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In my JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) level N1 workbook, there is this example question:


この殺人{さつじん}事件{じけん}の裏{うら}には(  )上{じょう}のトラブルがあるようだ。

A 金額{きんがく}  B 大金{たいきん}  C 金銭{きんせん}  D 基金{ききん}

The answer is... (drum roll, please)... C, 金銭{きんせん}.

First, I'm a little vague on the meaning of 金銭{きんせん}. Seems to just mean "money", but how is it different from just saying 金{かね}?

More importantly, while it does fit as an answer, I don't clearly see why it's a better answer than B, 大金{たいきん}(can also be read おおがね), which means "a large amount of money".

To me it makes more sense that a large amount of money is more of a motive for murder than just money in general.

Why is 金銭{きんせん} a better answer than 大金{たいきん}?

Rough translation of the question:

Select the appropriate word

It appears that underneath this incident of murder there was some trouble with ( ).

A An amount of money B a large amount of money C money(?) D a fund

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You're just aiming for cross-site traffic with this question! –  Andrew Grimm Sep 19 '11 at 5:17
If 金銭上 means monetary/percuniary, does monetary/percuniary troubles sound better than the other options? bit.ly/ovmPzb –  Louis Sep 19 '11 at 6:34
@Dave M G: Questions on JL&U get advertised on other Stack Exchange sites, for example Stack Overflow. It's even happened with some of my questions. If you still don't know what I'm talking about, I'll show you a picture of such an ad. –  Andrew Grimm Sep 19 '11 at 7:33
@Louis: I have never heard the word pecuniary before. Who knew I'd learn English on this site... ;) In any case, 金銭 fits fine, but my question is why doesn't 大金 fit. –  Dave M G Sep 19 '11 at 7:37
Is this possibly 上 as じょう? (meaning "に関して・の面で"). The reasoning might be that among the given options only 金銭 means "money" as a general term, and so it fits best with ~上. –  nkjt Sep 19 '11 at 12:54
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1 Answer

up vote 19 down vote accepted

First, 大金 = 【おおがね】 or 【たいきん】, not 【だいきん】.

Second, as @nkjt said in a comment above, this 〜上 is the one meaning, "from the viewpoint/standpoint of 〜". A very common one you'll see in a lot of places is 安全上の注意 ("safety precautions" -- I used to see this under the lids of those fancy toilets). So 金銭上 would mean "from the standpoint of money", or put more simply, "financial". So it would translate as, "...it appears there was some financial trouble."

Also, as you mentioned in the comments, the other answers aren't necessarily wrong, but they are not the best choice for the sentence. In this case, the other three words 金額 (amount of money), 大金 (large sum of money), and 基金 (funds/funding) could work if there were more context. However, for it to be the best answer, it seems like you'd need a fair amount of context. You'd almost need a short "story", probably involving an amount of money and/or a description of the crime scene. But something like that would be better fitted to the reading section of the test instead the grammar or vocab section.

By the way, are you gonna take the test this year, or just studying from a workbook??? Just curious.

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Good answer. Dave's page says he has to pass the test this year. –  sawa Sep 19 '11 at 15:07
Oh, I see. Haha. Why the urgency to pass @DaveMG? –  istrasci Sep 19 '11 at 15:14
@istrasci: You gotta set goals in life, don't ya? ;) –  Dave M G Sep 19 '11 at 15:26
@Dave M G - Oh, well your profile said "Failure is not an option", so I figured a student status / job / etc., depended on it. –  istrasci Sep 19 '11 at 17:20
@istrasci: Maybe he's joining the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency! –  Andrew Grimm Sep 20 '11 at 3:47
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