What the hell is “mofumofu”?

So, I was letting Google Image Search find me a new wallpaper – and, by the way, if you’re an anime fan, I strongly recommend typing “壁紙” into GIS and letting it fly, insasmuch as it’s Japanese for “wallpaper”  – when I found this cute fox-girl picture, and it has been annoying me.

Not the picture itself, that is, but the associated text.

kemonomimigallery-48

It says “mofumofu shitai? dame!”

Which I would translate as “Do you want to (mofumofu)? No way!”

“mofumofu” is, it seems likely, one of the many Japanese onomatopoeia, like “zakuzaku” for the sound of rustling or “dokidoki” for the sound of heartbeats,which pack a ton of of – culturally encoded –  information into four syllables

This particular one is presumably suggestive to some level, but no dictionary I can find has any translation for “mofumofu”, and while searching for it turns up plenty of instances on google, none of them feel compelled to translate it, so I have no idea exactly how suggestive this is trying to be.

But, you say, it’s just a cute picture of a fox-girl, what does it matter?

It doesn’t RIGHT NOW, but I have two years to go until I’m done with my Japanese degree and looking for translation gigs.  If I’m translating manga or games, “mofumofu” is the sort of vocabulary that I’m presumably going to run in to and be expected to be able to translate, and I had better figure out what it means sometime between now and then.

Edit:  It seems that “mofumofu” is a word that means the texture of being fluffy.  I suppose that makes sense.

Edit#2: (23 June 2019)

This post is over ten years old now and is the second-most-viewed page on this blog, and I finally got a really good answer.  See Elender’s note in the comments. 🙂

I never did get into translation, as an aside.  I am looking back at my enthusiasm from a decade ago and am a little bit shamed.

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12 Responses to What the hell is “mofumofu”?

  1. syockit says:

    Then you have to play Dragon Quest, for I think that’s where the term originated. And Dragon Ball kinda used that in its first volume? if I’m not mistaken

    Like

  2. dsfargeg says:

    Having seen it elsewhere I’m p. sure it means something like “snuggling”.

    For example, you probably would love to mofumofu that fox girl’s tails ^^

    Like

  3. baudattitude says:

    I like that definition so much that I am going to take it as gospel truth. Thank you for finally sorting this out for me. 🙂

    Like

  4. ocdaydreamer says:

    This is old, but I see there are some recent comments.

    It seems that, from what I can gather, “mofumofu” can either mean “fluffy” or refer to the act of burying one’s face in or nuzzling against something fluffy.

    Like most “cute” things (kawaii, moe, etc.), it can be either completely innocent or imply something sexual depending on the context.

    This is the feeling I get from what I’ve seen in the Japanese art and videos I see on the web.

    Like

  5. Kii says:

    If it was trying to be suggestive, ‘pafupafu’ would’ve made more sense–//coughs

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  6. rirac says:

    Kinda late here, but FYI, it’s not quite “fluffy” actually. “fuwafuwa” would be closer to that.

    “mofumofu” is more like “cuddly”. When used like a verb, as in the fox-girl image, it means “cuddle”.

    Like

  7. ordepeterp says:

    This is the definition of mofu mofu:
    A mimetic word that represents fluffynes and softnes.

    //s.imgur.com/min/embed.js

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: jRO: Fluffy Costama MofuMofu – Yum Yum Magazine

  9. Pingback: jRO: MofuMofu Costama – YumYum Magazine

  10. Elender says:

    Mofumofu is a new word made with the combination of two previous words.

    mokomoko in Japanese is used to describe something that feels like fluff, knots or lumps. Like virgin wool.

    Fuwafuwa in Japanese is used to describe something soft and light like cotton.

    When both words arere combined, they became mofumfu which is used to describe something soft, light and fluffy, especially for small animals (cats, fox or young dogs with long, soft hair).

    If you search in google も ふ も ふ (writing in Japanese) and see the resulting images, you can see in what kind of situations it is used.

    Liked by 1 person

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