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. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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

So, I was reading a children's story and came across this sentence:


What I'm having trouble understanding and dictionaries haven't been able to help is decoding the 逃げっこなしにしよう part. What exactly is happening there?

If more context is needed, the full text can be seen here (it's only about one page long, very short): http://hukumusume.com/douwa/pc/100monogatari/001.htm

share|improve this question
up vote 11 down vote accepted

っこ is a suffix that attaches to verbs (in 連用形). It means の事 or する事. It is most commonly found in the form of っこない which expresses a strong denial as in 絶対…しない or …するはずがない. This may also be っこなし. It typically indicates multiple people are involved in the activity. Here it means "there will be no running away". The next line continues with: 「いいとも。どんなお化けが出るか、この目で、しっかり見てやろう」 (Fine. I'll [stay] and see what kind of monster appears.)

share|improve this answer
Oh, I see! That's A LOT clearer now. I'm still not sure about the にしよう part, though. – vivien Sep 17 '12 at 0:41
~にしよう is the volitional form of ~にする. It means "to decide on~". For example, at a restaurant you may say 「アイスコーヒーにする」 "I'll have iced coffee" (? not sure if that is real English or not) meaning that it what you decided on having. In this sentence, you can more literally translate it as: "Listen, when this final candle goes out, a real monster may appear. But, no matter what kind of monster appears, lets ensure that none of use will be running away." – Dono Sep 17 '12 at 1:09
Oh, I got it now, thanks a lot! – vivien Sep 17 '12 at 1:49

Consulting Daijisen, っこ means …のこと or …すること (as in 〜慣れっこ "being used to" etc) according to sense (1)(1).

Daijisen also lists in sense (1)(2) "an action done mutually with two or more people" as in とりかえっこ "an exchange" or sense (1)(3) "an action where two or more people compete" as in 駆けっこ "race"/"sprint".

A common usage of っこなしにしよう might be like this example from the Kenkyuusha dictionary:

このことは誰にも言いっこなしにしましょう. お分かりいただけますね.
Let us keep it (strictly) to ourselves. I hope you understand.

  • 〜っこなし = 〜(のことなし・することなし) which I think here means "not (do)ing".
  • 〜にする = "go with"/"decide to" and 〜にしよう means "let's go with"/"let's decide to".
  • 〜逃げっこなしにしよう = 逃げ(のことなし・することなし)にしよう = "let's go with not running away"/"let's decide on not running away".

So from there:

"Look here, if this last candle goes out, there could be an actual Obake that appears. But, whatever the sort of Obake that should appear, let's together decide on not running away."

"All right. Whatever the sort of Obake that appears, let's sit tight and witness it with our own eyes."

(この目で見る = "[see/witness] [firsthand/with our own eyes]" etc.)

Consulting the 日本語文型辞典, another common usage of っこ in the form of っこない is to strongly negate the chances of something happening. It's used in informal speech and is close to 絶対…しない, …するはずがない and …するわけがない, for example:

"However much you ask him, [there's no way he'll/he absolutely won't] tell the truth."

Edit: Tried to fix various mistakes.

share|improve this answer
@Downvoter: could you please explain if you thought anything was incorrect about my answer? (As a side note, Dono's answer was also downvoted, and I'm wondering what he/she thought was incorrect about it as well.) – cypher Sep 17 '12 at 14:53
I was the downvoter of Dono's answer (not yours), but I may have been too hasty ... I can't undo it <_<; Sorry @Dono :( Anyway, if you'd like to hear my concerns: (1) I've never heard っこない used to mean "I definitely won't (by willpower)", only "there's no chance (I would)". So I'm unsure that structure is related. (2) Dono's statement that it[っこなし], instead of っこない, introduces an implication of more people being involved (untrue??). (3) interpretation of the structure as っこなし instead of っこ + なしにする, and no mention of なしにする. You can stick a は before なし, so it isn't a っこなし set phrase. – Hyperworm Sep 17 '12 at 16:00
For instance, Wiktionary, under っこ definition 3., 動詞に付いて、お互いにしあったり、勝敗を競ったりすることを表す。通常、ひらがなで書く。, gives the example 「嘘は言いっこなしだ。」, which I can't imagine means anything to do with "っこない" ("having [no] chance of lying", or if you like "definitely won't lie"), and instead everything to do with っこ + なしだ (let's prohibit ~). "No lying to each other." – Hyperworm Sep 17 '12 at 16:19
@Hyperworm thank you very much for the explanations. I thought it might've been something to do with that, the 日本語文型辞典 says for っこない あることの起こる可能性 so I think it may only be usable in that way as well. I thought maybe it could be 絶対逃げないことにする as 「絶対…しない」 was listed as being close, but wasn't really sure as it didn't fit with the description. – cypher Sep 17 '12 at 17:58
@Hyperworm I just noticed that there was discussion of my answer here for some reason. Anyway, I'll cite a dictionary. [日本国語大辞典] こ:(「こと」の変化したもの)名詞または動詞の連用形などに付いて、…のこと、…することの意を表わす。上が促音化することもある。「あいこ」「ほんこ」「馴れっこ」「‌​構いっこ」など。また、「…(っ)こなし」「…(っ)こない」の形で、…しないことを互いに確認する、…するわけがない、・・・するはずがない、などの意を表わす。[Not‌​ice ...kko nasi, ...kko nai] ①二人以上で、同じ動作をお互いにする事。「取りかえっこ」、「かわりばんこ」など。②二人以上で、同じ動作を同時に競争して行なうこと。くらべ。くら。「当てっこ」「駆‌​けっこ」「にらめっこ」など。[Notice the two or more.] Other dictionaries have similar entries. – Dono Sep 18 '12 at 11:26

Your Answer


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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.