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あんまりにも痛いんで、ムシャクシャして、適当なぬいぐるみを報復したくなった
包丁で、無抵抗なぬいぐるみを滅多刺し。誰にでもできる惨殺行為、簡単すぎてものすごく無意味【つまらな】い。
それはさぞかし気持ちが悪く、気色が悪く、後味なんか最悪で、つまり今のオレはそのぬいぐるみ役なのだった。

Because it hurt so much, because I got angry, I wanted to take revenge on a stuffed animal.

Is it correct?
I tought you should use に in this sentence.
Is it there a difference?

6
  • Can you add furigana to 無意味い? This probably is a "creative" ateji.
    – naruto
    May 31 '16 at 10:04
  • Out of interest, what's the source? May 31 '16 at 10:31
  • Fate/Hollow Ataraxia.
    – Splikie
    May 31 '16 at 10:32
  • So the author wanted that part to be read as "むいみい", like an i-adjective? That's kind of surprising to me, if not entirely impossible. Could you double-check?
    – naruto
    May 31 '16 at 10:35
  • You are right, I was looking for that word and I found a different sentence which was read normally. I edited it.
    – Splikie
    May 31 '16 at 10:44
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The target of 報復 is usually marked with に or へ. I also think this sentence should be 適当なぬいぐるみ報復したくなった, at least.

And I don't get why 報復 is used here in the first place, because you can't have a grudge against a random (適当な) stuffed animal you didn't know. This kind of action is normally called 八つ当たり.

EDIT: BCCWJ corpus has one example of ~を報復(する) and 15 examples of ~に報復(する), excluding irrelevant hits like 直ちに報復する, 他国を報復のために攻撃する. I wouldn't say ~を報復する is never used, but it's certainly uncommon. I don't think there is any semantic difference between ~を報復する and ~に報復する.

2
  • I think your second sentence is exactly why を was used here. The stuffed animal was "just" the target of retaliation, and at the time seemed a "suitable" target, but is not the "reason" to retaliate. Not enough context here, but imagine a hypothetical: "My sister loves stuffed animals. She told on me to our parents. The nearest stuffed animal became the target of my retaliation." May 31 '16 at 10:46
  • Much better answer after the edit, IMO. Any chance you could quote the one を usage you considered relevant? Also, assuming that there is indeed no semantic difference, what are your thoughts on the same author using both modes in the same article (see my answer for link). Thanks! May 31 '16 at 18:22
0

Both に and を are used, but:

に is "formally correct" and far more common. を seems 'fishy' to some native speakers, but some usages are correct to some native speakers.

に can mark any of the following (all similar): the receiver of the revenge, the "reason" for an act of revenge, the originator of the cause of desire for revenge. (.. and possibly other cases as well).

[Note: following have been discussed/confirmed with a native speaker and are consistent with the examples I've seen, but are 'shaky' ~ if you see counter-examples or have specific doubts please let me know so I can continue to improve this answer]

を is more limited! It can only mark a physical entity that is receiving the act of revenge/retaliation. It can't mark a "reason" for retaliation like "terrorism", but it can mark a target like "the country the terrorist came from". That is 「テロに報復する」 is grammatical, 「テロを報復する」 is not, but both「その国に報復する」 and「その国を報復する」 are grammatical.

Although を's usage is low overall, its relative usage appears to be greater in the context of news articles and broadcasts, especially when marking countries targeted by retaliatory attacks. The intent might be to give a greater air of neutrality, matter-of-factness, etc. It is more likely to be used by a third-party and/or to emphasize that the marked noun was "just the actual/physical target" of a retaliatory action.

In a comment, chocolate correctly points out that some dictionaries mark 報復する as an intransitive verb, and that intransitive verbs generally don't take a direct object via を. However, it is also worth mentioning that exceptions exist. In particular, consider 走る, which is intransitive. However, it can be used with を, e.g., 「道を走る」 is grammatical. To me, を報復する seems like a very similar usage.

A wild and unsubstantiated theory about the を usage that is nonetheless consistent with all examples I've seen so far is as follows. Is it possible that in this case を and に collapse to に when both are applicable to the same noun? According to some approaches to Japanese grammar, は and が behave the same way (in 私はアメリカ人です, 私 is semantically both は and が, but は "eats" the が by a forced convention). If so it would partially explain the prevalence of に usage as を is eaten in all but special cases. If so, に might be more about "reason" for revenge and を specifically for target ~ except that in the vast majority of cases where the same noun is both, に wins out.

EXAMPLE: In any case, the following article actually uses both を報復する and に報復する so it is an example of how a single native author uses them differently:

from http://nor-net.jp/archives/2015/12/post-181.html

を:

日本でテロが起きたとしても、相手を報復してはならない

Roughly: "Even if terrorism were to occur in Japan, (Japan) must not retaliate on the other (country)" [note that "the terrorist/act of terrorism" and "country from which that terrorist came" are subtly different, and here the later is marked with を]

に:

テロにも報復してはならない

Roughly: "(Not just for murder, but) even for terror, vengeance must not be pursued." [Here, "terror" is the action for which vengeance is being sought, thus marked with に.]

[Note: this answer has gone through multiple heavy edits]

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  • 3
    We say usually に報復する regardless of action, event, and receiver. Some persons may say を報復する but it's not common. May 31 '16 at 11:37
  • 5
    私も正しくは「相手報復する」だと思います。明鏡国語辞典にも「報復」は「名・サ変」とあります。学校の小論文などで「相手報復する」と書いたら、多分「に」に直されると思います。
    – Chocolate
    May 31 '16 at 15:48
  • 2
    要は、「Xを着ついた」と「Xに着いた」のように、二件の書かれる方法があるのですか; ネットで滅多に「Xを着ついた」と言う表現にも遭遇していません。 日本語は悪いのは失礼します。
    – Splikie
    May 31 '16 at 16:23
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    ネットで探していたらもう一件に遭遇した。ぼくが知らないカードゲームの一枚のカードにそう書かれた:"飛行 対戦相手1人がコントロールする発生源があなたにダメージを与えるたび、あなたはその点数に等しい数の+1/+1カウンターを報復するグリフィンの上に置いてもよい。"
    – Splikie
    May 31 '16 at 16:46
  • 5
    「あなたはその点数に等しい数の+1/+1カウンターを報復するグリフィンの上に置いてもよい。」では、「カウンターを」は、「報復する」ではなく「置いて」の目的語です
    – Chocolate
    May 31 '16 at 16:57

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