And kanji with manga
Friday, October 14, 2016

kare 彼, Meaning in Japanese: He, Him, Boyfriend

In Japanese, kare means either "he," "him," a male third person pronoun, or "boyfriend," kareshi 彼氏.

It's the male counterpart of kanojo 彼女, "she," "her," "girlfriend."

Third Person Pronoun

The word kare 彼 is a masculine third person pronoun. Its plural form would be:

  • kare wa Tarou desu
    は太郎です
    He is Tarou.
  • kare wo tasukeru
    を助ける
    To help him.
  • kare-ra

    He and the others. They.
    (plural.)
  • kare-tachi
    彼達
    (same meaning, less common.)
  • kare no

    His.
    (no-adjective.)
  • kare-ra no
    彼らの
    Their.
    Theirs.

Japanese is a pro-drop language, so it's not necessary to use kare in some places we'd use "he" in English, if it's implicit whom we're talking about. For example, in the answer for a question:

  • Tarou wa nani wo shite-iru?
    太郎は何をしている?
    What is Tarou doing?
  • benkyou shite-iru
    勉強している
    [Tarou] is studying.
    [He] is studying.
    • kare wa benkyou shite-iru
      は勉強している
      He is studying.
      (same meaning.)
よかったー は? 私は生まれて五千年初めて自分の血を見ました 太公望・・・私は彼をライバルに決定します
Manga: Houshin Engi 封神演義 (Chapter 1, 封神の書)
  • Context: Shinkouhyou 申公豹 blasts Taikoubou 太公望 with a powerful attack, who retaliates, giving Shinkouyou a little cut in the cheek. Shinkouyou asks his cat to check if Taikoubou survived, and then, after confirming he survived the attack:
  • yokatta~
    よかったー
    [That's a relief].
  • ha?
    は?
    Hah? (the cat doesn't get why he's relieved the guy he was going to kill is still alive.)
  • watashi wa
    umarete go-sen-nen
    hajimete
    jibun no chi wo
    mimashita

    私は生まれて五千年初めて自分の血を見ました
    In the five thousand years [I] have been born [it] is the first time I've seen [my] own blood.
  • Taikoubou...
    太公望・・・
    (character name.)
  • watashi wa kare wo
    raibaru ni
    kettei shimasu

    私はをライバルに決定します
    I've decided that he is [my] rival.
    (performative verb.)

"Boyfriend" in Japanese

The word kare 彼 also means "boyfriend" in Japanese. The word kareshi 彼氏 is sometimes preferred, in order to avoid confusion.

  • watashi no kare
    私の
    My him. (wrong.)
    My boyfriend. (right.)
  • kare wa iru?
    はいる?
    Is he here? (locative.)
    Do [you] have a boyfriend? (possessive.)
    (existence verb.)
    • kare wa koko ni iru
      はここにいる
      "He exists here."
      He is here.
    • watashi wa kare ga inai
      私はがいない
      I don't have a boyfriend.
      (double subject construction.)
    • watashi wa {kare ga inai} to ikite-ikenai
      私はがいないと生きていけない
      If {he isn't [around]}, I can't go on living.
      I can't go on living if he isn't around.
      I can't live without him.
  • atarashii kare ga dekita
    新しいができた
    [I] made a new boyfriend.
  • mae no kare
    前の
    The boyfriend of before. (literally.)
    [My] previous boyfriend.

Sometimes, the word is spelled with katakana.

  • moto-kare
    カレ
    Former boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend.
ねー 彼氏ってどうしたらできんのかなぁー
Manga: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou 男子高校生の日常 (Volume 1, 女子高生は異常)
  • nee, kareshi tte dou shitara dekin-no ka naaa
    ねー 彼氏ってどうしたらできんのかなぁー
    Hey, what does [one] have to do to make a boyfriend?

Kanji

The kanji of kare 彼 sometimes appears in other words. Its meaning is the same as the a~ あ~ morpheme in kosoado words.

  • kono chi
    この地
    This land.
  • ano chi
    あの地
    That land.
  • kanochi
    彼の地
    (same meaning as above.)

Originally, kare かれ meant the same thing as ano hito あの人, "that person." In old Japanese, kare かれ is synonymous with are あれ, "that," in the sense of that thing, rather than that person.(kobun.weblio.jp)

Some other words:

  • kanojo
    彼女
    She.
    • onna

      Woman.
  • kanata
    彼方
    That direction. Over there.

References

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