The volitional form is often translated as "let's," but that's a first person plural imperative and I am not sure if that's the case for Japanese. In Japanese dictionaries, one of the definitions for the volitional form is:

勧誘や婉曲な命令を表す。下に「か」「じゃないか」などが付いて,意味を強めることがある。 「いっしょにジョギングでもしよう」 「少しおなかがすいてきた。すしでも食べようか」

At first glance, it seems that it's a second person imperative such as in expressions like 私と行こうよ. It would seem strange to order yourself to go somewhere with yourself. However, it being a second person imperative doesn't seem to work with other sentences such as みんなで行こうよ and 全員で行こうよ where "I" seems to be included with みんな and 全員. This leaves me at a loss as to who the 勧誘や婉曲な命令 is directed to when the subject is omitted and it's just a verb. For example, if a group of people were about to go somewhere and someone said 行こう, is it a second person imperative with 私と omitted or a first person plural imperative?


It's used for both, but the use as second person imperatives is a "hack". E.g. one can say ドア閉めようぜ to a person, and it's clear that the other person closes the door alone. Yet literary it would mean Let's close the door (together). Similarly, one can say そういうこと言うのやめようよ and it's clear the speaker isn't doing that activity, but it doesn't quite mean Don't say such things, it's more like Let us (as society) not say such things.

Same with 私と行こうよ, 私と is just elaborating on the activity suggested. If you say たかしと行こうよ it's implied that the speaker comes as well, unless it's used in the hacky way e.g.

The older child would be sad. Let's (as a society) take both children to the zoo etc.

In the above example it can be that the speaker won't come. This hack is used to avoid being rude/inconsiderate.

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