Recently I've been trying to wrap my head around the Tobira textbook grammar point on というのは and from my understanding [Aというのは Bのことだ/ということだ] essentially means [A means B]. However, I can't seem to understand the nuances of the sentence ending のこと/ということ.

Does Kanto Region mean Tokyo?

Why is 「のことですか。」 used here? Would 「関東地方」というのは東京ですか。 and 「関東地方」というのは東京ということですか。 also be appropriate? Do all three mean the same thing? When would one form be more appropriate over the other?

2 Answers 2


AはBのことだ is "A means B". Aというの is "what's called A".

So, 「関東地方」というのは東京のことですか is "Does what's called Kanto Region mean Tokyo?". (Incidentally, the answer is no)

「関東地方」というのは東京ということですか can mean the same thing as …東京のこと… but that という(こと) is more likely to denote a clause. It sounds like 東京(にいる)ということ or "By saying 'Kanto Region', do you mean you've been to Tokyo?".


The last example, at least, is very bulky and most people would not bother saying "という" twice as it is redundant. The other two seem fine to me.The second is a bit more concise. I do not see any great difference. If I were to translate, 1 is By Kanto, are you talking about Tokyo? 2. is roughly By Kanto, do you mean Tokyo? 3. is roughly By Kanto, do you mean the location known as Tokyo?

Especially since I doubt anyone has not heard of Tokyo, 3 would feel a little less nice. Nonetheless, all would function and serve their purpose.

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