While browsing through some chapters of the Bleach manga, I stumbled over a sentence that puzzles me. A chapter is called:


I know what 立ち means and I know that the べし is a suffix that kind of means that the verb is an obligation or something that should be done(?). But I can't make sense of the て kana and why it is 死す and not 死ぬ.

Link to where it appeared is here, chapter 511.

Would a correct translation be "those who stand shall/must die"?


1 Answer 1



The 立ち is the continuative form (連用形) of the archaic verb 立つ.
The て is the conjunctive particle (接続助詞), i.e. 立ちて is the te-form of 立つ in Classical Japanese.
死す is a literary, bookish way of saying 死ぬ. As in @broccoliforest's comment below 死す is the archaic form of 死する.

So in modern Japanese I think it would be like 「立って死ぬべき(だ)」 or 「立って死ぬべし」, "should/must die while standing".

  • 2
    細かいことですが、現代語でも「死する」という動詞が残っています。「死ぬ」に相当する単語は古文でも「死ぬ」です(ナ変) Dec 23, 2015 at 17:14
  • 2
    「死する」が「死ぬ」の堅い言い方、ということでいいんじゃないでしょうか。 Dec 23, 2015 at 17:22
  • 2
    @Daniel Yes, archaism means loftiness. As for べき, yes and no, for there's no word fully translates べし anymore, so we sometimes just use it as is. Dec 23, 2015 at 18:09
  • 1
    @dainichi 私には、「べし」より「べきだ」のほうが口語的で現代的な感じがして、「べし」のほうが古い感じや文語的と言うか、なんか壁に貼ってある社訓みたいなのにありそうな気がします。‌(​箇条書きとかで。)日常会話で「~べし!」とか言われたら、ふざけてるのかなって思うかも・・・
    – chocolate
    Dec 24, 2015 at 6:25
  • 2
    @dainichi Today's べき is, in a word, should, while Classical べし was, among many possible translations, shall. ~べし/べからず thou shalt/shalt not kind of wording is one of those we can't find substitutes in modern language, thus we still sometimes rely on. Maybe ~しろ/するな Do!/Don't do! are fitter for those situations than べき. Dec 24, 2015 at 6:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .