Etymology-Tsundoku, 積ん読つどく.

When doing research for this word, i was kind of surprised how popular it’s becoming. There were quite a few articles about this word already this year. I didn’t know if i should even use it but its such a beautiful word i couldn’t help myself.


Tsundoku is a Japanese word for when you buy a book, then leave it unread in a pile of other unread books. I am plenty guilty of this.

Tsundoku breaks down like this, Tsundoku comes from the word Tsundeoku, ( んでおく : To leave piled up) and  Dokusho, (読書どくしょ  : Reading). 



Tsundoku comes from the Meiji era of japan, that’s the time period between 1868-1912. During that time it meant simply “reading pile”. The Meiji era was a time of change and rapid growth for japan. The nation desperately wanted to be a power much like the western world. During this time the gap between classes was dissolving. This is the time period were the Samurai lost their value. As equality spread, the samurai lost their privileges, money, and esteem. Japan saw many human rights laws being passed like religious freedom in 1873.

Mandatory schooling became a thing as well. The country as a whole modeled it self after France and Germany (evidence of this can still be seen in a lot of art and shows that are German or french centered.)

This is when Tsundoku really takes hold and roots it self firmly in a new Japan.

If your an avid book reader im sure you are guilty of Tsundoku. Its something Im super guilty of. I have maybe 40-60 left unread but it doesn’t prevent me from buying and reading books. Its a mild form of hording but its ok with me.

If you want to use Tsundoku in your everyday life just know its a Noun, and could be used like…..

I need a new place to put my Tsundoku.

Im going to buy some more books for my Tsundoku. 

I hope you love this word as much as I do and use it to show off all your yet to be read books at home. May your Tsundoku pile grow and your read books over flow.