切ない (Setsunai): When You Need a Word to Hold Both Sorrow and Joy. Setsunai implies something once bright, now faded. It is the painful twinge at the edge of a memory, the joy in the knowledge that everything is temporary. Perhaps, then implicit in setsunai is the way the passage of time eventually draws a thin line of blood, of pain, across even the roundest, fullest happiness. Read more to find out how joy and sorrow are inextricably connected.