Wednesday, February 27, 2019

naka ga ii 仲がいい

In Japanese, naka ga ii 仲がいい means somebody is in good terms with somebody else, that they're friends, colleagues, that they have a "good relationship." Literally, it's the word naka 仲, "relationship," plus the i-adjective ii いい, "good," so it means "relationship is good."

It's also spelled naka ga ii 仲がいい. A synonymous variant is naka ga yoi 仲がよい. The homonym naka ga ii 中がいい means "inside is good" instead.


The word naka 仲 literally means "relationship," but in English when we say "relationship" it always sounds like we're talking about romantic relationships, which isn't what this word is about.

The word naka is a much more generic term for relationship. Just like the word nakama 仲間 sounds like it's about friends but it isn't, it's about a much more generic sort of relationship.

その「長名さん」っていうのやめてくれよ。 ボクと只野くんの仲じゃないか。 昔みたいに「なじみ」って呼んでくれ。 ピョコピョコ
Manga: Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. 古見さんは、コミュ症です。 (Chapter 10, 黒歴史です)
  • Context: a childhood friend of Tadano 只野 wants to be called on first-name basis, without a honorific suffix.
  • sono "Osana-san" tte iu no
    yamete kure yo.

    Please stop with that "Osana-san."
    • Stop calling me "Osana-san"
  • boku to Tadano-kun no naka janai ka.
    It's mine and Tadano's relationship, isn't it?
    • It's our relationship, isn't it?
    • Osana-san means they don't have a cold, distant, family-name basis relationship, they have an intimate, friendly, first-name basis relationship.
  • pyoko-pyoko
    *[hair] bounce bounce* (mimetic word.)
  • mukashi mitai ni
    "Najimi" tte
    yonde kure.

    Like old times, call me "Najimi."

So when naka ga ii is used, it just means two people don't hate each other. It can mean they're good colleagues, buddies. It can mean they're good friends. It can even imply two people are dating. It's just... their relationship is good. That's all.

Sometimes, in anime, you'll see naka ga ii used when two characters are actually fighting, but not in a kung-fu fighting way, more like in a "you baka!" way. Maybe they're rivals. Maybe there's a tsundere involved.

Anyway, it's kind of a trope to have a bystander make fun of their love-hate rom-com relationship by saying they don't hate each other when they wish they did.
  • naka ga ii na
    The relationship is good, huh!
    • I see you're in good terms!
  • naka ii na
    (abbreviation of the above.)

Naka ga Warui 仲が悪い

The phrase naka ga warui 仲が悪い means two people hate each other, that they're in bad terms, that they had a fight over something and they're angry with each other. Literally, it means "relationship is bad," since warui 悪い, means "bad."

A synonymous variant is:

Sometimes the negative forms of the respective adjectives are used instead:
  • naka ga yokunai
    [Their] relationship isn't good.
  • naka ga warukunai
    [Their] relationship isn't bad.


Since naka ga ii 仲がいい already has naka 仲 as the subject marked by the ga が particle, in order to elaborate whose relationship is good or bad we use the topic marking particle wa は instead. For example:
  • futari wa naka ga ii 二人は仲がいい
    About two people: relationship is good.
    As for the two of them, the relationship is good.
    Their relationship is good.
  • futari wa naka ga warui 二人は仲が悪い
    About two people: relationship is bad.
    As for the two of them, the relationship is bad.
    Their relationship is bad.

Note that even though it translates to "their" in the end it's not literally a possessive, you simply may choose to interpret it as a possessive.

In fact, you can actually turn it into a possessive no-adjective so it becomes closer to English, but this usage is less common than just using the topic marker.
  • futari no naka ga ii 二人の仲がいい
    The two people's relationship is good.
    Their relationship is good.
  • futari no naka ga warui 二人の仲が悪い
    The two people's relationship is bad.
    Their relationship is bad.

Naka ga Yokatta 仲が良かった

The phrase naka ga yokatta 仲が良かった means that "the relationship was good." Literally conjugated to the past. This sort of phrase is often used regrettably, like when two people were in good terms before, but now they've broken up.
  • ano futari wa anna ni naka ga yokatta noni
    About those two people: even though the relationship was that good.
    Even though those two were in such good terms.
    • noni のに
      Sometimes expresses regret, lament, frustration, when shows up at the end of the phrase.
  • naka ga warukatta kedo ima wa naka ga ii
    The relationship was bad but now the relationship is good.

Naka no ii 仲のいい

When the phrase naka ga ii 仲がいい is an adjective for a noun, it technically becomes a relative clause, since it has its own case marking particle, the ga が. Because it's a relative clause, the ga が particle may be replaced by the subject marking particle no.
  • naka ga ii hito 仲がいい
    naka no ii hito 仲のいい人
    naka ga ii ko 仲がいい
    naka no ii ko 仲のいい子
    A person [whose] relationship is good.
    A person with whom you have a good relationship.
  • naka ga warui hito 仲が悪い人
    naka no warui hito 仲の悪い人
    naka ga warui ko 仲が悪い子
    naka no warui ko 仲の悪い子
    A person [whose] relationship is bad.
    A person with whom you have a bad relationship.

Naka Yoshi 仲良し

Another way to say two people are amicable to each other is naka yoshi 仲良し. This yoshi 良し usually means "alright," but it's technically a predicative form of an older form of ii いい. An example:
  • minna naka yoshi みんな仲良し
    Everybody relationship good.
    Everybody is in good terms.
    We're all friends.
  • ano futari wa naka yoshi あの二人は仲良し
    About those two: good relationship.
    Those two are friends.

The word can also be turned into a na-adjective:
  • naka yoshi na tomodachi 仲良しな友達
    Friends [with whom your] relationship is good.
    Friends [whose] relationship is good.
  • naka yoshi na fuufu 仲良しな夫婦
    A husband and wife [whose] relationship is good.
    A husband and wife [with whom your] relationship is good.

Naka ga Yosasou 仲が良さそう

The phrase naka ga yosasou 仲が良さそう means "it seems the relationship is good." It's used when it looks like two people have a good relationship. You aren't asserting they have one, you're just saying what it looks like.
  • naka ga yosasou da 仲が良さそうだ
    It seems it's a good relationship.
    [You two] seem to be good friends.
  • naka ga warusou da 仲が悪そうだ
    It seems it's a bad relationship.
    [Those two] seem to have had a fight.

Like any word with the sou suffix attached to it, yosasou 良さそう can become a na-adjective, in which case it turns the phrase into a relative clause, which lets we switch ga が by no の.
  • naka ga yosasou na kappuru
    naka no yosasou na kappuru
    A couple [whose] relationship seems good.
  • naka ga warusou na kappuru
    naka no warusou na kappuru
    A couple [whose] relationship seems bad.

Naka Yoku 仲良く

The phrase naka yoku 仲良く has ii いい in its adverbial form, yoku 良く, which means it modifies a verb instead of qualifying a noun. In this form, it's normally used in two specific ways:

Naka Yoku Naru 仲良くなる

First, naka yoku naru 仲良くなる, which means "to become so the relationship is good." Or, in other words, "to become in good terms," "to become amicable," "to become friends," and so on.

The verb "to become," naru なる may also be conjugated:
  • naka yoku natta 仲良くなった
    Became so the relationship was good.
    Became a good relationship.
    They became friends.
  • naka yoku naritai 仲良くなりたい
    Want to become a good relationship.
    I want to be friends with [you].
    • If the relationship became bad recently:
    • I want to fix our relationship, our friendship, etc.
  • naka waruku naru 仲悪くなる
    To become so the relationship is bad.
    To become a bad relationship.
    They stop being friends.
    They have a fight.
    They break up.
  • naka waruku natta 仲悪くなった
    Became so the relationship was bad.
    Became a bad relationship.
    They stopped being friends.
    They had a fight.
    They broke up.

Naka Yoku Suru 仲良くする

Second, naka yoku suru 仲良くする, which means "to make it a good relationship." Basically,, it's same thing as naka yoku naru, except that with naru we're simply stating the fact that it becomes, or became, so, with suru we're expressing our motivation to make it become so.

We'll do it. We'll make it so.
  • naka yoku suru 仲良くする
    To make so the relationship is good.
    To make it become a good relationship.
    To become friends. (deliberately.)
    To make peace.
  • naka yoku shita 仲良くした
    Made so the relationship was good.
    Became a good relationship.
    Became friends.
    Made piece.
  • naka yoku shitai 仲良くしたい
    Want to make so the relationship is good.
    I want to become friends [with you].
    I want to make peace.
  • naka yoku shite kudasai 仲良くして下さい
    Please become friends.
    Please make peace, [you two].
    Please [don't fight].
  • naka yoku shite hoshii 仲良くしてほしい
    I want [you] to be friends [with him].
    I want [you] to make peace [with him].
  • naka yoku shiro 仲良くしろ
    naka yoku shinasai 仲良くしなさい
    • >: C
    • Imperative form.
  • naka yoku shitenai 仲良くしてない
    Haven't made peace [yet].

Naka Naori 仲直り

The phrase naka naori 仲直り means "fixing relationship." It's from the verb naoru 直る, "to fix," in the sense of making it the way it was before. So these two phrases mean the same thing:
  • naka yoku suru 仲良くする
    naka naori suru 仲直りする
    To make peace.

Naka Tagai 仲違い

On the other hand we have naka tagai 仲違い, meaning "souring relationship." It's from the verb tagau 違う, meaning "to discord with." Note that it's homonym with chigau 違う, "to differ," but it's not the same verb. Anyway, these two phrases mean the same thing:
  • naka waruku suru 仲悪くする
    naka tagai suru 仲違いする
    Become so the relationship is bad.
    To have a fight with.
    To stop being friends.
    To break up with.

Expression for "Sex"

Sometimes, the phrases naka yoshi 仲良し and naka yoku suru 仲良くする can mean "to have sex with."

You know how it goes: make peace, not war, make love, not war, make love. I mean, "make love."

It's basically the same thing. The phrase naka yoshi is a way of saying the thing without saying the thing used by people who don't want to say the thing but want to say the thing, get it?

Of course, naka yoshi doesn't literally mean "to have sex," it's just an expression. Other terms for the act would be:
  • seikou 性交
    Sexual intercourse.
  • seikoui 性行為
    Sexual act.
  • sekkusu セックス
  • ecchi suru エッチする
    To do H.
    • Seriously. That's what it says. Literally.
    • It's a slang.

Some people, in fact, hate the use of naka yoshi in this way, and prefer any of the above instead. [性交、性行為の事を【仲良し】って表現する方って結構いますよね。 -, accessed 2019-02-27]

On top of that, some people may simply not get what you mean by naka yoshi when you say it. Specially in anime, where characters are awfully dull.

あのね あっあたしとも なかよく・・・して欲しいかな・・・って わっ いざ言うとなんかテレる ちかちゃんと・・・え? なかよく・・・・・・て別にケンカとかしてないよね?
Manga: Ubu Ubu Fuufu うぶうぶふうふ (Chapter 1)
  • Context: not that it helps, but this is supposed to be a "husband and wife," fuufu. The husband had said he wanted to have a good relationship with their child, who's a baby (held by the wife out of frame).
  • ano ne
    [Well, you see...]
    • Used to call someone's attention before talking.
  • a' atashi to mo
    naka yoku...
    shite hoshii
    kana... tte
    あっあたしとも なかよく・・・して欲しいかな・・・って
    [I was thinking] I want you to [have] a good relationship [with me], too.
    • TL Note: "a good relationship" means "sex."
  • wa'
  • iza iu to
    nanka tereru
    [After] saying [it I] feel sort of embarrassed.
  • Chika-chan to... e?
    With [you,] eh?
    • Chika is her name.
  • naka yoku......te
    "A good relationship......"
  • betsu ni
    kenka toka
    shitenai yo ne?

    [It's not like] we've [had] a fight or anything, right?
    • In case you ever wondered "would this harem anime main character remain so completely dull and ignorant of the girls' advances were him not a high school boy," this is your answer.

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