In 吉本隆明という共同幻想, which is a hilarious book that everyone should read, Kure Tomofusa critiques Yoshimoto Takaaki's byzantine writing style. One particularly confounding example is given as follows:



I have some little tricks for deciphering these phrases by themselves, but this sentence throws me for a loop.

  1. Is Kure Tomofusa right to say that this sentence can be drastically simplified?
  2. Is a literally accurate translation of the original sentence possible?

I'm horrible at translation, but since no one has answered so far, let me give a stab a more-or-less literal translation.

I think that things such as problems which were apparently separate and disjointed becoming more-or-less apparently unified happen.

The というようなことがある, which I think of as "things such as ... happen," seems to be part that translates awkwardly because the long preceding clause in Japanese gets put in the middle of the English phrase (though probably there's a more elegant way to do this). If you allow yourself to be a little less literal, it's not so bad:

(I believe) it happens that problems which had appeared separate and disjointed may come to appear more-or-less unified.

Contracting as Kure Tomofusa suggests would leave you with a sentence like

Problems which had appeared separate and disjointed came to appear more-or-less unified.

I don't know what kind of answer you want for 1). Sure you can simplify things if you're willing to give up on nuances or meanings. The former version is much less assertive than the latter. Without context, the second version is saying simply "this happens," but the former version is more along the lines of "(things like) this can happen." But if you mean whether Kure Tomofusa is right that one should be more direct and assertive with words, that seems highly subjective.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you, this is a good stab at it. For the shortened sentence, I was thinking along the lines of "we've become able to see that these problems which seemed separate can be generally unified." Your translation of というようなことがある is helpful but I can't quite plug it in there. – Avery Feb 22 '15 at 8:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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