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The following is attributed to フジテレビHP/経済新聞. I wonder if someone could explain the grammar around the と? (I think it might be an "abbreviation" of として but it is very difficult to find an explanation of this.)

総合司会タモリ(森田一良、68歳)は..地元で「変人」と面白がられていたのを、ジャズピアニスト山下洋輔らに見い出されて1976年に芸能界[に]デビュー[した]。

The MC Tamori (Kazuyoshi Morita, 68)'s act as an amusing eccentric was discovered in his home town by the Jazz pianist Yousuke Yamashita and his entourage. He broke into the entertainment world in 1976.

(Items in [] were added to expand this extract beyond its newspaper style. The translation is mine so please feel free to offer improvements.)

Revised translation based on feedback (further comment welcome):

MC Tamori (Kazuyoshi Morita, 68)'s act was discovered in his home town by the Jazz pianist Yousuke Yamashita and his entourage where the locals who got a kick out his performances had named him "henjin" ("the eccentric"). He broke into the entertainment world in 1976.

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  • I think sometimes と means と思って or と言って.
    – Yang Muye
    Mar 23, 2014 at 9:11
  • Those are always on my list of possibilities too but how would they fit here?
    – Tim
    Mar 23, 2014 at 9:40
  • “people thought he was a funny person and was amused by him.” I found another similar sentence on the internet: 掲示板でもスレッドが立ち、「なんでもありだな」などと面白がられている
    – Yang Muye
    Mar 23, 2014 at 10:35

1 Answer 1

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I am going to say that in this context, 「と」 ≠ 「として」. I would call it the quotative 「と」.

「『[変人]{へんじん}』と[面白]{おもしろ}がられていた」 = 「『変人』と[呼]{よ}ばれ面白がられていた」

The verb form 「面白がられていた」 is in the "passive voice past progressive". The subject of this is タモリ in the original Japanese, but it would be difficult to retain that in an English translation. I myself would use "the locals" as the subject and opt for a verb phrase in the active voice like "to get a kick out of".

The phrase 「『[変人]{へんじん}』と[面白]{おもしろ}がられていた」 sounds informal and conversational and it is barely acceptable as written language; Hence, the confusion.

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  • @ Tokyo Nagoya: Thank you. Glad to hear this is barely acceptable as written language. Before accepting I shall consider how to implement your suggestions on how to translate.
    – Tim
    Mar 23, 2014 at 16:22
  • Technical Reference: This is covered in Makino's Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar on pg 464-469. It explains that for this construction, there is usually an elipsis of いって・思って or in this case 呼ばれ because it is passive. The verb should pyschological (面白がる)and the construction is used to refer to psychological state of a 3P (the locals) not the speaker.
    – Tim
    Apr 4, 2014 at 10:17

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