In the English version of 神の子供たちはみな踊る (The Murakami collection of short stories with the English title "After the Quake") the ending line of the short story "All God's Children Can Dance" goes:


Which I (and also the German translation) have always interpreted as: "God", Yoshiya said aloud. However, in the English translation it says:

"Oh God", Yoshiya said aloud.

Which I (without wanting to bother you with the rundown of the story) find to give the ending quite a different meaning. Can "kamisama" be used as an exclamation of sort? Because if not, I find the translation to be kind of off.

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    Do you mean if it's usable as vocative? -- Then yes. Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


Yes. That utterance of "神様" can be interpreted as addressing God (as opposed to just making reference to God), in which case the vocative "Oh" is justly employed in the translation.

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    日本語の「神様」は、「天にまします我らが父よ、」みたいに語りかけてる(vocative case)のであって、「おお、なんてこった」っていう意味(exclamation)じゃない、ってことでしょうかね、やっぱり。。
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 22:40
  • うむむ・・・僕の現状理解では"vocation"と"exclamation"を全くの別物として見れないので、この「神様」がその2つの中のどちらか一方で、他方ではない、とも言えない感じです。ごめんなさい (><)
    – goldbrick
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 23:20

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