The meaning of "一方"

Hi everyone!

I came across the sentence, “兄弟の一方と話す,” and I wasn’t 100% sure how 一方 is being used here. The translation that Bunpro provides is, “I will talk to one of my brothers,” and I was wondering how the nuance changes by using 一方 . For example, how is it different from saying something like “兄弟の一人と話す” or “兄弟の誰かに話す”?

I understand when 一方 is used in phrases like 方だ or 方で such as when you draw a relationship between two things (“one side,” or “on the other hand” or “meanwhile”) but I’m wondering if “one of” has a different nuance by using 一方 in a sentence like “兄弟の一方と話す.”

Sentences such as:

  • その猫の一方は黒で、もう一方は茶だ。

  • 一方の耳が聞こえない。

seem to imply there are 2 things that are being more or less compared/contrasted, and I was wondering if that’s the general case for using 一方?

Thank you so much in advance!

1 Like

From my understanding, you can use 方 to refer to a person in a polite manner.
e.g. その方は誰ですか? Who is that person? (politely)


While 「方」 can be used to refer to people in a polite manner, this way of using it 「一方」 is just referring to “one of (pretty much anything)”. In this case, “one of my siblings”.

On the other hand (pun intended), 「一方で」 generally means something like “On the other hand”, especially if it’s at the beginning of a sentence (but it could be somewhere in the middle too). And when using 「一方だ 」at the end of a sentence, then it means something “continues” in a certain way (i.e. continues to increase/decrease, etc).



yeah but 一方 is いっぽう here though, not かた


Haha great pun. I’m just wondering if 一方 carries a different nuance though – it seems to be used frequently for something that has different sides/contrastive relationship, so I was wondering when you use 一方 in the quoted sentence, it might suggest that there are 2 brothers, or if the brothers are engaged in a difference of opinion.


Right, according to BunPro「一方」literally means “One direction”, so it is especially used to contrast two things, when referring to opposites, etc.

However, I think in that in the case of the brothers example, it’s simply saying “one of (my two siblings)”. That’s all it is (AFAIK).

BTW, here’s an important warning to keep in mind:


一方 actually has a definition for this:「いくつかのもの(多くは二つ)のうちの一つ。片方。」

Perhaps there might be slight difference between using 一方 and 一人 here but going off the definition, it really seems it’s just being used as a way to tell you that it is “one of” whatever is being referred to.


Thank you so much for taking the time to write such helpful explanations – really appreciate it!