I am writing a song in English which also has some Japanese words. At some point, I want to say "The beautiful Nakamura". I've seen here that Na is used when kirei modifies the noun. However, since Nakamura is the name of a person, does this mean that the noun is not modified, so I could simply use kirei Nakamura? (preferable, because it keeps the song meter intact).

Also, can there be a problem with Nakamura if I put kirei before? (it might be confused with kirei na Kamura)

  • 5
    Reminds me of 「きれいなジャイアン」...
    – chocolate
    Nov 12, 2017 at 1:36

3 Answers 3


When the word "kirei(きれい)" modifies noun, you must use "kirei" with "na" whether or not the noun is a name of a person. The phrase "kirei Nakamura(きれい中村)" is grammatically incorrect. Therefore the correct phrase is "kirei na Nakamura(きれいな中村)".

Of course, whether that phrase sounds natural depends on whole lyrics. In some cases, 「Nakamura kirei(+da, dane, danaa)」may be preferable which means not beautiful Nakamura but that Nakamura is beautiful.

In so many cases, "utsukushii(美しい)"is more suitable than "kirei(きれい)" as a translation of "beautiful". Since "utsukushii" is -i adjective, you don't need to use any suffix when you modify a noun with "utsukushii" whether or not the noun is a name of a person.


I think you're misunderstanding the definition of "modifying" when it comes to grammar. When you say "The beautiful Nakamura" in English, your "beautiful" is a considered a modifier, for it is describing Nakamura, adding detail and specific information to the noun.

Whenever a so called -na adjective is being used as an adjective preceding a noun it should take the な.


It should be okay if きれい中村 is the name of a person, consider the following example:


But such kind of name would not be regular and only suggested since you have mentioned to write a song. If grammar is a great concern, きれいな中村 is always the correct answer.

  • But 中村 is usually used as a family name.
    – ra1ned
    Nov 16, 2017 at 10:02
  • In any case, the answer and extra example don't address the point of the question, which was how to use きれい as an adjective before a name. Saying "if you make that word a part of the name it's okay because anything can technically be a name" isn't helpful to the question asker.
    – Leebo
    Nov 20, 2017 at 4:54
  • The answer is not helpful if the asker is just looking for a grammatically correct answer. However the asker is writing a song, which should have less grammatical constrain for using foreign language in the lyrics.
    – devildelta
    Nov 21, 2017 at 2:53

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