I was reading a political news when I came across this phrase 「一強・安倍政権」 My guess is that this is meant to say the Abe administration is "strong" (has strong support from the people, can withstand many scandals unlike previous governments in recent memory that changed prime minister every year, etc). Also, why in parenthesis 「」?

For context, here is the first paragraph:


source: http://news.tv-asahi.co.jp/news_politics/articles/000099429.html

3 Answers 3


number + 強【きょう】 is a way of saying "top ~", "final ~ (in a tournament)", "Big ~".

  • 4強入りを果たす to become one of the semifinalists
  • 自動車業界の三強【さんきょう】 Big Three in the automotive industry

So 一強 here refers to the fact that 安倍政権 (and 自民党) is nearly unopposed recently.

The brackets are used merely to help people parse this sentence easily and to add an mild emphasis. No sarcasm is intended. Japanese people tend to use brackets very loosely, so you don't have to worry about this too much.


Corner brackets (「」) work just like quotation marks in English, as what WP says:

  • Quotation or direct speech: Carol said "Go ahead" when I asked her if the launcher was ready.
  • Mention in another work of a title of a short or subsidiary work, like a chapter or episode: "Encounter at Farpoint" was the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • Scare quotes used to mean "so-called" or to express irony: The "fresh" apples were full of worms.

And the brackets in question mean "so-called" here.

一強 or generally [number] 強 means "the strongest X", "top X", "big X" and such things. I've usually only ever seen 1 to 10 filled in [number] (but there are also examples of 16, 32, 64 for "final X teams" in tournament matches [thanks to @naruto]). In this sense, the expression 一強 might be felt redundant, but its nuance is that there used to be more competitors but only this one is sitting dominant at the current time, in other words, "sole winner".

The interpunct (・) here stands for apposition, so 一強・安倍政権 overall means "Abe regime, (as) the sole winner".

  • 1
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 12:14
  • @naruto お~、ほんとだ!11、12、13…と一応検索してみて、なかったので安心してました (^^)ゞ まさかと思い調べたら「32強」「64強」もちらほら用例があるようですね… Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 12:22

「東北でよかった」is a normal usage as quotation marks of a conversational phrase. 
On the other hand, 「一強・安倍政権」 is used to emphasize a new born and famous wording.

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