Meaning of Nakama – Comrade in Japanese

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Já ouviu falarem a expressão Nakama? Talvez você pense que significa parceiros, mas você realmente entende o verdadeiro significado? Neste artigo, vamos examinar a fundo o significado de Nakama.

Já ouviu esse termo sendo usado em algum anime ou mangá como One Piece?

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What Does Nakama Mean?

Em japonês, a palavra nakama [仲間] significa “alguém que está no mesmo grupo que você” ou pode se referir ao próprio grupo, seja amigos, colegas, parceiros de clube e outros.

Nakama [仲間] é uma palavra japonesa composta dos ideogramas [仲] que significa “relacionamento”, e [間] que significa “espaço ou tempo”. Ou seja, essa palavra refere-se a algum tipo de relacionamento que você tem com alguém a algum tempo ou intervalo.

Geralmente refere-se a um membro da mesma categoria, empresa; companheiro; colega; associado; camarada; sócio e círculo de amigos.

Diferente de amizade, pode referi-se mais a um tipo de parceria temporária ou colega de trabalho, ou equipe. Abaixo segue uma lista de significados de Nakama:

  • Companion;
  • Comrade;
  • Co-worker;
  • Group;
  • Partner;
  • Associate;
  • Circle of friends;
  • Colleague;

This term can be used to refer to a member of the same rank, as in the case of One Piece where Luffy refers to the crew as Nakama. It can refer to people from a group, company, circle of friends, set or gang.

Em jogos de RPG, a palavra nakama normalmente se refere à “party” ou grupo de pessoas. Aqueles grupos que você monta seja online ou offline para batalharem juntos.

Meaning of nakama - comrade in Japanese

The Origin of the word Nakama

In the Edo period, when commerce and industry developed dramatically, there were so many companies. There were paint specialists, nail specialists, medicinal herb seed specialists, paper professionals and many others.

Esses comerciantes se reuniram para criar um sindicato oficial chamado Kabunakama com objetivo de proteger seus direitos adquiridos e gerir ações entre os membros.

The main objective was for merchants and industries to monopolize the production and sale of goods, preventing the price of goods from falling too much.

There were two trader privileged ties organizations called Omenkabu and Wankabu that created and were allowed by the Bakufu to control and create the organizations.

Kabunakama's numbers were limited, causing the right to join to be transferred or sold as shares. There were systems of rules, donations and trades between groups.

Esse grupo de associações deu o significado atual para Nakama que antigamente era uma simples palavra que indicava uma relação comercial e organizacional.

Nakama - meaning of nakama - comrade in Japanese
The Kabunakama Merchants in the Edo Period

Difference between Nakama and Tomodachi

Some people ask the difference between Nakama and Tomodachi. Sometimes we see both being used with great feeling in anime, is there one superior to the other?

Tomodachi [友達] meaning friend, refers to personal feelings of intimacy and affection, does not necessarily need to involve some activity or have the same ideas as Nakama.

No caso de Nakama [仲間], pessoas que compartilham o mesmo objetivo ou trabalham juntas em um grupo, ou organização, não necessariamente são amigos íntimos, apesar de serem na maioria das vezes.

Both words are independent, you can be friends with someone you've known for a while, or you don't need to do something special with your friend to call him a friend.

In the same way, you can be a partner or colleague of someone you'll never be close enough to call them a friend. In short, the word Nakama should be used:

  1. When there is a relationship of doing things together;
  2. Quando são pessoas da mesma ocupação, status, etc;
  3. When they do things of the same type or category;

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List of false cognates in Japanese - false friends

Different Ways to Use Nakama

Nakama goes far beyond a noun, this word is often used together to create new expressions within the Japanese language. In online games you find nakamairi [仲間入り] when you want to join a group.

By putting the phrase together with some other verb, you might end up changing the meaning of Nakama a little bit to something like friend or partner.

Words like bad company can be written furyonakama [不良仲間] which can be seen in Anime like Tokyo Revenger. It is noteworthy that Nakama [中間] also refers to a city in Fukuoka.

Below are some usage examples:

  • [クラス仲間] “kurasunakama” - Classmates
  • [遊び仲間] “asobinakama” – Playmate(s)
  • [ゴルフ仲間] “gorufunakama” 額隠 – 神秘的日本白布 golf friends
  • [仕事仲間] “shigotonakama” - Coworkers
  • [ヤクザ仲間] “yakuzanakama” – Clan Yakuza
  • [演劇仲間] “engékinakama” - Theater group
  • [医者仲間] “ishanakama” – group of doctors
  • [監獄仲間]”Kangokunakama” – Prison friend
  • [旅行仲間] “ryokounakama” - Trip's partner

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