If you’re like me, you watch a lot of anime and Japanese dramas. Sometimes there are words and phrases that the characters use so often that you learn them without even really trying. I wanted to go over one of those words today and answer the question, what does “fuzakanna” mean in Japanese.
In order to really get it, I thought it would be a good idea to go over the root word first before then exploring this modified version of the word.
After that I wanted to talk about how it’s specifically used in the shows we watch and love and how you should approach using it in real life.
The Meaning Of The Root Word
The root word that we are talking about is actually 巫山戯る (fuzakeru) which has a few different meanings, but the most common ones are:
- to joke
- to make fun of
- to fool around
I’m sure you are familiar with this kind of situation. If you are playing a prank on someone, then this is a word that can be used to describe how you are just “playing around” with them and you’re not being serious.
Even though I wrote it in kanji above, it’s actually a lot more common to see it written in hiragana as ふざける.
All that being said, this isn’t the exact form that is used in Japanese shows.
Typically they add on a な (na) to the end of the word. They also seem really upset when they yell the phrase, so what is that all about?
How Does な (na) Change It?
There are a lot of Japanese particles with lots of different meanings, but one of the more commonly used ones by Japanese boys and men is the ending な particle.
The meaning of this particle changes depending on the form of the word that it is attached to.
When it is attached to the end of a verb it its dictionary form (for example, ふざける) then the な acts as a prohibitive addition and basically tells the other person not to do the action.
Here are a few examples:
- 行くな！ Don’t go!
- 動くな！ Don’t move!
- しゃべるな！ Don’t speak!
I guess you could think of the な like the English word “don’t” in this context and it would be pretty accurate.
Because of the information that you’ve learned in the first two sections, you can now figure out that the when Japanese people yell out ふざけるな they are saying something along the lines of “don’t mess around!” or something like that.
If you read a lot of manga, then you’re more likely to see it spelled in katakana as フザケるな.
There might be some additional アア’s added on to the end to let you know that the character is yelling as well.
Also, sometimes the phrase is morphed slightly to fit the character’s speech pattern. Here are two other common distortions of this phrase:
This explanation is true, but it still doesn’t capture the full essence of the phrase. Let’s take a deeper look at it now.
How It’s Used In Dramas and Anime
There are a couple of different ways that fuzakeruna can be understood. Here are some of the more commonly used English translations for this phrase:
- Stop messing around!
- Don’t be silly.
- Fuck off!
- Take this seriously!
As you can see, the meaning can change quite a bit from mild to cussing someone out.
Basically what you have to understand about this phrase is that the person who is using it thinks that the other person isn’t be serious about the situation. They think that the other person is treating an important matter with a rather flippant attitude.
That final な on the end is a rather masculine and forceful way to tell a person, in no uncertain terms, not to do something. It’s not necessarily rude, but it certainly isn’t polite by any means.
All that being said, sometimes it is just used to vent on the other person (like in #3 above) and it isn’t actually telling them to stop, or not do something.
So that’s the understanding that I want you to take away from this discussion. The phrase “fuzakenna” is a strong way to tell a person to quit messing around, or it is a way to express your anger at someone else who you feel is being ridiculous.
For example, if you agreed with someone to buy their laptop for $500 and then when the deal was about to complete they said that they actually wanted $800 for it, you might yell this phrase to express your emotions that they are being crazy for not only changing the deal last minute, but also demanding so much more than agreed upon.
That being said, should you actually use it?
How Should You Use It In Real Life?
The short answer is that no, you should not use this phrase in real life.
It would be much better to genuinely, and politely ask the other person what they are thinking.
The thing about the Japanese language is that it is deeply rooted within the culture of the nation. One critically important aspect of that culture is the concept of “face” and being polite to other people.
What the basically means is that you don’t get to vent your emotions onto other people (unless you are perhaps a superior talking down to your subordinate, but I doubt that will be the case for most people reading this).
I personally feel that this is one of those words / phrases that you should learn so that you can understand it when you read or hear it, but don’t worry about practicing it because it wouldn’t come off very well.
That is unless you were just jesting with a really close friend, then it would probably be fine.
All that being said, I think that this is one of those situations where TV shows are “larger than life” and the characters get to use certain words and say things that a lot of people think in real life, but aren’t allowed to say due to social constraints.
That’s just my experience of course, so if you have a different experience of this word being used in real life by Japanese people, then I would love to hear about it.
Have You Heard This Word A Lot?
So now you know all about the Japanese word fuzakenna!
We talked about the root word’s meaning, which does get used from time to time. We learned about how adding な to the end of it changes it.
We also learned some of the different ways that it is spelled, both in the written system and also from a more phonetic point of view.
I don’t think that I’ve ever heard an actual native use this word, but I’m very curious to hear about your experiences with it.
Let me know if you have any questions about today’s topic by leaving a question down below. Also, if you’ve heard people use this word in the real world, tell me about it! I would enjoy hearing your stories about it.
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: