][可爱][可爱] You know, the more expression packs you have, the more popular you are in China.”

Next time someone shoots a couple of funny stickers your way, don’t back down. Dou tu the Chinese way, and proudly respond with some of your favs. As Sun Tsu preached, “opportunities multiply as they are seized”. The same goes for stickers.

Image Credit: doutula.com