While doing some translating, I stumbled upon this usage of 立ち上がる。


It doesn't match up with the definitions I'm familiar with, nor any of the other ones I found in the dictionary.

①座ったり腰かけたりしていた人が,立つ。 「座席から-・る」
③まったく打ちひしがれていた者が,勢いを取り戻す。「破産の憂き目から-・る」 「廃墟の中から-・る」

A google search for ~を手に立ち上がる with over a million hits suggests it's used often enough.


Could someone elaborate on what's going on and the precise meaning of the word?

  • 4
    Yet another indication that google hit counts are utterly meaningless: Searching for "を手に立ち上がる" yields 100k hits and 210 results if you go to the last page, a search for "を手に立ち上" yields only 11 hits...
    – blutorange
    Commented Dec 12, 2014 at 8:27
  • By the way, this original context wants to say, she kept her trash bag even she was tumbling. Or she has never given up her trash bag. It makes whole thing a comedy story on purpose.
    – user34216
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 23:19

2 Answers 2


A を B に is a common literary adverbial expression that means with A in/on B, literally or figuratively.

In most cases you have a part of body in B, as 小銭を手に with coins in hand, 期待を胸に with expectation in chest (= heart), ドアを背に with door in back (= with back against the door), リュックを(背/肩)に with backpack on shoulder etc.

But it's also frequently used with position/moment words in B, notably 心配をよそに with concern in elsewhere (= much to others' unease), 敵を前に with enemy in front (= confronting one's enemy), その手紙を最後に with the letter at the end (= no contact since the letter) etc.

snailboat's analysis isn't wrong, but you can't expect ~に and ~にして to be used interchangeably in real life, because:

ゴミ袋を手に立ち上がる to stand up with garbage bag in hand
ゴミ袋を手にして立ち上がる to stand up after grasping the garbage bag

~にして contains a verb te-form, thus always describes two motions occurring in succession, but not concurrently.

Here is a Japanese thesis about the difference between AをBに with and without して. You can also find more examples of this construction, which I didn't cover here.

I forgot the most crucial thing. So the 立ち上がる is but an ordinary intransitive verb "to stand up".


して has been omitted from 〜を〜に(して):


して is often omitted from this construction. In this case, we can tell it's omitted for two reasons:

  1. The following verb is intransitive and can't take an を-argument.
  2. ゴミ袋を and 手に don't make sense as arguments of 立ち上がる here.

So the key isn't the meaning of the verb, but the ellipsis of する.

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