I first heard this word when I was in high school. Impressed by its brilliant connotation, I began to use it on every occasion.
Then, when I entered university, I was profoundly inspired again by the excellent Japanese translation of a senior from mainland Japan. Since then, it has become my life motto.
And today, as I am writing columns about the islands in the corner of Okinawa, naturally I chose this word as the title of the first compilation of my columns. As a sidenote, its title was Uchi-Atai no Hibi (Days of Uchi-Atai). At its publication celebration party, a friend and a musician, Rolly (a rock musician from Koza; the son of Fukuhara Tsunewo1), wrote and sang a rock-a-ballad “Uchi-Atai no Hibi” for us. It sang about the heart of a little flirty man—unrelated to me personally—but it’s a very nice song. He still sings it sometimes at his live performances.
As you can see, the term uchi-atai has become inseparable from my life. Now, let’s get on to its meaning. Its direct translation is “bruised inside”. For example, although you are talking about something that is unrelated to yourself, somehow the content of the conversation feels so relatable, and you cannot but regret or remorse: such psychological state is uchi-atai. In other words, to feel deeply ashamed in one’s heart. You will be slightly shocked on the inside; it is never something said directly, but only indirectly. No one would know that you are bruised inside unless you declare it yourself. And, I, cannot but say “Uchi-atai sussā” (I just had an uchi-atai.)
Indeed, living is full of things that uchi-atai me day by day. In high school, I never thought that I would be bruised this much.
- FUKUHARA Tsunewo (1932~2022) Composer, music producer. “Bashō-fu” is one of the masterpieces among the Fukuhara melodies.