Maku or “to roll” in Japanese

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Maku means a lot of things in Japanese, to scatter or sprinkle for example, but you may know it best for what its meaning created: maki sushi.

Maku can mean curtain, as in “maku ga warui” (the curtain is bad) or “maku ga ii” (the curtain is good). It can also be used as a verb, as in “Maku shimasu” (I’ll act as a curtain). And it can also be used as an adjective, as in “Maku na hito” (a person without curtain).

Maku also means to roll in Japanese and that’s where the name maki came from.

To make makizushi, sushi rice is placed on nori (seaweed) and then rolled up. The roll is then cut into small pieces and served.

Makizushi is a popular sushi dish because it is easy to eat and can be made with a variety of fillings. Common fillings include tuna, salmon, cucumber, and avocado. Makizushi can also be made with cooked fish or vegetables.

Let’s look at all the different meanings of maku in Japanese culture.

What does maku mean in Japanese

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Unveiling the Meaning of Maku in Japanese

Maku is a Japanese word written in kanji as “幕.” The kanji itself is composed of two parts: “mu” (meaning “curtain”) and “aku” (meaning “sense” or “convey”). Together, they create the meaning of “curtain sense,” which can be interpreted as “to convey a sense of a curtain.”

The Sense of Maku in Japanese Words and Culture

The word “maku” has several meanings in Japanese, including:

  • Curtain: As mentioned earlier, “maku” can refer to a curtain, which is a common feature in traditional Japanese architecture and theater.
  • Division or separation: In Japanese culture, “maku” can also refer to a division or separation between two things, such as a line drawn on the ground or a boundary between two territories.
  • Act or scene: In the context of theater, “maku” can refer to an act or scene in a play.

The Makizushi Roll: A Delicious Combination of Flavors and Textures

Makizushi is a type of sushi that consists of a rolled form of sushi. The term “maki” stems from the Japanese verb “maku,” which means “to roll.” The roll is typically made by combining vinegared rice with selected ingredients such as fish, vegetables, or egg, which are then rolled in nori (dried seaweed) using bamboo mats.

The Role of Maku in Makizushi

The term “maku” is not commonly used when referring to makizushi, but it is still an essential part of the sushi-making process. The act of rolling the sushi is called “maku,” and it is the reason why the roll is called “maki.” The bamboo mats used to roll the sushi are also called “makisu,” which literally means “bamboo mat for rolling.”

The Different Types of Makizushi Rolls

Makizushi rolls come in different forms and names, depending on how they are rolled and the ingredients used. Here are some of the most popular types of makizushi rolls:

  • Futomaki: A thick roll that typically consists of cooked egg, cucumber, and pickled daikon radish.
  • Hosomaki: A thin roll that usually contains only one ingredient, such as tuna, salmon, or cucumber.
  • Uramaki: A type of inside-out roll where the rice is on the outside, and the nori is on the inside. Uramaki rolls can contain a variety of ingredients, such as avocado, crab meat, or tempura shrimp.
  • Temaki: A cone-shaped roll that is typically filled with rice, fish, and vegetables.

The History of Makizushi

The origins of makizushi are not clear, but it is believed to have been first recorded in the early 18th century. The rollfirst appeared in Edo (now Tokyo), where it quickly spread in popularity. Today, makizushi is one of the most popular types of sushi worldwide, and it is enjoyed by sushi lovers of all ages and backgrounds.

Learning to Make Makizushi

Making makizushi at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are some details to keep in mind when making your own makizushi:

  • Use high-quality ingredients, such as fresh fish and vegetables.
  • Make sure to cook the rice properly and season it with vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the rolls into bite-sized pieces.
  • Experiment with different fillings and flavor combinations to find your favorite makizushi roll.

In conclusion, makizushi is a delicious and versatile type of sushi that is enjoyed by people all over the world. Whether you are a sushi lover or a beginner, learning to make your own makizushi can be a fun and rewarding experience.


So, there you have it- everything you need to know about the Japanese word maku. It can mean curtain, but it can also mean sense, or convey.

You can use it in a sentence like “Maku means curtain, but it can also mean sense, or convey.” So, now you know!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.