On a recent visit to an Akihabara maid cafe, I was prompted by a maid outfit-wearing young woman to make my food taste good by chanting "Oishiku nare, moe moe kyun!"
"Oishiku nare" means 'make this food taste delicious.' That much is simple enough, but I was flummoxed by the meaning of "moe moe kyun!" With some help from a good friend and some diligent searching, I was able to find a decent explanation of this phrase, and am most pleased with my findings.
As it happens, "moe moe kyun" is an otaku meme that originated from the Japanese anime K-On! It has since evolved from internet-hosted remixes to real-world maid cafe parlance, and has even inspired the name of a pop-up maid cafe. Let's have a look at this fabulous meme in greater detail!
The phrase "moe moe, kyun!" was first uttered in episode 4 of K-On!, a Japanese anime series about four high school girls who work together to revive their high school's anemic music club by forming a band called Ho-kago Tea Time (after school tea time).
In a very short scene of this episode (about 15 minutes in), a character named Ritsu visualizes another character named Mio dressed as a waitress in a maid cafe and saying "moe moe... kyun!" The clip itself is actually very short, but as any seasoned meme fan can tell you, size matters not.
Before long, the clip had been picked up and was being remixed by otaku fans who recognized its absurd, overwhelmingly moe-esque qualities (maid cafe reference, magical girl transformation scene semiotics, etc.). I've shared the original and a remix below for you to have a look at.
Suffice it to say that otaku the world round eventually started uttering this phrase and associating it with maid cosplay. Now, "moe moe kyun!" is common phraseology in Japanese maid cafes and and anime conventions. Gotta love that meme-spreading power!
The Clip That Started It All
Moe Moe Kyun Meaning
So what does "moe moe kyun" actually mean?
As you can see from the clip, it's not exactly meant to mean anything in particular—it's more of a spell than anything else (similar to bibbety boppety boo, or abracadabra). That said, the words "moe" and "kyun" do have their own meanings, and pretty powerful ones at that. Both are more otaku slang than formal Japanese, so here are their definitions:
- Moe: Difficult to define, but basically a feeling of happiness felt by otaku when exposed to the anime/manga/idol/whatever that they love
- Kyun: This is very difficult to explain, but it's the feeling you get when you see a guy or girl you like. You see them, and you feel a little "kyun!"—that feeling in your heart or stomach of... "Oh!" *blush*
So basically, moe moe kyun is a big fat magical spell filled with good feelings. A verbal otaku orgasm, if you will. Yeah, it's a bit crude to say that, but it's the best short explanation I can come up with!
A Subsequent Remix
The Moe Moe Kyun Maid Cafe
The moe moe kyun meme has been so popular that it inspired the name of the Moe Moe Kyun Maid Cafe (also known as the MMK Maid Cafe).
The Moe Moe Kyun Maid Cafe is a mobile maid cafe produced by SOZO PTE LTD that pops up annually at Animal Festival Asia, an anime convention that takes place in Singapore. The MMK Maid Cafe might be small and very limited in availability, but it is popular enough to have garnered nearly 14,000 likes on Facebook, so it must be pretty fun! Chances are that the fabulous moe moe kyun meme has only helped it, right?
Though there is only one Moe Moe Kyun maid cafe, the moe moe kyun meme has been adopted in many other (permanent) maid cafes. It was, after all, part of standard serving procedure in the Akihabara maid cafe I just visited, and from the limited and highly unofficial market testing I did amongst Japanese citizens, the phrase is successful at cracking people up, or, at the very least, eliciting humorous reactions.
Moe Moe, kyun!
There's not much to this meme aside from K-On! and maid cafe adoption, so you're pretty much up to speed! I'll leave you with some tips on proper delivery of this phrase.
- Form your hands into a heart shape and say "Moe moe..." while bouncing them from side to side
- Turning your hands into a gun, point your index fingers at your target (be it food or an unsuspecting otaku).
- In a high pitched voice, finish off with ".... kyun!" as you shoot the aforementioned target.
Note: wearing a fluffy maid outfit increases the efficacy of your delivery.
Voila! Have fun, kids.
© 2011 Simone Haruko Smith
User on December 13, 2018:
Would it be kind of safe tk say it is more or less equivalent to the "heart eyes" emoji?
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on October 23, 2011:
It was all you, ezhang! *I* thought they were saying "Moe moe qu!" You, being the brilliant language expert of the two of us, figured out the elusive "kyun!" Thanks for that :D
It is fascinating how much symbolism is embedded into anime and manga, RedElf. I bet whole volumes could be composed on the subject! I bet more than a couple thesis papers explore such symbolism.
Isn't it delicious, robie2??? Japanese memes in particular seem to be extra layered and loaded. Gotta love it!
And Winsome, I think I know what went wrong. Your probably had the apron tied wrong or something. You know how sensitive people are on that front. But when at first you don't succeed......
Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on October 17, 2011:
Hey Simone, I tried this wearing a fluffy maid outfit as you suggested but the guns pointed back at me were real. Didn't you say this was in South Central LA? It worked out because Moe Moe, a local hip-hop artist, was flattered that I went to so much trouble and put in a good word.
He says he'll go with me when I find the real location of the place where "made" people hang out, but I have to lose the outfit. =:)
Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on October 14, 2011:
This is absolutely fascinating and I feel like Alice in Wonderland exploring a world I know nothing about. I keep looking around for a white rabbit and a bottle that says " drink me" but am finding a multi-layered Japanese meme that has more layers of symbolism than Moby Dick:-) What a wonderful hub on so many levels. Thanks
RedElf from Canada on October 14, 2011:
This is so much fun! Your refreshing hubs are granting me insights, and entrée into a world I have only glimpsed til now. There's a ton of symbolism loaded into anime. :D
Edward Zhang from Bay Area, CA on October 13, 2011:
As much as I would love to, I don't think I can take credit for the Moe Moe Kyun translation! On another note, I do recall helping decipher out the "Oishiku nare" part of the phrase though :)