I am currently trying to read Bleach in Japanese. So far I haven't ran into any difficulty that a good dictionary cannot overcome. However in this particular scene I am puzzled by a particular scene, in the first tome, chapter 5 I think:

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So, this character is Orihime's brother. They have lived together until he died, and they were very exclusive, living without their parents. Upon his death, Orihime was at first praying for his rest everyday and such, but after a while she stopped praying and made new friends, including Kurosaki-kun with whom she is in love. Driven by jealousy, the brother comes back as a hollow to reclaim her.

So, I understand the rough meaning (I think):

She is mine! No one will take her from me!! Especially you, Kurosaki-kun!!

So my questions:

  • Is this the correct sense?
  • What is this form ? Is it simply a shortcut for 〜てはいけません? Where does it comes from? Is it common?
  • I have always used 渡す in a literal sense (for a road, a bridge...) Is it common to use it like this?

2 Answers 2


The basic meaning is the same as 渡さない. There are two differences:

  1. The focus particle は adds emphasis to the negative. In order to add the particle, the verb is split into two parts, 渡し+しない, with the particle added in between.

  2. The Western negative form せん (from せぬ) is used instead of the Eastern form しない.

No, it doesn't mean "cross over a road or bridge". He just said 「俺のものだ!」 ("It's mine!"), so you can tell he must be talking about not handing something over to anyone.

By the way, you'll see variations on 連用形+は+しない sometimes. One common form after the high vowels /i/ and /e/ is ~やしない, where the /wa/ has weakened to /a/, and the transition from the high vowel to /a/ sounds like a /y/ sound. If the /i/ or /e/ drops out, then it contracts further, as in the idiom ったらありゃしない, from と言ったら+あり+は+しない.

  • 1
    Thanks, very interesting ! When you say Western negative, do you refer to 関西弁?
    – Urukann
    Nov 26, 2014 at 4:57
  • 1
    @Urukann Yes, though I don't mean to imply that it's limited to Western dialects. Actually describing what I mean by Western and Eastern in detail would probably take more space than a comment allows here. Let me look and see if we already have an answer somewhere that describes them… EDIT: Can anyone help find the question about the history of ぬ and ない? I was sure we had one.
    – user1478
    Nov 26, 2014 at 5:04
  • Japanese dialects are classified into two major groups: Easter and Western (except for remote islands). This distinction has been there throughout the history. Eastern dialects, and therefore the Modern Standard Japanese, use しない, whereas Western dialects use せぬ or collapsed せん. Old Japanese also used せぬ, because it was basically a language for aristocrats in Kyoto.
    – isayamag
    Nov 26, 2014 at 7:03
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    But sometimes せぬ/せん is used even in Modern Standard Japanese, as kind of a pseudo-archaic expression, especially in spoken lines in novels, manga, etc., to give the speaker kind of an old-fashioned pompous character. I don't think this Orihime's brother is speaking western dialect, nor is he from western Japan. Hope this helped any bit.
    – isayamag
    Nov 26, 2014 at 7:04
  • 1
    @非回答者 Well, I didn't actually say that the character was speaking a Western dialect. I was just using it as a label for the form. (As I said in my comment, "I don't mean to imply that it's limited to Western dialects.") Thanks to everyone for elaborating in the comments, though. I'm sure Urukann will find that helpful.
    – user1478
    Nov 28, 2014 at 6:16
  1. You have the general gist right, but the middle line is literally "I won't hand her over to anyone!"

  2. //watas-u//
    //watas-i wa s-uru//
    //watas-i wa s-en//  (≡ //watas-i wa s-enu// ≡ //watas-i wa s-inai//)

    The //-en// is the same thing you find in 「ません」, it's a more literary negative form.

    If the grammatical explanation helps, it is 「渡す」の連用形+係助詞「は」+「する」の未然形+否定の助動詞「ん」.

  3. Yep, it's common. Meaning ③㋑ in the 大辞林 entry.

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