A is a woman who serves as a waitress at a ryokan or Japanese inn.
Originally written as (meaning "in the house" in Japanese), which meant the anteroom in a mansion of a kuge (noble man) or gomonzeki (the princess of Mikado). Nowadays it refers to work in a butler's pantry, homemaking sector, or the managing division and its office staff. At Kyuchu (the Imperial Court), such women were also named osue.
In ancient times, nakai meant a lady's maid ranking between kami-jochu (maid of honor) and gejo (the lowest rank of maid). Now it means women who serve visitors in restaurants or inns. They are usually residential staff and work long hours.
Nakai (written: 中井 or 中居) is a Japanese surname. Notable people with the surname include:
- Asakazu Nakai (1901–1988), Japanese cinematographer
- Chiharu Nakai (born 1984), Japanese AV actress and glamour model
- Daisuke Nakai (born 1989), Japanese professional baseball infielder
- Hiroshi Nakai (born 1942), Japanese politician
- Kazuya Nakai (born 1967), Japanese actor
- Kie Nakai (born 1957), Japanese actress
- Kiichi Nakai (born 1961), Japanese actor
- Masahiro Nakai (born 1972), Japanese singer, actor and host
- Masakazu Nakai (1900–1952), Japanese aesthetician, film theorist, librarian, and social activist
- Masutaro Nakai (1895–1969), general in the Imperial Japanese Army
- Nakai Chikuzan (1730–1804), Japanese politician
- Norio Nakai (born 1952), Japanese writer
- R. Carlos Nakai (born 1946), Native American flautist
- Shogo Nakai (born 1984), former Japanese football player
- Takahiro Nakai (born 1990), Japanese judoka
- Takenoshin Nakai (1882–1952), Japanese botanist
- Takezo Nakai (born 1949), Japanese former handball player
- Yasuyuki Nakai (1954–2014), Japanese baseball player
- Yoshikazu Nakai, mathematician, originator of the Nakai conjecture
- Yoshiki Nakai (born 1983), Japanese football player
- Yoshinori Nakai (born 1960), Japanese artist
- Yuki Nakai (born 1970), retired Japanese shooto practitioner and mixed martial artist
Nakai is also a surname of some people from the Punjab, a province in India and Pakistan. They are a sub-cast of Sandhu Jatts and are descendants of Nakai Misl, a principality of the Sikh Empire from 1748 to 1810. For more details refer to pages Nakai Misl, Baherwal Kalan and Sardar Kahan Singh Nakai.