In the book 数学ガール ガロア理論, the phrase くびきを共にする, which I would infer means something like "to yoke together", appears repeatedly as a metaphor for phenomena where a number of elements are related.

Some google hits for the phrase can be found in a religious context (e.g. イエス様とくびきを共にする "Be joined to Jesus (as with a yoke)").

But why is くびき the object in this phrase? I would expect くびき to be the instrument or means of yoking (the yoke itself) rather than an object.

  • If you knew what 「共にする」 meant (and it means something very simple), you would know it would have to be an object that preceded it. Whether it is yours or another person's, it seems you are letting that TL "Be joined to Jesus (as with a yoke)." get in the way of understanding the phrase in the original Japanese context. That is only a free TL that is syntaxically quite different from the original.
    – user4032
    Sep 15, 2015 at 0:52
  • Is the free translation correct or not? I didn't see an answer in your comment. Would a more literal translation be something like "to share a yoke with Jesus"? That sounds odd, even as a literal translation.
    – jogloran
    Sep 15, 2015 at 0:53
  • If an expression 食事を共にする is simply 食事をする modified by an adverbial phrase 共に, is it possible to describe a yoked animal as くびきをしている? If so, that would explain くびきを共にしている.
    – jogloran
    Sep 15, 2015 at 6:44
  • 共にする here means "to share". It's different from the one as in 食事を共にする.
    – user4092
    Sep 15, 2015 at 6:52

1 Answer 1


Are you confused because you think 「食事を共にする」 is the same as 「共に食事する」?

「食事を共にする」 is [to share] [meal], not [to eat] [together].

This is more obvious in phrases like 「運命を共にする」「生死を共にする」, where 運命 and 生死 are clearly not verbs. (You don't say 運命する or 生死する)

So 「くびきを共にする」 is [to share] [a yoke].

Sharing a yoke

  • Thanks mirka, makes a lot of sense. Coincidentally, one of the main characters in the book which inspired this question is named ミルカ!
    – jogloran
    Sep 24, 2015 at 6:50

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