In Japanese dramas or anime, it’s highly likely that you might have heard the phrase, “Mukatsuku!” uttered by people who are angry.
In modern Japanese slang, young people like to use “mukatsuku” to clearly show their displeasure.
Actually, the original meaning of “mukatsuku” refers to stomach discomfort or nausea, used to express a feeling of disgust from experiencing something unpleasant or nasty.
The onomatopoeia derived from this phrase is “muka muka”, which easily describes that queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach, like you’re about to throw up anytime. But at the same time, “muka muka” is also used to express how you feel when you’re angry and upset.
Here’s a relatable scenario: you’re feeling “muka muka” after getting unnecessarily told off at work, so you drink a little too much after that. The next day, your hangover makes you feel “muka muka” yet again, but this time, in a totally different way.
Either way, I’m not fan of both “muka muka” feelings! What about you?
Akiko Nishio is the principal of A to Z Language Centre, with over 20 years of experience in teaching Japanese. She has a soft spot for good books, travelling, and ice-cold beer.