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The difference between 他方/たほう/Taho, 一方/いっぽう/Ippo and 片方/かたほう/Kataho

The word “他方/たほう/Taho”, “一方/いっぽう/Ippo” and “片方/かたほう/Kataho” have similar meanings and it is often confusing to know which one to use. Here is an easy-to-understand explanation of the difference between the three with example sentences. If you are confused about which word is the correct one to use, refer to this page to find out.

The word “他方/たほう/Taho”, “一方/いっぽう/Ippo” and “片方/かたほう/Kataho” have in common that they all mean one of two. Although their original meanings are slightly different, they tend to be used interchangeably.


他方/たほう/Taho: The other of two things

It is used to contrast an object with another object mentioned beforehand. It can be used in the same way as the conjunction "but" to connect to a story from another direction.

These usages are used in books, articles, and other written materials, as well as in business situations. Although it is a bit too formal way of talking to use in daily life, it still can be used. However, you need to keep in your mind that you need to mention the object you want to compare before you use this word. The synonym of this word is 反面/はんめん/Hanmen which means the opposite or another side of the story.




Ippo wa tatakai, taho wa kakureta

One is fighting, the other is hiding.



Teishoku wa itsumo ippo ga washoku de taho ga yoshoku da

One of set meal is always JApanese and the other one is always Western

一方/いっぽう/Ippo: One of two things

It can mean one direction or directionality, or it can mean one state of being. It can also function as a conjunctive particle, such as "on the other hand," or "on a different subject”.

一方(Ippo) can be read as “Hitokata” which means one person rather than one thing or one status and has a different meaning than 一方(Ippo). In general, it is rarely read as “hitokata” and is mostly read as “ippo”. The antonym of the 一方(Ippo) is 双方/そうほう/Soho which means both of the things. Synonyms for 一方(Ippo) include 正常/せいじょう/seijo which means normal, and 尋常(jinjo) meaning that there is nothing special about.




Lockdown no seide taiju ga fueru ippo da

I gained weight because of the lockdown



Ippo tsuko no hyoushiki wo mitanode U-turn wo shita

I made a U-turn when we saw a one way sign



Ippo sonokoro, genba dewa mondai ga hassei shiteita.

Meanwhile, back at the scene, we had a problem

片方/かたほう/Kataho: One of a pair

This term is often used for things that are originally treated as two in one such as shoes and eyes. It can also be used to mean one side or two opposing positions. It is often used colloquially (in conversation) in daily life, and in business situations, it is sometimes replaced by the word 他方(Taho) or 一方(Ippo). Antonym of the 片方(Kataho) is 両方/りょうほう/Ryoho which means both of the two directions or positions. As for the synonyms, there are 片一方/かたいっぽう/Kataippo which means one of two things and 側面/そくめん/Sokumen which means one of various characteristic or features.




Tebukuro no kataho wo otoshite shimatta

I dropped one of my gloves



Kataho no tachiba dake wo kangaetewa ikenai

Don't just think about one side of the issue.



Kataho no me dake kara namida ga deru

There are tears coming from only one eye.

The word 片方(Kataho) in any example can be replaced with 一方(Ippo) or 他方(Taho)

If you are not sure whether to use “他方/たほう/Taho”, “一方/いっぽう/Ippo” and “片方/かたほう/Kataho”, remember to use 他方(taho) when there is something to compare, use 一方(Ippo) when there is a bias toward one, and use 片方(Kataho) when talking about one of the two.

Momoka Yamaguchi

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