I'm trying to understand the use of というのは in the second sentence below. Is it a way to refer to the 職業 in the first sentence? I find in some places that というのは can mean "the reason I'm saying this is..." Is that the meaning expressed in this example? For example, people are given a blue card (because) they have a useful profession?


Translation from subtitles: "The scene I'm talking about is the one with the Nazi soldiers separating Jewish people by profession. They give a blue card to people who are considered with an useful job. People who are considered with an unuseful job are sent to the ghetto immediately."

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xs-XWk_oQA 0:55

  • の here is substituting another noun. Try to think what kind of nouns you can replace that の with... There's your answer. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 6:04

2 Answers 2


というのは is a fixed phrase.

  • と: the quotative particle which is used with いう
  • いう: "say"
  • の: the nominalizer (turns a verb into a noun)
  • は: the topic marker

So literally, ○○というのは is something like "saying ○○ is ..."

というのは can be used in two ways.

  1. というのは used alone at the beginning of a sentence is a conjunctional phrase, which means "I mean", "That is to say", "I'm saying this because", etc. In this case, と refers to what the speaker said in the previous sentence.
  2. ○○というのは is a fixed pattern used when the speaker wants to explain the characteristics of something, or to define something. You can think of it as a special emphatic topic marker. It's often interchangeable with ○○とは, which is another important particle combination used to give a definition.

    人生というのは長い旅だ。 ≒ 人生とは長い旅だ。 ≒ Life is a long journey.

In your example, その場面というのはどういった場面か is basically the same as その場面はどういった場面か. And it forms a noun phrase (embedded question) which means "What kind of scene that scene is".

≒ 「その場面はどういった場面か」というと、
≒ (lit.) When I say "what kind of scene that scene is", ...
≒ To explain that scene in details, ... / The scene I'm talking about is ...

(と)いうと after the embedded question here is another very common pattern which roughly means "To tell/say ...", "Speaking of...", etc.

  • 本当のことを言うと、… To tell the truth, ...
  • なぜかと言うと、… To explain why, ... / The reason why is ...
  • 率直に言うと、… Frankly speaking, ... / To be honest, ...
  • Actually, I was wondering about the use of というのは in this sentence: "役に立つと見なされた職業というのはブルーカード、 役に立たないと見なされた職業というのは即ゲットー行きです。" I only provided the other sentence for context. Do you have any insight on this sentence?
    – browncm
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 22:07

I believe that in this case というのは simply is used with the general purpose of defining something (in this case useful and non-useful jobs).

So I think that the two というのは in the second sentence just refer to the respective 職業 before them rather than the people. Maybe in this case, just for the sake of comprehension, would make sense to translate というのは with "correspond to"? In this way it becomes "Jobs considered useful correspond to a blue card, jobs considered non-useful correspond to going straight to the ghetto".

This is just my interpretation, I would not swear is 100% correct. Hope it helps at least to see it from a different angle.

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