Context: a boy has had a troubled life. His father used to beat him up, but then committed suicide. Then he was almost killed by his mother's yakuza boyfriend. His mother is now in prison and doesn't want to see him. The boy is now basically alone, but has just joined a boxing gym. His boxing trainer tells him (the sentence is split into two separate balloons, see the whole page here):

他の生き方は半端でもクソでも / いくらでも命の保証あるんだぞ?

First, I don't understand if 半端 and クソ refer to 他の生き方 or to 命の保証. And what is the meaning of 命の保証? "Life certainties"?

Also, I don't understand the actual value of 他. "Another way of life" compared what? To the one he had before?

I think the trainer is trying to cheer the boy up after he has been rejected by his mother. My translation attempt:

Do other ways of living have any certainties? Even shitty or imperfect ones?

Here's the previous page too for more context.

  • 1
    I'm not sure what's still left besides the existing answer. If anything, a little possibility that comes to my mind is that the word 命 has some special connotation, as the boy repeats it. But it doesn't seem to be clarified in the context you've provided. Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 10:01
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    The existing answer seems perfect to me, but to clarify, the implication of this sentence is "The way of living as a boxer may threaten your life." As far as I can see, this 命 refers to his real life in the biological sense.
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 15:06
  • In the answer provided, maybe the translation was a bit too literal, so I did'n understand the actual implication of the whole sentence. Thank you @naruto for the further clarification.
    – Marco
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


「他{た・ほか}の生{い}き方{かた}は半端{はんぱ}でもクソでも / いくらでも命{いのち}の保証{ほしょう}あるんだぞ?」

「命の保証」 means "guarantee of your safety" and it is used fairly often in fiction.

I don't understand if 半端 and クソ refer to 他の生き方 or to 命の保証.

It is the former.

"Another way of living, how shitty and incomplete it might be, will (at least) fully guarantee your safety."

The question mark used in the original expresses the speaker's intention of asking the listener to choose between the present way of living and another. You as a reader is expected to employ a rising intonation at the end of the sentence even though it is not a question grammatically.

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    It's probably not my place to question a native speaker, but are you sure it's 他{た} and not 他{ほか}?
    – Angelos
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 2:56
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    ^ この場合、「た」「ほか」、どちらとも読めるかと・・・「たのいきかた」は「ほかのいきかた」より硬い感じがすると思います・・・
    – chocolate
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 6:39
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    @Marco It's a little more literal, as in "guarantee your life". Is the kid joining a gang or something that is potentially life-threatening? The man is warning him that he has the choice of taking a path that isn't dangerous, even if it doesn't provide the best life.
    – Jimmy
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 17:57
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    @Marco He is not implying what is better, but is giving the boy one last time to bail. l'électeur's translation is pretty much it, but if you want something more localized, I would say "There are plenty of other ways you can live, and no matter how shitty they are, they at least guarantee you your life." (unlike boxing, which is a dangerous sport)
    – Jimmy
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 22:08
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    @Marco Whether or not they're both happy isn't relevant in the conversation provided. The man isn't trying to talk the boy out, but throwing out that warning (that he knows the boy will ignore anyways), probably so that the boy can never blame him if anything happens ("Hey, I told you it's a dangerous sport").
    – Jimmy
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 22:36

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