What Does Mendokusai Mean?

By Risa

Although there is no literal translation to it, 面倒くさい (mendokusai) means something like “burdensome” or “troublesome.” 

Mendokusai is often written in just hiragana: めんどくさい (mendokusai). You may have also heard of the shorter form of the word, 面倒  (mendō).

*Note:  You may find that there are two versions of this word:  The version listed above, めんどくさい (mendokusai), and another version with an “う” in the middle – めんどくさい (mendōkusai).  Both are okay, but the version with the “う” is technically the more “correct” version.  You would use this version in writing or more formal situations.  In fact, the this is the correct reading the kanji version, 面倒くさい (めんどうくさい).  

The other version without the “う,” めんどくさい (mendokusai) is used when speaking.  However, when you use the shortened, casual version 面倒  (mendō), it will always be pronounced as めんど.  

How to Use Medokusai Naturally

Mendokusai is a commonly used word in Japan. It can be used whenever you feel that a task or an activity is “too much effort” or a “pain in the butt” to do. 

Since people mainly use it to complain when they don’t want to do something, which takes a lot of time or energy, it’s usually used with a negative undertone. When you’re lazy and don’t want to do a task, you can say mendokusai.

You can also use mendokusai to describe something burdensome. In this case, you can use it in both formal and informal situations. Of course, if your boss tells you to do something, don’t say it’s “mendokusai.” 

Natural Use

Mendokusai is a versatile word used everywhere in Japan. Here are some examples of situations in which you can use the word:

1. 水泳は好きだけど、水着に着替えるのが面倒くさい。
(suiei wa suki dakedo, mizugi ni kigaeru no ga mendokusai.)
I like swimming, but it’s troublesome to change into my swimming clothes.

2. 宿題やるのが面倒だから、ゲームをやろうかな。
(shukudai yaru no ga mendō dakara gemu wo yarо̄ kana.)
I can’t be bothered to do my homework, so I guess I’ll play games.

(kinо̄, jitensha ga panku shichatta kara shuri ni dasanakya.)
“My bike got a flat tire yesterday, so I need to take it to the repair shop.”

(sore wa mendokusai desu ne.)
“That’s a pain in the butt, huh.”

There is also a negative form of the word: 面倒くさくない (mendokusakunai), meaning “not troublesome, or not a burden.”

Example Sentence:

1. 私は綺麗好きなので、掃除は特に面倒くさくないです。
(watashi wa kireizuki nanode, sōji wa toku ni mendokusakunai desu.)
I’m a tidy person, so I don’t particularly find cleaning bothersome.

Saying Mendokusai With a Stronger Emphasis

You can also shorten the word to “mendokusa,” which emphasizes the meaning of the word. The meaning would be something like “what a pain in the ass,” whereas mendokusai would mean “that’s a pain.”   

(ashita no bābekyū ni iku noni, densha o go kai mo norikaenakya.)
“To go to the BBQ tomorrow, we need to transfer trains 5 times.”

(ehh, mendokusa!)
“Ugh, what a pain in the butt!”


As we saw, mendokusai is a good word to know as it’s very frequently used in Japan. I’m sure you will encounter it often while you’re in Japan or while watching movies or anime.

Photo of author


Though originally from Yokohama, Risa spent half of her life in the Netherlands. She recently came back to Japan to pursue her variety of interests, from environmental justice to the field of arts, while also enjoying herself with the food and the culture of the country. Her favorite Japanese food is umeboshi.

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