Saturday, November 11, 2017

moe moe kyun

In Japanese, moe moe kyun 萌え萌えキュン is a cutesy phrase from the anime K-On! It doesn't really mean anything. In article, I'll explain why, and how the sentence is constructed in Japanese.

Akiyama Mio 秋山澪, example of moe moe kyun 萌え萌えキュン.
Character: Akiyama Mio 秋山澪
Anime: K-On!, Keion! けいおん! (Episode 4)


The band goes to a training camp on a beach to sharper their music skills. They discuss what they'll be doing for the school's festival. Ritsu says they'll run a maid café, and Mio will dress in maid clothes and say something like cute like moe moe kyuun.

As this was said, the imagination of Mio transforming into a maid and making a heart-shape with her hands was shown.

Anime: K-On!, Keion! けいおん! (Episode 4)
  • kuro no sutokkingu!
    Black stockings!
  • junpaku no epuron!
    Pure white apron!
  • soshite, meido kachuusha!
    And a maid hairband!
  • moe moe~~ kyun!
    (what this article is about.)


The phrase moe moe kyun doesn't really mean anything in Japanese. It's just a cute phrase.

The term moe 萌え refers to a feeling toward the cuteness of 2D characters. It's specially used toward maid characters, for some reason.

It comes from moeru 萌える, for a plant "to sprout." Not to be confused with the homonym moeru 燃える, "to burn." Although this homonym is sometimes used in wordplay.

In this case, it's said twice, as moe moe. This is called reduplication, and the Japanese language is full of it. Normally, onomatopoeia and other mimetic words are reduplicated in similar fashion:

  • dokidoki
    Thump thump.
  • wakuwaku
  • pikapika

Such words often have a continuous meaning attached to them, so if moe moe means something, it means a continuous moe feeling, or something that's constantly moe.

Lastly, kyun キュン is a mimetic word for a tightening chest or heart. It's used when a character falls in love with someone, or when they're endeared by the exuberant cuteness, or something like that.

As you may have noticed, Mio says kyun キュン at the exact moment she makes the heart shape with her hand. That's the moment where the heart goes kyun.

Fan Art

The phrase moe moe kyun plus making the shape of a heart with your hands is kind of a meme now. A number of anime parodied this, artists have drawn the most ridiculous illustrations of this, even real people have used it on TV.


The moe moe kyun pose, and sometimes the phrase with a maid everything, has been parodied in other anime, too. For reference, some examples.

The original moe moe kyun pose is done by placing thumbs and indexes against each other in a heart shape facing away from the gesturer. The thumbs are above the indexes, so the wrist has to rotate to a rather unusual position, like grabbing both handles of a wheelbarrow. The other fingers extend out away from heart shape.

Akiyama Mio 秋山澪, example of moe moe kyun 萌え萌えキュン.
Character: Akiyama Mio 秋山澪
Anime: K-On!, Keion! けいおん! (Episode 4)

An example of an almost exact copy, with other fingers bending into the heart shape instead:

Mile マイル, Adele von Ascham アデル・フォン・アスカム, parody example of moe moe kyun 萌え萌えキュン.
Character: Mile マイル
Anime: Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne! 私、能力は平均値でって言ったよね! (Episode 4)

Inner Variant

Who in their sane mind would care about such details? So long as you're making a heart with your hands, that counts as a moe moe kyun pose, right? Some examples with the thumb toward the gesturer instead, in which case it forms the bottom part of the heart, as opposed to the top part:

Tooru トール doing a moe moe kyun 萌え萌えキュン pose.
Character: Tooru トール
Anime: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon S, 小林さんちのメイドラゴンS (Season 2) (Episode 1)
  • Context: Tooru, a dragon girl, thinks she's the best maid, finds an advertisement by a maid café claiming it has the best maids, decides to burn it with fire. Hearing this, Kobayashi-san says:
  • masa-ni moe moe?
    Literally burn-burn?
    • A pun with moeru 燃える, "to burn [something]," e.g. by spitting fire on it.
Ranga ランガ doing a moe moe kyun 萌え萌えキュン pose.
Character: Ranga ランガ
Anime: Meikyuu Black Company, 迷宮ブラックカンパニー (Episode 7, Stitch)
  • Context: Ranga gets a job that's just wearing cute clothes and talking to costumers.
    • From the characters holding glowing sticks in the background, the job is probably being an idol.
Poses & Gestures

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