Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


I don't really know how well I structured that. In any case, what is the functionality of ぞ in さくらさくら? I can only find web definitions for emphasis, at the end of sentences.

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

This 「ぞ」 is a 係助詞{かかりじょし} (binding particle) from classical Japanese.

History: It was originally そ in the Nara period, then ぞ in the Heian period, gone in the Muromachi period except for people intentionally trying to sound poetic, such as the author of this poem.

Semantics: It stresses/emphasizes what it marks

Syntax: It occurs in the usual spots of a 係助詞 (the syntactic class containing は, も, こそ, でも, etc.), but in addition, it is followed by the 連体形 of a verb -- this phenomena occurs with a few other 係助詞 in Classical Japanese and is called 係り結び.


ukon zo misiritaru. yobe.
"Ukon knows for sure. Call her!"

mina yorohi no sode wo zo nurasikeru.
"Everyone wet the sleeves of their armor."

In your case:

霞か雲か 匂い出{い}ずる
kasumi ka kumo ka nioi zo izuru
"Is it mist? Is it a cloud? The color radiates!"

(This 出ずる is in fact a newer spelling of the 連体形 of the 下二段活用動詞「出づ」, 「出づる」, meaning that this sentence fits the bill.)

share|improve this answer
I think that 匂い (にほひ) stands for "hue" rather than "smell". – user4092 Aug 3 '14 at 23:52
Oops, you are indeed correct that it's almost certainly not "smell" there... I should have checked a 古語辞典. – Darius Jahandarie Aug 4 '14 at 1:34

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.