This usage of 上 is still difficult for me. In the context of a sentence I may be able to understand what it does mean, but I can't get the feeling that would tell me: this a situation where using it would be appropriate. (Sometimes I have the feeling that it fits the definition goo辞書ー➊.6ゥ but that's not always the case (moreover in the example provided in this definition 上 is followed by に so, that doesn't match so much).

For example this sentence (from this question)

There is a lot of difficulties for foreigners who learn Japanese.


「いつ製造され、いつ出荷され、どこのお店で販売されたのか」…この「食の履歴」が『安全・安心』をお約束する上でとても重要な「食のトレーサビリティー」です。 "When has been made, when has it been send, where has it been sold" ... This "history of the product" is the important "product trace-ability" that we need to ensure that the product is safe.


Here I don't even get the point because I would expect 運営させる.


Another example, raising from browsing through the recent question:

Mono no aware is a concept related to aesthetic which is capital in order to understand the literature written during the Heian dynasty.

Could somebody clear the fog around this use of 上で? If you need more examples I will try to find some more, but I feel it is used a lot and I have already already crossed of it many times, and I would like to eventually understand it?

EDIT: There seems to have some overlapping with ために in the last example for example.

  • 2
    – chocolate
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 14:15
  • @chocolate なるほど。この解釈では意味が分かる。 Commented May 14, 2016 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


The usage of 〜上で is a little tricky to learn but after reading hundreds of sentences using it I finally started to get a grasp of it.

To put it simply, I feel that in the above passages it has the nuance of "when doing ~".

This site describes 上で with two definitions, the latter which is:


An expression that means "with respect to being in within a certain domain or scope" [my rough translation]

So for the first sentence, it is saying "with respect to the domain of foreigners studying Japanese, there are some difficult points". This isn't exactly natural English, but maybe it will help you get the concept a little better.

Also, as your 2nd and 3rd examples note, this phrase can be used when talking about what is "necessary" in a certain situation.

Here is a post I wrote about 〜上で with a few other comments about this phrase and example sentences.

EDIT: In response to 駑馬十駕's comment about more detail, I'll add a little more to my answer.

While at the beginning I said that 〜上で has the nuance of "when doing ~", based on the dictionary I quoted, it can be seen to have a more specific feeling of "with respect to being within a certain domain", which means it is limiting a discussion to a certain circumstance.

I think if we look literally at the 上 part, we can think of this expression as setting a domain, and then talking "on top of it", in other words using that domain as a basis for further discussion. The で is consistent with having a discussion at that "location" (i.e. この部屋で会話する".

Also, I think it's important to note that this expression has an formal nuance to it, such that I don't think it is used in everyday conversation too much. I'm sure you will see it in business Japanese (more formal written or spoken language), however.

  • Your answer is useful and that's why I upvoted it, but it mainly confirms my understanding and I still do not understand in what situations it is appropriate. In what aspect is this usage useful, I always feel that I could reformulate it. What I miss is what make this usage of 上で unique? What are its particularities (could you add examples to illustrate your point)? Maybe my question is ill-formulated, but I am looking for such an explanation. If you update your answer to reflect this I will accept it. I may even consider granting you a bounty if it proves to be very enlightening. Commented May 16, 2016 at 5:05
  • Check my edit and see if it satisfies you.
    – Locksleyu
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 13:15
  • Oh, I really like, the part "in other words using that domain as a basis for further discussion" that seems to convey the idea behind 上 quite well. Commented May 16, 2016 at 14:46
  • glad to be of help (:
    – Locksleyu
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 17:17

You must log in to answer this question.

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