Dialogue from the anime Dungeon Meshi, where character A (マルシル) wants to give character B (センシ) beard oil because they have not taken care of it for... an indefinite amount of time.

A:これ あげる...
A:This is for you.
A:I made some soap from the Kelpie fat you gave me.
Not only is it useful as a hair oil, but it's good for using on clothes and dishes too.

From my understanding, 重宝する used like this means something like you feel that something in question is useful/convenient and use it carefully.

Like this:
The encyclopedia we recently received is really quite useful.
That's where it comes in ┏useful [handy].

It seems like マルシル is referring to it being useful in general, so I would expect the present active tense.
What is the nuance of the passive here?

1 Answer 1


重宝する is a transitive verb, so it behaves the same way as 使う. In your context, it's in the passive form because the fat is used by everyone in her community. Compare the following.

  • ケルピーの脂は使っている。
    I use Kelpie fat.
    (Literally: As for Kelpie fat, I (regularly) use it.)
  • ケルピーの脂は重宝している。
    I use Kelpie fat heavily/handily.
  • ケルピーの脂は使われている。
    Kelpie fat is used (by people).
  • ケルピーの脂は重宝されている。
    Kelpie fat is used (by people) heavily/handily.
  • This makes perfect sense but makes me think that “finding useful” and “coming in handy” translations in dictionaries are a bit confusing. “Using handily” seems to capture it better considering that it’s structurally similar to 使う. Commented Jun 17 at 0:03
  • 1
    @whatyouexpect Well, while a literal interpretation helps, if I'm not mistaken, "to use something handily" is not very idiomatic in English...
    – naruto
    Commented Jun 17 at 0:07
  • 1
    Yeah, probably because “come in handy” generally expresses the same idea, but somewhat breaks down in cases like these so 仕方がありませんね Commented Jun 17 at 0:13

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