I know that there is no "The" particle in Japanese. But I am curious if there is a proper way to emphasize a topic the same way you do with "The" in English.

For example:

He's "the man".

So you meet the "president"!?!

"The 2011" world champion?

Would translate to "だ!" as in "です"? How do you emphasize it in Japanese?

On the other hand how about translating book titles with "The" would be a different question too.

  • 2
    The is not a particle. It is a definite article. I don't get what you mean by "emphasize a topic the same way you do with 'The' in English". Probably you mean "mark the definiteness", or "mark the focus" with the?
    – user458
    Mar 13, 2012 at 5:50
  • 1
    Nap, what you mean is a bit unclear to me too. The first thing that occurred to me is this sort of usage: "Is he an authority on John Lennon?" "He's THE authority on John Lennon!" Maybe you could provide "non-emphasized" versions of your sample sentences, to show by contrast what you mean.
    – Matt
    Mar 13, 2012 at 6:23
  • @Matt the example that you state was the usage that I was looking for.
    – Nap
    Mar 13, 2012 at 7:22
  • @sawa: English articles are particles. Aug 24, 2012 at 9:41

4 Answers 4


Maybe 本物{ほんもの}の~ "the real deal..."?

  • かれは本物の男だ。
    He's a fair dinkum man.
    (might even be able to use 漢{おとこ} in place of .)

  • 本物の首相に会いたいの?
    You want to meet with the actual president?

  • 本物の2011年チャンピオンなのか?
    The real deal 2011 champion?


本物may be a little informal. そのものwould be a more formal emphasis word:

  • そしてその勢いで1912年には民主党推薦の大統領に、続いて1913年の3月に大統領そのものにも就任していた
  • Of course, there is always ザ (katakana form of 'The') かれはザ・男だ。 かれはザ・オトコだ。 かれはザ・マンだ。 Mar 15, 2012 at 20:46

You could always try using endings like this:

〜じゃん (ex: イケメンじゃん!)
〜ぞ (ex: イケメンだぞ!)
〜だ (ex: イケメンだ!)

They provide at least some emphasis... though, it's not quite the same as in English. Using だ just by itself can even work... as long as the vocal emphasis is placed somewhere near だ.


There is no syntactic counterpart to the in Japanese. Among world's languages, there are languages that do have articles and languages that do not. English and Japanese belong to the former and the latter respectively. This is a fundamental difference, and you just cannot map an article from one language to another language that does not have it.

Since this website is biased towards programmers, to give a close counterpart to the two types of natural languages in programming languages, natural languages with articles like English correspond to class-based object oriented programming languages like C++, Java, Ruby. Natural languages without articles like Japanese correspond to prototype-based object oriented programming languages like Javascript. And as you may be able to guess, articles in natural languages correspond to constructors in programming languages.

But it you want to express a similar nuance using different syntactic components, then you can use expressions like その, 唯一の, 先ほどの, 例の, 問題の,問題になっている, 話題になっている depending on the context.

  • 6
    "and as you may be able to guess" - most definitely not as I am now lol.
    – Flaw
    Mar 13, 2012 at 11:09

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