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Publicly Available Published online by De Gruyter Mouton May 22, 2023

How did COVID-19 impact the use of Japanese complex words with masuku ‘mask’ in 2020?

  • Kiyoko Toratani ORCID logo EMAIL logo
From the journal Linguistics Vanguard


This paper examines how the situation caused by COVID-19 impacted the use of a well-entrenched word in Japanese: masuku ‘mask’. An inspection of data gathered from an online newspaper shows a sharp increase in token and type frequency in the use of complex words with masuku ‘mask’ in 2020 (mid-pandemic) compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic), implying the recurrence and variegation of mask-related topics in the media. Focusing on the varied types of complex words containing masuku ‘mask’, the paper offers a construction morphology account of how they distribute within a network of words. The most dominant means to expand the network was compounding, creating not only hyponyms of masuku ‘mask’ (i.e., using masuku as the head of the compound, as in ago-masuku ‘chin mask’) but also hyponyms of other well-entrenched words (i.e., using masuku as the non-head, as in masuku-gimu ‘mask obligation’). Beyond compounding, a playful use of language in blends led to the creation of a new path, albeit a small one. The paper argues the development of the word network involved both mundane and exceptional creativity.

1 Introduction

The global spread of COVID-19 changed the way we live, and this, in turn, necessarily impacted how we use language. By 2020, the term COVID-19 or its equivalent had begun to permeate speech communities. For example, in the case of Chinese, Lei et al. (2021) report that their online data, collected over a six-month period starting in December 2019, contain 20 Chinese COVID-19 terms (e.g., 新型病毒 ‘novel type virus’, 新冠肺炎 ‘novel corona pneumonia’), suggesting that new hyponyms begin to be introduced to an existing category name related to disease (such as ‘pneumonia’ and ‘virus’) as a new situation emerges.

Their interesting finding leads to further questions. What happens to other well-entrenched existing words? Will they also start creating hyponyms in new and evolving situations? This paper explores the issue, examining the case of masuku ‘mask’ in Japanese, a loanword from English, meaning (among other things) “a covering worn over the mouth and nose in order to reduce the transmission of infectious agents” (OED Online 2022). This became a ubiquitous word in the context of COVID-19, as people around the world masked up. The term masuku can be considered a “well-entrenched existing word”, as it was borrowed into Japanese at least by 1923,[1] and has long been used, mirroring the nationwide Japanese custom of wearing masks, especially during the flu and the pollen seasons for health reasons (e.g., Sand 2020).

I compare the distributions of complex words with masuku ‘mask’ in data from 2019 (pre-pandemic) and 2020 (mid-pandemic), culled from a web newspaper, asking the following questions:

  1. Do the 2020 data have more hyponyms within the ‘mask’ category than the 2019 data in terms of both type and token frequency?

  2. What type of word formation is involved in the development of the network of complex words centring on masuku ‘mask’?

  3. What accounts for the development of the network?

The paper shows the 2020 data have more hyponyms within the ‘mask’ category than the 2019 data, responding affirmatively to question 1. Word formation draws on compounding, affixation, and blends, with compounding the most recurrent means to create new complex words in this case (a reply to question 2). The paper draws on construction morphology (Booij 2010a) to account for the increase in type frequency: compounds are typically created via schema-based word formation, whereas blends show both schema-based and analogy-based word formation (Booij 2010b; a response to question 3).

Compounds have been recognized as displaying linguistic creativity (e.g., Benczes 2005, 2006; Körtvélyessy et al. 2021; Nerlich and Koteyko 2009; Zawada 2006). Many instances in the data gathered for this paper can be considered “creative”, as words are freshly combined, yielding new meanings (Ward et al. 1997), but the degree of creativity is typically “mundane” (Perkins 1997), as the components come from routinely used words (e.g., ago-masuku [chin-mask] ‘mask covering just the chin’). Yet the creativity can be “exceptional” (Perkins 1997), as in the case of a blend, ametomasuku ‘candy-and-mask’, involving a sharp-witted reanalysis and word play, albeit nonce-formed (see Section 4.4).

The organization of this paper is as follows. Section 2 describes the data. Section 3 reports the results. Section 4 elaborates on the network of words involving masuku ‘mask’, focusing on compounds and blends. Section 5 offers a conclusion.

2 Data

The data were the result of a query, typing masuku ‘mask’ into the search engine of a web newspaper ( The query result for each newspaper article contained the headline and part of the article, typically a paragraph-long one. Complex words with masuku ‘mask’ were manually picked from each paragraph to compile the data. For instance, if the paragraph contained a sentence like Kurashiki-shi no bikan-chiku wa masuku-sugata no kazokuzure ya wakamono-ra de nigiwai … ‘The scenic district of Kurashiki city was alive with people wearing a mask, family and youth, …’ (21 June 2020), the term masuku-sugata [mask-figure] ‘a person wearing a mask’ was selected as a token to be recorded in the data. The discussion focuses on complex words wherein masuku ‘mask’ appears on either the “right” or the “left” of the complex word. Masuku may be combined with an affix, such as -goshi ‘over’ as in masuku- goshi ‘(speaking/smiling) over the mask’; it may appear as part of a blend, as in sekkyakushi - masu ku ‘mask for looking after customers’;[2] or it may be a component of a compound. In the latter case, the compounds will be referred to as “X-masuku” if masuku appears on the “right”, as in natsu-masuku ‘summer mask’; and as “masuku-Y” if masuku appears on the “left”, as in masuku-zukuri ‘mask making’.

The search period was set for 11 months, from 1 January to 30 November 2019 for the pre-pandemic period (“2019 data”) and from 1 February to 31 December 2020 for the mid-pandemic data (“2020 data”). The period including December 2019 and January 2020 was excluded, as this period contained mixed examples of pandemic-related and non-pandemic-related instances.

3 Results

Table 1 shows the distribution of the type and token frequency of the data. As can be seen, the 2019 data contained a limited number of complex words with masuku in the compound and the suffixed word categories (9 types, 49 tokens), but in 2020, the total dramatically increased and covered all three word-formation types (305 types, 3,376 tokens). Table 1 also shows that compounding was the most dominant morphological device used to coin new terms (93 %) in 2020, with limited recourse to affixation (2 %) and blends (5 %).

Table 1:

Distribution of the type and token frequency of compounds, affixed words, and blends containing masuku ‘mask’ in the 2019 and the 2020 data.

2019 (Pre-pandemic) 2020 (Mid-pandemic)
Type/token Type/token
Compounds 8/48 (98 %) 287/3,152 (93 %)
 X-masuku 3/3 144/990
 masuku-Y 5/45 143/2,162
Affixed words 1/1 (2 %) 8/65 (2 %)
 masuku + suffix 1/1 6/61
 prefix + masuku 0/0 2/4
Blends 0/0 10/159 (5 %)
Total 9/49 (100 %) 305/3,376 (100 %)

Examples of the most frequently occurring items are displayed in Table 2 (with token frequency shown in parentheses; see the Appendix for all types of the complex words with masuku from the 2020 data).[3] As indicated in Table 2, some of the top-listed compounds from 2019 (the first X-masuku compound and the top three masuku-Y compounds) and one instance of a suffixed word from 2019 (masuku-goshi [mask-over] ‘(speaking/smiling) over the mask’) also appeared in 2020, with increased token frequency. It is reasonable to assume the much higher token frequency of complex words in 2020 reflects the fact that the pandemic induced a situation where mask-related messages had to be more frequently communicated, thereby repeating the same expressions. The question is: how can the significant increase in types be explained? I explore this in the next section, focusing on compounds and blends and assuming the increase in type frequency entails the expansion of a network of complex words centred on masuku ‘mask’.

Table 2:

The most frequently occurring examples of complex words containing masuku ‘mask’ in the 2019 and the 2020 data, with token frequency indicated in parentheses.

2019 (Pre-pandemic) 2020 (Mid-pandemic)
X-masuku tsukaisute-masuku [disposable-mask] (1) nuno-masuku [cloth-mask] (442)
kateiyō-masuku [home.use-mask] (1) tezukuri-masuku [handmade-mask] (96)
nō-masuku [no-mask] (1) iryōyō-masuku [medical-mask] (68)
nunosei-masuku [cloth.made-mask] (34)
tsukaisute-masuku [disposable-mask] (31)
N95-masuku [N95-mask] (24)
fushokufu-masuku [unwoven-mask] (20)
masuku-Y masuku-sugata [mask-figure] (31) masuku-chakuyō [mask-wearing] (902)
masuku-chakuyō [mask-wearing] (10) masuku-sugata [mask-figure] (598)
masuku-nashi [mask-without] (2) masuku-busoku [mask-shortage] (151)
masuku-uriba [mask-sale.area] (1) masuku-zukuri [mask-making] (39)
masuku-haifu [mask-distribution] (34)
masuku-kaishoku [mask-dining.together] (31)
masuku-nashi [mask-without] (31)
Affixed words
masuku + suffix masuku-goshi [mask-over] (1) masuku-goshi [mask-over] (49)
 prefix + masuku datsu-masuku [exit.from-mask] (2)
Abenomasuku ‘Abe’s mask’ (146)

4 Expansion of a network of words

4.1 Compounds: overview

As Namiki and Kageyama (2016) note, non-Sino-Japanese-based compounds in Japanese are right-headed (cf. Williams 1981). Compounds with masuku ‘mask’ can be classed as non-Sino-Japanese-based, because they have an English loanword as a component. Therefore, I analyse them as right-headed for both X-masuku (shiro-masuku [white-mask] is a kind of ‘mask’) and masuku-Y compounds (masuku-erabi [mask-choosing] ‘choosing masks’ is a kind of ‘choosing’). This implies that compounds with masuku ‘mask’ form part of a network of words under right-headed compounds, as represented in Figure 1, assuming a hierarchical lexicon as posited in construction morphology (Booij 2010a). For ease of referencing, the hierarchy is divided into “levels”.

Figure 1: 
Network of compounds with masuku ‘mask’.
Figure 1:

Network of compounds with masuku ‘mask’.

In Figure 1, the top node contains an abstract schema for nominal compounds. Both components, X and Y, are variables, and part-of-speech category is indicated as N, given in subscript, covering nouns and verbal/adjectival nouns. The first level contains less abstract constructional schemas (represented within the angle brackets) which yield instantiations. Masuku-Y compounds appear on the left side of the network in the second level (marked by the ovals), and X-masuku compounds appear en masse in the third level on the right side of the network (marked by the rectangle).

4.2 Masuku-Y compounds

The first level of the hierarchy in Figure 1 contains constructional schemas such as those seen in (1a).

<[Xi + kēsu j]Nk ↔ [casej for sem (object)i]k>
<[masuku i + kēsu j]Nk ↔ [casej for masksi]k>

In (1a), the left of the double-headed arrow represents the form, and the right represents the meaning of the form; the subscript letters indicate the correspondence between the form and the meaning. Schema (1a) is partially abstract. While it contains a variable X, the head noun Y is specified as kēsu ‘case’, and the semantic relation between X and kēsu is specified as “for”. Sem stands for the meaning of X, which should be a tangible object. Schema (1a) is assumed to be part of the knowledge of language users based on several well-entrenched instances, such as megane-kēsu ‘glasses case’ and sumaho-kēsu ‘smartphone case’. Replacing X in (1a) with another word leads to the creation of a new compound. This is an example of a schema-based coinage, where language users access a constructional schema, (1a), to create a new compound such as masuku-kēsu ‘a case for masks’, seen in (1b) (cf. Booij 2019: 386). The example of masuku-ken ‘mask ticket’ in Figure 1 is another instance of a schema-based coinage where masuku ‘mask’ is used; this particular compound was created in response to mask shortages and refers to tickets to obtain masks that were issued by the local government.

A notable point about the masuku-Y compounds is that each is a hyponym of a different head noun, such as kēsu ‘case’ and ken ‘ticket’. This implies speakers access a different constructional schema to create each new masuku-Y compound. From a bird’s-eye view (Figure 1), a host of different constructional schemas line up in the first level of the hierarchy to the left, and from each, a branch shoots down to contain the instantiation of a new masuku-Y compound in the second level.

The drastic increase of the types of masuku-Y compounds in the 2020 data suggests the pandemic created a need to communicate on diversified situations and products involving masks. The data included tokens from different semantic groups, such as supply and demand (masuku-kizō ‘mask donation’), wearing (masuku-gimu ‘mask obligation’, masuku-kyohi ‘mask refusal’, masuku-keisatsu ‘mask police [self-righteous citizens who confront others to point out the improper wearing of their masks]’), related products (masuku-piasu ‘pierced [accessory] for masks’), life (masuku-seikatsu ‘mask life’), policy (masuku-gaikō ‘mask diplomacy’), health/beauty (masuku-are ‘rough dry skin [caused by wearing a] mask’), eating (masuku-kaishoku ‘dining together [while wearing a] mask’), among others.

4.3 X-masuku compounds

Unlike the masuku-Y compounds, the constellation of X-masuku compounds forms a small hierarchy of its own, on the right side of Figure 1, marked by the green rectangle with snipped corners, with the instantiations indicated by the brown rectangle. The first level contains a partially abstract constructional schema, shown in (2).

<[Xi + masuku j]Nk ↔ [maskj related to sem i]k>

In (2), the only concrete item is the information of the head noun, masuku ‘mask’, leaving the semantic relation underspecified as “related to”, and the content of the non-head unspecified as Xi (sem i). I posit this schema because I consider the X-masuku compounds are first grouped into conceptual subcategories, building on an insight from Radden and Panther (2004: 5) – “A compound evokes a conceptual network, or Idealized Cognitive Model (ICM) (Lakoff 1987: 147)” – whereby a compound like screwdriver is associated with a network of concepts such as shape and material, and “certain elements of the ICM [are chosen] as components for the naming process” (2004: 7).

I suggest the term masuku ‘mask’ evokes conceptual ‘mask’ subcategories, such as material and maker. Only a few of these (material, purpose, and manner in the data set) were foregrounded before the pandemic, but more appeared as the pandemic continued, including maker, design, performance, wearer, shape/size, and colour (see Figure 2 for comparison). [4] For instance, the colour category was previously backgrounded because the prototype of Japanese masks is white; therefore, there was no particular need to communicate about the mask’s colour. As the situation changed, however, there was a need to distinguish colour.

Figure 2: 
Examples of X-masuku compounds (2019 vs. 2020) classified into conceptual subcategories.
Figure 2:

Examples of X-masuku compounds (2019 vs. 2020) classified into conceptual subcategories.

I assume each subcategory is defined in terms of a constructional schema, which language users access to coin new X-masuku compounds. Schema (3) shows the schema for the colour category, which leads to new coinage (with a mundane level of creativity), including kuro-masuku ‘black mask’ and pinku-masuku ‘pink mask (to promote cancer awareness)’, the co-hyponyms within the colour subcategory.

<[Xi + masuku j]Nk ↔ [X(colour)i maskj]k>

The dramatic increase in the number of types of X-masuku compounds in the 2020 data suggests the appearances of masks diversified, and most were given new names (see Figure 2), including meishi-masuku [name card-mask], a mask onto which one’s business card is printed in large font, and tēburumanā-masuku [table manner-mask], a mask with a handle to cover nose and mouth when talking while eating. These examples are nonce-compounds, but they give a glimpse into how people strive to adapt to new situations, in this case, innovating new types of masks.

4.4 Blends

Blends refer to “a combination of two or more forms, at least one of which has been shortened in the process of combination” (Algeo 1977: 48), as in brunch < breakfast + lunch. Although there were only 10 types (159 tokens) of blend-based words in the data, one is of great import, as it showcases how new words were born in 2020. The word in question is Abenomasuku (146 tokens),[5] which refers to “one of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s signature COVID-19 policies of distributing two cloth masks per household as stores across the nation faced a shortage” (Osumi 2020). Alternatively, it can refer to the cloth masks themselves. While the coiner remains unknown, social media quickly disseminated “#Abenomasuku” when the policy was announced on 1 April 2020 (Wright 2021: 461). The coinage involved several characteristics that kindled the imagination of the populace: for example, the announcement was taken as an April fool joke; the two-per-household distribution was unwelcome, as it did not help families with three or more members; the mask was too small to cover the entire area of the mouth, nose, and chin.[6] The hash-tagged coinage underscores not only pragmatic motivation, as it satirically criticizes the policy, but also sociocultural motivation, as it represents the group voice of the Japanese citizens who are affected by the lack of masks but are striving to wear them – properly-sized ones.

Abenomasuku appears to be an analogical formation modelled after Abenomikusu ‘Abenomics’,[7] a blend of the family name of the prime minister at the time, ‘Abe’, and the final syllables of economics, as in (4a).[8] It refers to the economic policies implemented by the government led by Mr. Abe and is a mock coinage based on an English “politician’s name + (o)nomics” blend, such as Obamanomics (Obama + economics) and Trumponomics (Trump + economics; cf. Bauer 2006: 77). As seen in (4b), in Japanese orthography, Abenomikusu ‘Abenomics’ is written using katakana (used to represent foreign words), even though the former prime minister’s family name would be normally written in kanji (Chinese characters used for content words), implying that Abenomikusu is conceived as a new independent foreign word.

Abenomikusu < Abe + economics
アベノミクス < 阿部 + エコノミクス
(written in katakana) (written in kanji) (written in katakana)

In Abenomikusu, the element no is simply a phonological sequence that originates in economics, bearing no meaning. But this no is reanalysed as the Japanese genitive particle no (‘of’), creating a possessive phrase – Abe no mikusu, literally ‘Abe’s mikusu’ – even though mikusu is a non-word. Then, mikusu “mics” is replaced by masuku ‘mask’ (a pun based on a coarse phonological similarity between the two), creating a licit noun phrase, Abe no masuku, meaning ‘Abe’s mask’. This phrase would normally be written as “阿部のマスク”, combining kanji for Abe, hiragana (often used to write grammatical elements) for no ‘of’, and katakana for masuku ‘mask’, and pronounced as a phrase with two phonological units, as in [[Abe no] [masuku]].[9] But the newly coined term, Abenomasuku (アベノマスク) is represented by katakana, in parallel with Abenomikusu (アベノミクス), and accented as a word, as in /Abenomasuku/ (with the location of the pitch accent is indicated by the down arrow after the accented vowel /a/).

Notably, Abenomasuku participated in the development of further neologisms. As the Abenomasuku masks started to be circulated, -nomasuku became a “splinter” (Berman 1961: 279):[10] “a part of a word that, due to some reanalysis of the structure of the original word, is interpreted as meaningful, and is then subsequently used in the creation of new words” (Bauer 2006: 77). Differently stated, the splinter -nomasuku was used to create new blends and adopted into a new constructional schema, as in (5).

<[Xi + nomasuku j]Nk ↔ [maskj of Xi]k>
PHON: /(μ…)nomasuku/ (μ = mora)
ORTHOG: katakana

As shown in the second and third lines of (5), the form-meaning representation contains information on phonology and orthography: the sequence is accented as a word, and the entire sequence is to be written in katakana. That language users had knowledge of this schema is evidenced by various new coinage in the data, including seijikanomasuku ‘politician’s mask’ and anenomasuku ‘my sister’s mask’.

As more varieties of the -nomasuku blends circulated among the speech community, further neologisms developed, as in (6a). Although this is a nonce-formation, it should be noted here, as it illuminates another way a network of words expands in response to a newly created sociopolitical/sociocultural environment.

a. <[ame i + tomasuku j]Nk ↔ [candyi and maskj]k>
cf. b. <[Xi + tomasuku j]Nk ↔ [Xi and maskj]k>
PHON: /(μ…)tomasuku/ (μ = mora)
ORTHOG: katakana

Example (6a) shows a creative instantiation of (5), where no, with the literal meaning ‘of’, is replaced by another sequence to, with the literal meaning ‘and’, and X is replaced by ame ‘candy’, creating a new form ametomasuku (アメトマスク) ‘candy-and-mask’. It is a product name (candies and a mask that are gift-packed together), coined by a Japanese sweets company in an attempt to improve in-store sales that plummeted after the “stay home” call from the government.[11]

The linguistic acuity of this coinage is that the coiner not only detected the phonological similarity between Abe and ame ‘candy’ (the company’s product) but also innovated a new variant by replacing the particle-like no with another particle, to ‘and’. This illustrates that the development of a new network of words occurs in two ways. On the one hand, co-hyponyms can be created from a constructional schema by paradigmatically replacing the variable with another word based on (5), and on the other hand, a new word can be created via analogy as in (6a). The eventual circulation of more instances of the same kind can spur the rise of a new constructional schema (6b), leading to potential coinage of co-hyponyms of (6a), such as mametomasuku ‘beans and masks’ (unattested), as a name for bean sweets gift-packed with a mask.

A graphic representation of the processes creating ametomasuku from the English X-(o)nomics blends is shown in Figure 3: the part above the thick line represents the pre-pandemic word formation, and the part below the thick line represents the mid-pandemic evolution of -nomasuku blends.[12]

Figure 3: 
Partial sketch of expansion of nomasuku blends.
Figure 3:

Partial sketch of expansion of nomasuku blends.

5 Conclusions

This paper has examined how COVID-19 impacted the use of a well-entrenched word in Japanese, masuku ‘mask’, drawing on data from an online newspaper. The use of complex words with masuku ‘mask’ dramatically increased in 2020 compared to 2019, in both type and token frequency. Interpreting the increase in type frequency as a development of word network, I used construction morphology (Booij 2010a) to sketch out how the word network expanded. Compounding was the most pervasive means to expand the network, with expansion both vertically and horizontally, under the node for right-headed compounds (Figure 1). The vertical expansion, realized in the X-masuku compounds, was mediated by the creation of new conceptual subcategories of masks, such as wearer and colour, within each of which new hyponyms of masuku ‘mask’ were added (e.g., kuro-masuku ‘black mask’ under colour). The horizontal expansion, realized in the masuku-Y compounds, was motivated by a need to communicate about the diversified or adjusted activities, concepts, and products in response to a new situation, reflected in the manifold syntagmatic relations between masuku and Y (the head), adding new co-hyponyms (e.g., masuku-kēsu ‘mask case’) to pre-existing compounds. Complex words with masuku also appeared as blends in the network originating in Abenomikusu ‘Abenomics’, illustrating a different route wherein a playful language can evoke change (Figure 3).

The data were from an online newspaper – a formally written language source. Seeking other sources with less formal language could reveal different variations of complex words with masuku ‘mask’. The scope of this paper is further limited, as it discusses complex words with masuku ‘mask’ only. Nevertheless, it sheds new light on how an existing entrenched word participates in creating new complex words and how linguistic creativity, be it mundane or exceptional, emerges in the context of a new social, political, and cultural environment. At least in Japanese, compounding proves vital in developing a network of words; it is an economical and versatile tool that allows language users to aptly communicate a new meaning in a timely manner by simply combining two words, a point ironically foregrounded with the emergence of the pandemic (cf. Gibbs 2021).

Corresponding author: Kiyoko Toratani, Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University, S546 Ross Building, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada, E-mail:


I am grateful to valuable comments by an anonymous reviewer to improve the quality of the paper. I thank Elizabeth Thompson and Tim Curnow for their editorial assistance.

Appendix: Complete list of complex words with masuku ‘mask’ in the 2020 data

Item # X-masuku compounds Translation No. of tokens
1 nuno-masuku ‘cloth mask’ 442
2 tezukuri-masuku ‘handmade mask’ 96
3 iryōyō-masuku ‘mask for medical use’ 68
4 nunosei-masuku ‘mask made of cloth’ 34
5 tsukaisute-masuku ‘disposable mask’ 31
6 N95-masuku ‘N95 mask’ 24
7 fushokufu-masuku ‘unwoven mask’ 20
8 kōseinō-masuku ‘high quality mask’ 13
9 sājikaru-masuku ‘surgical mask’ 12
10 kōkinō-masuku ‘high functionality mask’ 12
11 kodomoyō-masuku ‘mask for children’ 10
12 orijinaru-masuku ‘original mask’ 8
13 bichiku-masuku ‘reserved mask’ 8
14 kan’i-masuku ‘simplified mask’ 7
15 tōmei-masuku ‘transparent mask’ 7
16 ninpuyō-masuku ‘mask for pregnant women’ 6
17 gāze-masuku ‘gauze mask’ 5
18 natsuyō-masuku ‘mask for summer’ 5
19 rittai-masuku ‘three-dimensional mask’ 5
20 eisei-masuku ‘hygiene mask’ 5
21 hin’yari-masuku ‘nice and cold mask’ 4
22 meishi-masuku ‘name card mask’ 4
23 ninpumuke-masuku ‘mask designed for pregnant women’ 4
24 ago-masuku ‘chin mask’ 3
25 feisu-masuku ‘face mask’ 3
26 shiyōzumi-masuku ‘used mask’ 3
27 hiyashi-masuku ‘cooling mask’ 3
28 iryō-masuku ‘medical mask’ 3
29 kokusan-masuku ‘mask made in Japan’ 3
30 natsu-masuku ‘summer mask’ 3
31 kateiyō-masuku ‘mask for family use’ 3
32 shihan-masuku ‘masks on the market’ 3
33 jishasei-masuku ‘mask made in house’ 3
34 eko-masuku ‘eco-mask’ 2
35 kamata-masuku ‘Kamata mask’ 2
36 gifuto-masuku ‘gift mask’ 2
37 tēburumanā-masuku ‘table manner mask’ 2
38 denimu-masuku ‘denim mask’ 2
39 mizuno-masuku ‘Mizuno mask’ 2
40 yuniquro-masuku ‘Uniqlo mask’ 2
41 kodomomuke-masuku ‘masks for children’ 2
42 seifu-masuku ‘government mask’ 2
43 mishiyō-masuku ‘unused mask’ 2
44 mizugi-masuku ‘mask made from bathing suit material’ 2
45 tokuchū-masuku ‘made-to-order mask’ 2
46 tokusei-masuku ‘specially made mask’ 2
47 kimono-masuku ‘mask made from kimono’ 2
48 kami-masuku ‘paper mask’ 2
49 shokuin’yō-masuku ‘mask for staff’ 2
50 aizome-masuku ‘indigo-dyed mask’ 2
51 inshokuyō-masuku ‘mask for drinking and eating’ 2
52 asa-masuku ‘linen mask’ 2
53 okaeshi-masuku ‘masks as a gift “in return” (for receiving something)’ 1
54 hottosan-masuku ‘“Hottosan” (name of a city mascot) mask’ 1
55 hotosangāze-masuku ‘“Hottosan gauze” mask’ 1
56 chisanchishō-masuku ‘mask “locally produced and locally used”’ 1
57 tairyōbata-masuku ‘mask made from “flags to celebrate a large catch of fish”’ 1
58 nihonganbare-masuku ‘“Go-Japan-go” mask’ 1
59 IKE-masuku ‘IKE mask’ 1
60 P2-masuku ‘P2 mask’ 1
61 ainumoyō-masuku ‘Ainu pattern mask’ 1
62 uōtā-masuku ‘water mask’ (with a wettable inner sheet) 1
63 oshare-masuku ‘fashionable mask’ 1
64 otesei-masuku ‘handmade mask’ 1
65 otegaru-masuku ‘easy-to-make mask’ 1
66 karafuru-masuku ‘colourful mask’ 1
67 samā-masuku ‘summer mask’ 1
68 shāpu-masuku ‘Sharp mask’ 1
69 shāpusei-masuku ‘mask made by Sharp’ 1
70 shirukukotton-masuku ‘silk cotton mask’ 1
71 zonbi-masuku ‘zombie mask’ 1
72 nanofaibā-masuku ‘nanofiber mask’ 1
73 nanofaibāsei-masuku ‘mask made from nanofiber’ 1
74 noizī-masuku ‘noisy mask’ (named after a movie, Mrs. Noisy) 1
75 hankachi-masuku ‘mask made from a handkerchief’ 1
76 handomeido-masuku ‘handmade mask’ 1
77 pinku-masuku ‘pink mask’ 1
78 fingā-masuku ‘finger (operated) mask’ 1
79 feisushīrudotsuki-masuku ‘mask with a face shield’ 1
80 ferutosei-masuku ‘mask made from felt’ 1
81 purītsugata-masuku ‘pleated style mask’ 1
82 furoidekun-masuku ‘Mr. Froide mask’ 1
83 berumāre-masuku ‘Bellmare mask’ 1
84 mai-masuku ‘mask (for) my (own use)’ 1
85 mairyūLOVE-masuku ‘Mairyū (name of a character) LOVE mask’ 1
86 mini-masuku ‘mini mask’ 1
87 megane-masuku ‘mask for glasses (wearers)’ 1
88 yamashinfirutā-masuku ‘Yamashin filter masks’ 1
89 ran-masuku ‘mask for running’ 1
90 rogoiri-masuku ‘mask with a logo’ 1
91 ippan’yō-masuku ‘masks for the public’ 1
92 chūgoku-masuku ‘masks from China’ 1
93 kurumegasuri-masuku ‘mask made from Kurume cloth with splashed patterns’ 1
94 nijū-masuku ‘double mask’ 1
95 kaigoshietsumuke-masuku ‘masks for nursing homes’ 1
96 isezakimeisen-masuku ‘Isezakimeisen (silk) mask’ 1
97 hoyū-masuku ‘possessed masks’ 1
98 koseiha-masuku ‘distinctive masks’ 1
99 nise-masuku ‘fake masks’ 1
100 kōtarō-masuku ‘Kotaro mask’ 1
101 seishikin-masuku ‘masks that prevent virus’ 1
102 shōbu-masuku ‘masks that bring a victory’ 1
103 jukeisha-masuku ‘mask made by inmates’ 1
104 taiwan-masuku ‘mask from Taiwan’ 1
105 namaeiri-masuku ‘mask with names’ 1
106 wa-masuku ‘Japanese style mask’ 1
107 wagara-masuku ‘mask with Japanese patterns’ 1
108 enjiyō-masuku ‘mask for kindergarten children’ 1
109 chiikigentei-masuku ‘region-specific mask’ 1
110 kisekinoipponmatsu-masuku ‘The Miracle Pine Tree mask’ 1
111 ninpu-masuku ‘mask for pregnant women’ 1
112 anshin-masuku ‘masks (that make one feel) relieved’ 1
113 yamazumi-masuku ‘mask piled-up high’ 1
114 kyodai-masuku ‘gigantic mask’ 1
115 heimen-masuku ‘flat mask’ 1
116 tenugui-masuku ‘hand-towel mask’ 1
117 temochi-masuku ‘mask in stock’ 1
118 kōkin-masuku ‘antibacterial mask’ 1
119 saishin-masuku ‘the latest model mask’ 1
120 shōken-masuku ‘mask made of pure silk’ 1
121 hade-masuku ‘showy mask’ 1
122 tokushu-masuku ‘special mask’ 1
123 hacchū-masuku ‘mask on order’ 1
124 shiro-masuku ‘white mask’ 1
125 rittaisei-masuku ‘three-dimensionally shaped mask’ 1
126 tsutsujō-masuku ‘tube-shaped mask’ 1
127 kamisei-masuku ‘mask made of paper’ 1
128 tsumugi-masuku ‘mask made from pongee’ 1
129 kyūshoku-masuku ‘mask to serve lunch’ 1
130 taisui-masuku ‘waterproof mask’ 1
131 nijiiro-masuku ‘rainbow colour mask’ 1
132 nishijin’ori-masuku ‘mask made from Nishijin brocade’ 1
133 akachan’yō-masuku ‘mask for babies’ 1
134 tabikiji-masuku ‘mask made from split-toe socks’ 1
135 tensha-masuku ‘mask with the person’s own smile printed’ 1
136 tenbai-masuku ‘resold mask’ 1
137 yunyū-masuku ‘imported mask’ 1
138 haifu-masuku ‘distributed mask’ 1
139 shokujiyō-masuku ‘mask for dining’ 1
140 kōhinshitsu-masuku ‘high quality mask’ 1
141 shikagawa-masuku ‘mask made from deer leather’ 1
142 asasei-masuku ‘mask made from linen’ 1
143 kuro-masuku ‘black mask’ 1
144 hanadashi-masuku ‘nose revealing mask’ 1
Item # Masuku-Y compounds Translation No. of tokens
1 masuku-chakuyō ‘wearing of a mask’ 902
2 masuku-sugata ‘figure with a mask’ 598
3 masuku-busoku ‘mask shortage’ 151
4 masuku-zukuri ‘mask making’ 39
5 masuku-haifu ‘distribution of a mask’ 34
6 masuku-kaishoku ‘dining together while wearing a mask’ 31
7 masuku-nashi ‘without a mask’ 31
8 masuku-gaikō ‘mask diplomacy’ 29
9 masuku-seisan ‘mask production’ 18
10 masuku-seikatsu ‘mask life’ 14
11 masuku-zōsan ‘a production increase of masks’ 13
12 masuku-hanbai ‘mask sales’ 13
13 masuku-posuto ‘mask donation box’ 12
14 masuku-juyō ‘mask demand’ 12
15 masuku-seizō ‘mask production’ 10
16 masuku-kabā ‘mask cover’ 9
17 masuku-kōnyūken ‘mask purchase ticket’ 9
18 masuku-kēsu ‘mask case’ 8
19 masuku-mēkā ‘mask maker’ 6
20 masuku-kyohi ‘mask refusal’ 6
21 masuku-kakuho ‘securing masks’ 6
22 masuku-horudā ‘mask holder’ 5
23 masuku-fuchakuyō ‘not wearing a mask’ 5
24 masuku-shinausu ‘low mask stock’ 5
25 masuku-sōchaku ‘wearing of a mask’ 5
26 masuku-keisatsu ‘mask police’ 5
27 masuku-kōnyūken ‘mask purchasing ticket’ 5
28 masuku-chīmu ‘mask team’ 4
29 masuku-kyōkyū ‘mask supply’ 4
30 masuku-kizō ‘mask donation’ 4
31 masuku-teikyō ‘offering of masks’ 4
32 masuku-bunka ‘mask culture’ 4
33 masuku-michakuyō ‘mask not worn’ 4
34 masuku-gimu ‘mask obligation’ 4
35 masuku-kitto ‘mask kit’ 3
36 masuku-sōdatsusen ‘scrambles for masks’ 3
37 masuku-gawari ‘mask alternatives’ 3
38 masuku-kakaku ‘mask price’ 3
39 masuku-uriba ‘mask sales floor’ 3
40 masuku-kifu ‘mask donation’ 3
41 masuku-kōjō ‘mask factory’ 3
42 masuku-chōtatsu ‘mask procurement’ 3
43 masuku-yushutsu ‘mask export’ 3
44 masuku-gao ‘mask face’ 3
45 masuku-1guranpuri ‘mask-1-grand prix’ 2
46 masuku-juerī ‘mask jewellery’ 2
47 masuku-zukan ‘mask pictorial book’ 2
48 masuku-banku ‘mask bank’ 2
49 masuku-bando ‘straps for masks’ 2
50 masuku-purojekuto ‘mask project’ 2
51 masuku-rabo ‘mask laboratory’ 2
52 masuku-jijō ‘mask circumstances’ 2
53 masuku-jigyō ‘mask business’ 2
54 masuku-shiyō ‘mask use’ 2
55 masuku-iri ‘a mask contained’ 2
56 masuku-nyūshu ‘obtaining a mask’ 2
57 masuku-nyūka ‘mask delivery’ 2
58 masuku-ken ‘mask tickets’ 2
59 masuku-sen’yō ‘exclusive use for masks’ 2
60 masuku-tettei ‘invariable wearing of masks’ 2
61 masuku-shien ‘mask support’ 2
62 masuku-yake ‘(unevenly) tanned (face from wearing a) mask’ 2
63 masuku-hatsubai ‘mask sales’ 2
64 masuku-are ‘rough dry skin (caused by wearing a) mask’ 2
65 masuku-tenbai ‘mask resale’ 2
66 masuku-kanren ‘mask-related’ 2
67 masuku-hichakuyō ‘mask non-wearing’ 2
68 masuku-kazari ‘mask accessory’ 2
69 masuku-furī ‘free from wearing a mask’ 1
70 masuku-NG ‘not wearing a mask’ 1
71 masuku-āto ‘mask art’ 1
72 masuku-innā ‘inner sheets of masks’ 1
73 masuku-echiketto ‘mask etiquette’ 1
74 masuku-kīpā ‘mask keeper’ 1
75 masuku-korekushon ‘mask collection’ 1
76 masuku-saizu ‘mask size’ 1
77 masuku-charenji ‘mask challenge’ 1
78 masuku-piasu ‘pierced accessory for masks’ 1
79 masuku-bijinesu ‘mask business’ 1
80 masuku-himo ‘mask strap’ 1
81 masuku-hea ‘hair style for masks’ 1
82 masuku-beruto ‘mask belt’ 1
83 masuku-raifu ‘mask life’ 1
84 masuku-fuyō ‘mask, unnecessary’ 1
85 masuku-sekai ‘mask world’ 1
86 masuku-daikin ‘cost of mask’ 1
87 masuku-izon ‘mask dependency’ 1
88 masuku-gire ‘mask shortage’ 1
89 masuku-tōchaku ‘mask arrival’ 1
90 masuku-seisaku ‘mask production’ 1
91 masuku-reikou ‘strict adherence to mask (wearing)’ 1
92 masuku-torihiki ‘dealings of masks’ 1
93 masuku-shuzai ‘interviews on masks’ 1
94 masuku-mondai ‘mask issues’ 1
95 masuku-jizō ‘a Jizo statue wearing a mask’ 1
96 masuku-katawaku ‘a mould for mask shape’ 1
97 masuku-katagami ‘paper pattern for masks’ 1
98 masuku-uriwatashi ‘selling masks (over to someone)’ 1
99 masuku-daisakusen ‘major strategy on masks’ 1
100 masuku-taikyoku ‘a game of shogi wearing a mask’ 1
101 masuku-senmon ‘mask specialization’ 1
102 masuku-tenji ‘mask display’ 1
103 masuku-haiki ‘mask disposal’ 1
104 masuku-hitsubi ‘necessity of stocking masks’ 1
105 masuku-hicchaku ‘necessity of wearing masks’ 1
106 masuku-hissū ‘obligatory wearing of masks’ 1
107 masuku-kaigiron ‘scepticism about wearing a mask’ 1
108 masuku-sagashi ‘mask search’ 1
109 masuku-oshi ‘fans wearing a mask’ 1
110 masuku-shikyū ‘providing a mask’ 1
111 masuku-sū ‘the number of masks’ 1
112 masuku-bae ‘(someone) who looks good with a mask’ 1
113 masuku-jidai ‘mask era’ 1
114 masuku-jōrei ‘mask regulations’ 1
115 masuku-gyōkai ‘mask industries’ 1
116 masuku-hanbai ‘mask sales’ 1
117 masuku-hassō ‘mask dispatch’ 1
118 masuku-kinshihō ‘mask prohibition law’ 1
119 masuku-kanri ‘mask management’ 1
120 masuku-jihanki ‘mask vending machine’ 1
121 masuku-gyōretsu ‘queues (to buy) masks’ 1
122 masuku-hyōmen ‘mask surface’ 1
123 masuku-seisaku ‘mask creation’ 1
124 masuku-seihin ‘products related to masks’ 1
125 masuku-seihō ‘mask manufacturing method’ 1
126 masuku-yōsei ‘mask request’ 1
127 masuku-shiten ‘from the perspective of (wearing) a mask’ 1
128 masuku-dangi ‘discussion on masks’ 1
129 masuku-ronsō ‘debate on masks’ 1
130 masuku-zōtei ‘giving masks’ 1
131 masuku-ato ‘marks (created from wearing) a mask’ 1
132 masuku-yusō ‘mask transportation’ 1
133 masuku-tsuika ‘additional (order of) masks’ 1
134 masuku-undō ‘mask campaign’ 1
135 masuku-erabi ‘mask selection’ 1
136 masuku-bubun ‘mask parts’ 1
137 masuku-haikyū ‘mask supply’ 1
138 masuku-ryō ‘mask volume’ 1
139 masuku-kaihatsu ‘mask development’ 1
140 masuku-chinretsu ‘mask display’ 1
141 masuku-shūdan ‘a group of people wearing a mask’ 1
142 masuku-roten ‘street stalls (selling) masks’ 1
143 masuku-rui ‘items related to masks’ 1
Item # Masuku + suffix words Translation No. of tokens
1 masuku-goshi ‘over the mask’ 49
2 masuku-yō ‘for masks’ 5
3 masuku-hen ‘mask version’ 3
4 masuku-nai ‘inside the mask’ 2
5 masuku-shita ‘under the mask’ 1
6 masuku-nami ‘the same level as the mask’ 1
Item # Prefix + masuku words Translation No. of tokens
1 datsu-Abenomasuku ‘exit-from Abe’s mask’ 2
2 datsu-masuku ‘exit-from mask’ 2
Item # Blends Translation No. of tokens
1 Abenomasuku ‘Abe’s mask’ 146
2 urikomishimasuku ‘I-will-sell-mask’ 2
3 sekkyakushimasuku ‘I-will-wait-on-clients-mask’ 2
4 eigyōshimasuku ‘I-will-do-business-mask’ 1
5 atashinomasuku ‘my mask’ 1
6 anenomasuku ‘my sister’s mask’ 1
7 seijikanomasuku ‘politician’s mask’ 1
8 nabenomasuku ‘(Wata)nabe’s masks’ (name of a shogi player) 1
9 komanomasuku ‘masks with (shogi) pieces printed on them’ 2
10 ametomasuku ‘candy and mask’ 2


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Received: 2021-12-09
Accepted: 2022-11-22
Published Online: 2023-05-22

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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