I've encountered this in multiple places:

  1. A game script I'm translating has a psychic exclaim "はっきりせんかい!" right before having a vision of the protagonist's future.

  2. A tweet "暖かいのか寒いのかハッキリせんかい"

  3. Title of this blogpost

I'm assuming はっきり is "clearly" in these cases, but what is せんかい supposed to be?


1 Answer 1


~ん is an alternative negative form to ~ない, derived from the old ~ぬ form. する became せぬ with that negative, so せん roughly equals しない. In fiction it's often associated with older, strong-willed speakers. ~ないか in general, with the right intonation, can be used to make a kind of forceful demand. せんかい is along the same lines.

はっきりせんかい therefore means something like 'Be clear about it, will you?!'

  • 1
    There's an English phrasing that might more closely parallel the Japanese, and that is often delivered as a kind of exasperated exclamation, even as the word order suggests a question (much like the かい in the Japanese would usually suggest a question): "Won't you be clear about it!" Commented Jun 12 at 22:01
  • 2
    @EiríkrÚtlendi - It's supposed to be a つっこみ in Kansai-ben although most Kansai-ben speakers would say 暖かいか寒いか.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Jun 13 at 2:34
  • 1
    An idiomatic English equivalent would be "Make up your damn mind!" Commented Jun 13 at 13:14

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