What Does Nakama Mean?

「仲間」-pronounced “Nakama” is a word that translates to your friend, teammate, or comrade. Nakama is recalling a close, family-like relationship. The word is referred to as being part of a group or community in a plural sense.

“Friends” by nataliej is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The boundary of considering someone a Nakama is different for individuals. When you have gone through hardship with someone, they are you’re Nakama. This kind of build-up is often seen in Shonen(少年) Anime and Manga. The word was mentioned various times in the series One Piece.

Monkey D. Luffy is the main character from One Piece. Luffy and his “Nakama” explores the sea in search of the greatest treasure “One Piece” to become the King. He gathers his crewmates by asking them “仲間になってくれ” which means “join us” in English.

More expressions include:

「強い仲間がいるんだ」
– “I have a strong teammate”
「いい奴だったら仲間にしようと思って」
– “If you’re a good guy, I am making you my teammate “
「早ェとこ“航海士”を仲間に入れるべきだな」
– “We must include the navigator as part of our team “

Quotes from the series “ONE PIECE”

In the context of One Piece, Nakama refers to people who share the same goal and destiny as you.

In real life, a colleague who you dislike can be your Nakama because you work together under the same constitution. We should remember that this word does not necessarily exclude your enemy.

「不良仲間」-pronounced “furyo-nakama” is translated to “bad mates” in English. The word is referred from the Anime: Tokyo Revengers. In Japan, loutish teenage students in school are called furyo or Yankee.

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