Word of the Week: 手作り

It’s time for Word of the Week again! Last week we looked at a Japanese word or phrase beginning with ‘tsu’ (つ), and focussed on the expression 付き合う (tsukiau), which means ‘to associate with’, ‘to accompany’ or ‘to date’. This week I’m looking for a word or phrase beginning with ‘te’ (て). A big thank you to everyone who joined in with their suggestions:

Celia suggested ‘tenshon agaru’ (テンション上がる), ‘to get excited’, ‘to get energised’; Japan Australia suggested ‘tennen no’ (天然の), ‘natural’; and ‘tetsudatte kuremasuka?’ (手伝ってくれますか), ‘can you help me?’; lovelycomplex22 suggested ‘tereru’ (照れる / てれる), ‘to be shy’; and Rockin’ suggested ‘te o nuku’ (手を抜く / てをぬく), ‘to ease up (on an opponent)’ or ‘to cut corners’; ‘tekibishii’ (手厳しい / てきびしい), ‘severe’;  ‘te ni penai’ (手に終えない / てにおえない), which I think means ‘out of hand’; and ‘te gokoro o kuwaeru’ (手心を加える / てごころをくわえる), ‘to take into consideration’.

There were some really interesting and original ideas this week – thanks everyone! I love all these ideas, but I actually had a different word I wanted to write about this week…

手作り (てづくり)


Before anyone shouts at their computers, yes, I realise ‘tezukuri’ is a noun and I’m breaking my own rules. But I’ve been thinking about this word all week and wanted to write about it. Although ‘tezukuri’, meaning ‘handmade’, is a noun, surely ‘to hand make’ must be a word? Also, I often heard ‘tezukuri no…’ (てづくりの。。。), so surely it’s an adjective too?

I’m still a little confused about this word to be honest. The noun itself is quite simple, coming from a combination of 手 (te – hand) and 作る (tsukuru – to make), but I’ve been through all my dictionaries and can’t find the verb ‘to hand make’ anywhere.

When it comes to ‘tezukuri no’ as an adjective, that’s a little confusing too. According to jisho.org, ‘tezukuri’ is both a noun and a ‘-no adjective’. I remember studying ‘-na’ and ‘-i’ adjectives, but I’ve never heard of a ‘-no’ adjective before. It turns out there is a bit of a divide when it comes to so-called ‘-no’ adjectives. Some people believe they are adjectives, others just think this is using a noun in an attributive way. Whatever the correct grammar term, ‘tezukuri no’ is often used. For example:


Handmade bread

Handmade bread

(Image source)


Handmade shoes

Handmade shoes

(Image source)

Making things by hand – jewellery, sweets, cakes, decorations, toys etc – is a popular trend in Japan. Whilst I was searching online for images, I came across this fabulous Rilakkuma tezukuri book, which seems to include everything from toys to bags to lunch!

Tezukuri Rilakkuma

Tezukuri Rilakkuma

(Image source)

If you want to see more Japanese handmade things, try a search for 手作りの on Instagram or Google Images. There’s some beautiful stuff being made out there!


(Google Images search)

As I’ve said many times before, I’m no linguist. So, if you can shed any light on whether ‘tezukuri’ can actually be counted as an adjective or not, and how to say ‘to hand make’ in Japanese, I would (as always) appreciate your comments below!


Next week’s post will be about a word or phrase beginning with ‘to’ (と), so please leave your suggestions below. The word can be a verb, adjective or expression, but no nouns please! For example, ‘tomaru’ (とまる) meaning ‘to stay (at)’ would be acceptable, but ‘tofu’ (とうふ), ‘tofu’ (the food), would not. I look forward to reading your ideas! (*^_^)v

Word of the Week 2014

8 thoughts on “Word of the Week: 手作り

  1. Tezukuri is a good one! Your post your rules 🙂 A few suggestions for next week are:

    Tooi (遠い) Far
    Tomare (止まれ!) Stop!
    Totemo oishii (とても美味しい)
    Tondemo arimasen (とんでもありません) Unthinkable / Absolutely not / Don’t mention it


  2. こんにちは。






  3. again


    Tondemo arimasen (とんでもありません)とのsuggestionがあるので、別の単語を書きます。


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