甲斐 = かい ( = kai) (Mini Lesson )


= たべることがいきがいなの! 

= Taberu koto ga ikigai nano

= I live for eating!

Hi everyone!
Today I will teach you a word that is a bit
difficult but very useful.


:rrrr: 甲斐 = かい = worth, effect

We use it with verbs ある ( = aru) and ない ( = nai)

:rrrr: 甲斐がある

= かいがある

= kai ga aru

to be worth doing ~, to pay off what you have been doing, to be rewarded

:rrrr: 甲斐がない

= かいがない

= kai ga nai

= not worth doing ~ , useless, in vain

(We also say 甲斐あり ( = kaiari) or 甲斐なし ( =  kainashi))

🔸If you work hard  and get a satisfactory result, you would feel,


Ex. 努力の甲斐があった。

 = どりょくのかいがあった。

= doryoku no kai ga atta

= It makes all the effort worthwhile. / All your efforts pay off.

⭐️You studied hard and if you pass the exam, you would say,



= いっしょうけんべんきょうしたかいがありしけんにごうかくした。

= Isshoukenmei benkyou shita kai ga ari shiken ni goukaku shita.

= It was worth studying hard and I passed the exam.

🔸If your friend was working hard and get a good result, you will tell your friend,



= がんばってきたかいがあったね。

= Ganbatte kita kai ga attane.

= It was worth working hard, wasn’t it?

🔹 If you have waited for something/someone for a long time and you finally get what you want (usually better than you had expected), you say



= いままで、まっていたかいがあった。

= Imamade matteita kai ga atta.

= It was worth the (long) wait.

🔹Many people want to feel fulfilled doing something,



= やりがいがある

= yarigai ga aru

= worth doing something, worthwhile

If you don’t get that kind of feel,



= やりがいがない。

= yarigai ga nai

= not worth doing something, not worthwhile

( 📝 Note: the pronunciation changes depending on the combination of the words  from =kai to =gai.)

🔹If it’s apparent you really like and appreciate your mother’s cooking, your mom might think the following.


Ex. 何を作っても美味しそうに食べてくれるから作り甲斐がある

= なにをつくってもおいしそうにたべてくれるからつくりがいがある。

= Nani wo tsukutte mo oishisou ni tabete kureru kara tsukurigai ga aru.

Whatever I make, you always eat it with gusto so it’s worth the effort.

And if she feels that you don’t appreciate what she’s cooked for you, she might think the opposite:


Ex. 何を作ってもまずそうに食べるから作り甲斐がない。

= なにをつくってもまずそうにたべるからつくりがいがない。

= Nani wo tsukutte mo mazusou ni taberu kara tsukurigai ga nai.

= No matter what I make, you eat it as if it’s disgusting so it is not worth cooking.

🔹You went to see an exhibition which is very far from your house, but it was worth it,


Ex. すばらしい展覧会でわざわざ遠くから来た甲斐がありました。

= すばらしいてんらんかいでわざわざとおくからきたかいがありました。

= Subatrashii tenrankai de wazawaza tooku kara kita kai ga arimashita.

= It was a great exhibition and it was worth coming from so far away.

🔹This is a typical line for aged people who enjoy hot spring.


Ex.「ああ、極楽、極楽! 美味しいもの食べて温泉につかって….今まで生きてきた甲斐があった。」

= ああ、ごくらく、ごくらく! おいしいものたべておんせんにつかって….いままでいきてきたかいがあった。

= Aah gokuraku gokuraku! Oishii mono tabete onsen ni hairete imamade ikite kita kai ga atta.

= This is heaven! Eating good food, and relaxing in a hot spring bath … has made my life worth living.

🔸Because of the recession, a lot of companies stop providing bonuses. How do you feel?


Ex. あんなに働いたのに、ボーナスがないなんて働き甲斐が全くない。

= あんなにはたらいたのに、ボーナスがないなんてはたらきがいがまったくない。

= Annani hataraita no ni bounasu ga nainante hatarakigai ga mattaku nai.

= Although I worked really hard, I didn’t get a bonus… It was not worth it.

🔸Many people just want a purpose of living,


Ex. 生き甲斐が欲しい

= いきがいがほしい

= ikigai ga hoshii

= I would like to have something to live for.

In the picture above, Maggie sensei says

:rrrr: 食べることが生き甲斐

= たべることがいきがい

= Taberu koto ga ikigai

= I live for eating.

🔸If you love (doing) something so much you can say


~ (すること)がいきがい

= ~ (surukoto) ga ikigai

= I live for ~


Ex. 子供だけが生き甲斐だ。

= こどもだけがいきがいだ。

= Kodomo dake ga ikigai da.

= I only live for my children.


= マギーせんせいのサイトでべんきょうすることがいきがいだ。

= Maggie sensei no saito de benkyou surukoto ga ikigai da.

= I live to study on Maggie Sensei’s site.

🔸 When we do things regardless of our age, we say


= としがいもなく

= toshigai mo naku

= unbecoming to one’s age

📝 Note : Related words

There is a word 甲斐性  ( = かいしょう = kaishou). It’s different from 甲斐 ( =かい =  kai)

甲斐性  ( = かいしょう =  kaishou) means ability to achieve something

• 甲斐性がある

= かいしょうがある

= kaishou ga aru

= useful person

• 甲斐性がない

= かいしょうがない

= kaishou ga nai

= useless person, being good-for-nothing

(甲斐性なし= かいしょなし = kaishounashi)

We often hear people describe one’s husband’s ability to financially support their family.


= あのひとはかいしょうなしだから…

= Anohito wa kaishou nashi dakara.

= He is good-for-nothing, so…

Ex. 「私が(or に)甲斐性がないばかりに子供になにも買ってあげられない。」

= わたしが(or に)かいしょうがないばかりにこどもになにもかってあげられない。

= Watashi ga kaishou ga nai bakarini kodomo ni nanimo katte agerarenai.

= Since I am good-for-nothing (financially not capable), I can’t buy children anything.

マギー先生より = マギーせんせいより = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

= みんながいつもこのサイトにきてくれるからわたしもレッスンのつくりがいがあります!

= Minna ga itsumo kono saito ni kite kurerukara watashi mo ressun no tsukurigai ga arimasu.

=Since you always visit this site, it’s worth making all these lessons.


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  1. Hello, Maggie-sensei!

    Thank you very much for this lesson, I think I understood it!!

    But still, I want to ask for confimation.
    In several songs now I’ve heard かい being used. But, it was always at the complete end of the sentence and only written in hiragana. It were phrases like “なんてありきたりかい?” and “深く眠れるかい?”. Is this the same expression as in this lesson? So the translation would be “Is it worth it that it came to this?” or “Would it be worth it to be sleeping deeply”?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Ah that かい is a suffix and it is different from this 甲斐
      You attach it to the end of a sentence to make a question. It is a casual male speech. You may see/hear it in lyrics, writing or anime a lot but it is a bit corny expression in real conversation.

  2. まぎーせんせい、



    1. @ryuuna2ryoupi
      Yes!! That’s right! You can also say 「涼介だけが私の生き甲斐だ。」(^^)

  3. Oh, Maggie Sensei lives for eating!


    I’m a foodie, too. I’m also interested in Japanese cuisine and it’s one of the reasons why I became interested in learning Japanese. I still have a lot of things to learn though, so I’ll do my best.

    Thanks for the lessons, as always. マギー先生のサイトで来た甲斐がありました。^^

    And oh, I enjoyed Aki’s video. lol

    1. @Amelie
      Hi, Amelie! Haha, you like food,too, huh? I love people who can enjoy food!
      What is your favorite Japanese food? Can you cook any Japanese food?
      (Almost! マギー先生のサイトで→マギー先生のサイトに来た甲斐がありました。)
      Good that you enjoyed Aki’s video! I bet she will be happy!

      1. I love sushi and daifuku! I’ve tried making these at home. Good thing there’s cooking-with-dog channel on youtube and its video tutorials. :D

        Thanks for the correction. I always mix-up some particles so I guess I should be careful about it. ^^

        1. @Amelie
          Oh, Cooking-with-dog channelis fun, huh? Is it easy to get ingredients where you live? You like daifuku!! I love it,too!

          1. There’s a specialty section in grocery stores and supermarkets here in my place which sells Japanese condiments and products. As for the ingredients I can’t find such as adzuki, I try to substitute and use monggo instead. ^^

  4. 買い物に行くことが生き甲斐だよ!
    I live to go shopping!!!
    (特に、最近ね、買い物に全然行かない。。。だってね、貯金をしなきゃ!日本に行きたいよ>。< がんばろ~!)

    The effort put into Japanese study is worth it since I can Understand Kamenashi’s videos better

    そして、重い=Heavyでしょ?では、重い感じ=Heavy feelingっていう意味かな??
    先生、よろしくね!m(_ _)m

    1. @Aki
      GREAT!! ちゃんと使えてるよ。少しだけ直しますね。

      *買い物に行くことが生き甲斐だよ!→Perfect sentence!!
      *亀梨くんのビデオがもっと分かるから→もっと分かる様になったから will be better

      As for your question, you mean 気合 = 重い?
      If so, 気合 is not 重い = heavy nor heavy feelings.

      気 is energy for your body and mind or vigor.

      気合を入れる or 気合を出す means to stir oneself, to put spirit in oneself

      For example when you feel like you are tired or less energy, you can encourage yourself, saying
      Ex. さあ、気合を入れてがんばろう!/気合を出してがんばろう!
      I will do my best (putting myself more energy/spirit/rolling up my sleeves).

      You can also encourage people,
      気合入れて(or 出して)がんばって!

      Or you often hear coaches cheer athletes (especially in martial art)
      Hope I answer your question.

        1. @Aki

          あはは!よく見つけたね!亀君が亀を抱(だ)いてる!I couldn’t stop barking while watching this video clip.

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