3

I am studding particles, and I want to translate the anime's name:

"この素晴しい世界に祝福を!" (kono subarashii sekai ni shukufuku o!).

What does に mean in this sentence? I have seen many people translating this phase to, Blessings to this wonderful world, or God's blessings to this wonderful world. In this case, why not use へ instead に?

  • 2
    Would the answerer of this question please be kind enough to also explain how the addition of を to the end changes the meaning of the phrase or perhaps what verb might be omitted? Thanks. – G-Cam Dec 17 '17 at 23:34
5

The difference between に and へ is the sense of distance between the speaker and "素晴らしい世界".
に implies that the speaker and 素晴らしい世界 is in the same position/place, while in the case of へ there is some distance between the speaker and 素晴らしい世界. If 素晴らしい世界 is apart from the speaker, "あの" must be used instead of "この" in この素晴らしい世界. In this case when you must use あの, there is not much difference in nuance whether you use へ or に.

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EDIT

I can feel the difference in nuances between "に" and "へ". However, the difference is, I know, very difficult to be described clearly not only for foreigners who are studying Japanese, but also for native speakers of Japanese.

Since I thought that the content I showed in my original answer was not enough, I examined the difference further by searching on the Internet. Below is a summary of the results of my examination expressed in bullet points. There were six effective sources examined and they are shown at the end of the edited answer. If you understand Japanese well I recommend you to read the original text directly. Especially the last two sources are very good articles where very useful contents are written for everybody including native speakers of Japanese.

  • (a) The difference is not particularly conscious in many cases.
  • (b) Although there is a difference, when expressing a destination both are used.
  • (c) "へ" represents the direction of movement, while "に" represents "arrival point" or "destination point".
  • (d) Young people often use "に" like "東京{とうきょう}に行{い}く", "家{いえ}に帰{かえ}る" or "田中{たなか}さんに渡{わた}す", while the elderly use "へ" more often than youngsters like "東京へ行く", "家へ帰る" or "田中さんへ渡す".
  • (e) As for "へ", you can say "駅の道{みち} the way to the staion" in the sense of "駅{えき}へ行{い}く途中{とちゅう} on the way to the station", but you cannnot say "駅の道" by using "に". The latter phrase doesn't make sense. This may be because the "道" in this phrase refers to the way in the direction of going to the station, so that the speaker feels conscious that "へ" is more appropriate than "に".
  • (f) When telling the course of a typhoon, you can use either "北{きた}向{む}かっている heading north" or "北向かっている heading north", but it may be better to say "北へ向かっている". The reason for this is that in case of telling the predicting course of a typhoon in a weather forecast, "the arrival point" to which the typhoon is heading has not yet been decided, so what you can say clearly is "the heading direction" of the typhoon.
  • (g) The reason why the distinction in usage between modern "に" and "へ" is ambiguous is written in "日本語{にほんご}文法{ぶんぽう}大辞典{だいじてん} Japanese grammar dictionary".
    According to this dictionary,
    ① "へ" was originally "[辺]{he} neighborhood or vicinity", which was a noun that was used by attaching to a word indicating a place in particular in a phrase like "海{うみ}の辺 the place near the sea" or "沖{おき}の辺 the place near the offshore".
    ② After that, it was transformed into "a case particle 格助詞{かくじょし}" from the Nara era to the Heian era, and it was used together with the verb having the meaning of moving, and worked to show the direction of its movement.
    ③ From the middle of the Heian era, "へ" invaded the usage of the case particle with "に" indicating the "帰着点{きちゃくてん}・到着点{とうちゃくてん} return/arrival point" of movement, so "へ" also had become to indicate "帰着点・到着点 return/arrival point".
    ④ The invasion shown in ③ has led to ambiguity of modern use of "に" and "へ".
  • (h) There is a difference in range between "に" and "へ".
    "に" concretely represents the destination and arrival place in a narrow range. On the other hand, "へ" expresses the destination and the direction of travel in a wide range also from the fact that "辺 neighborhood or vicinity" is the etymology of it.
    For example, let's think about "明日{あした or あす}東京行く" and "明日東京行く". There is no big difference in using either way to convey your intention. However, the former expression using "へ" shows "Tokyo as direction", whereas the latter using "に" shows the nuance where the arrival point is emphasized as "Tokyo that is not any other place". Therefore, "東京に行く" means going to a destination called Tokyo, such as Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro etc. refers to a relatively limited place or specific place, while "東京へ行く" means not limited to going to Tokyo Station, Shinjuku etc. but relatively extensive area such as Yokohama and Tokyo Disneyland etc. is included.
  • (i) Let's give you a quiz. Historically Japan is roughly divided into the eras with Nara, Heian, Kamakura, Muromachi, [江戸]{Edo} , Meiji etc.
    Then, what is the era of each of the following questions.
    (A) 江戸[時代]{じだい}続{つづ}く時代
    (B) 江戸時代続く時代
    First of all, as for "江戸時代へ続く時代", the answer is likely to be "the Muromachi era" in the above division. It is not the Meiji era. When you say "〇〇へ続く時代", the era that is proper as the answer would be what is older than 〇〇 in time.
    On the other hand, what era is "江戸時代に続く時代"? The answer is somewhat vague. There are possibilities of "the Muromachi era" and "the Meiji era" as well. However, "the Meiji era" is more plausible than "the Muromachi era".
  • (j) Since I think source (6) is an excellent article explaining the difference between "へ" and "に", I'll translate the main part of it into English as it is.
    【quote】
    On meaning of case particles "へ" and "に"
    Case particles "へ" and "に" are words with distinct differences, and in general they are not misused.
    These two are:
    "へ" is "目的地{もくてきち}格{かく} a case particle indicating a destination place".
    "に" is "対象地{たいしょうち}格 a case particle indicating the target place"+"[舞台]{ぶたい}a case particle indicating the stage or the place where plays are performed".
    Or it could be said as follows:
    "へ" indicates movement to the target location/object/state.
    "に" indicates to exist/ to make something/someone exist/ to cause an event in the target location/object/state.
    "そこ行く" means just moving. On the other hand, "そこ行く" means to move there and make the place a new place of existence.
    【unquote】

Sources:

(1) 「福山に行きます」と「福山へ行きます」の「に」と「へ」の違いを教えてください。
  (日本語の教え方相談室 アルク)
(2) Q 台風の進路を伝えるときは、「北に向かっている」と「北へ向かっている」のどちらがよいでしょうか。
  (NHK放送文化研究所)
(3) 「に」と「へ」
  (ことば百科 三省堂Web Dictionary)
(4) 「に」と「へ」の助詞の使い方分けを教えてください。
  (Yahoo知恵袋)
(5) 「に続く」と「へ続く」
  (国語辞典編纂者・日本語学者の飯間浩明のウェブサイト)
(6) 格助詞「へ」と「に」の意味
  (###日本語の核心、格助詞論 万象酔歩)

  • What is the difference between "素晴しい" and "素晴らしい"? – Felipe Nascimento Dec 18 '17 at 11:25
  • @Felipe Nascimento: いずれも一緒です。私は今まで何十年も「すばらしい」を「素晴らしい」と書いてきました。次の説明(detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1414172049)によると、「素晴しい」が正書法のようですが、「素晴らしい」も間違いではないようです。因みに、インターネットで使用数を調べると「素晴らしい」の方が「素晴しい」より300倍も多いです。 – mackygoo Dec 18 '17 at 11:58
  • can you answer in English? – Felipe Nascimento Dec 18 '17 at 12:03
  • @Felipe Nascimento: In short there is no difference between them. 素晴しい is said as orthography, but almost everybody writes it as 素晴らしい. If you search for them on the Internet, 素晴らしい counts 182,000,000 hits while 素晴しい 1,370,000 hits. – mackygoo Dec 18 '17 at 13:03
  • @mackygoo I'd upvote this 10 times if I could. – G-Cam Dec 20 '17 at 16:20
6

この素晴しい世界に祝福を!

As you can see, this phrase is not a complete sentence in a grammatical sense.

The を is here because the verb of this sentence is left unsaid. The omitted verb phrase could probably be something like 送ろう/送りましょう, 捧げよう/捧げましょう or もたらそう/もたらしましょう, etc:

「この素晴らしい世界に祝福を(送ろう/捧げよう/もたらそう etc.)。」
lit. "(Let us/me send/dedicate/bring) blessings to this wonderful world."

... or it might even be (神が)もたらしたまえ or 与えたまえ ("May God bring/give...") etc... I suppose it could be quite open-ended.


The に (lit. "to") is here because of the omitted verb 送る/捧げる/もたらす/与える (lit. send/dedicate/bring/give).

「[人/物]祝福を。」(lit. "Blessings to [someone/something].") sounds more natural and is more common than 「[人/物]祝福を。」. This に indicates the recipient of the blessings, rather than the direction (≂ "toward~~", 「~へ」) of the movement of sending, bringing, or giving the blessings. (In other words, in this phrase the recipient/相手 or the destination/到達点 is more focused over the direction/方向性.) Similar examples:
「これを君あげましょう。」 (rather than 「これを君あげましょう。」)
「弟算数を教える」 (rather than 「弟算数を教える」)
「鳩エサを与えないでください。」 (rather than 「鳩エサを与えないでください。」)

As for the interchangeability of 「~に」 and 「~へ」 used with 移動を表す動詞 (verbs involving movement):
「東京行く」「東京行く」
「東京向かう」「東京向かう」
「荷物を東京送る」「荷物を東京送る」
Both に and へ are acceptable here, and as a general tendency に indicates the destination of the movement (closer to "to"), and へ, the direction (closer to "toward"). 明鏡国語辞典 also states: "「に」は到達点・相手を、「へ」は方向性を重視した言い方". But the distinction is subtle and they're often used interchangeably in real life. One more difference that I can think of is, the に versions sound a bit more casual and the へ versions more formal.


In Japanese, especially in speech/conversation, the verb (phrase) of a sentence often gets omitted when it can be inferred from the rest of the sentence, eg:

「あ、言い忘れたことが。」
「何か問題でも?」
「助けて!中にまだ子供が!」
「目にゴミが…。」
etc.

And this kind of omission quite often occurs in song/novel/film titles or slogans, too. eg:

アルジャーノンに花束を
まごころを、君に
君の名は。
ティファニーで朝食を
手のひらを太陽に
いつも心に太陽を
『世界の子供たちにワクチンを!』


As for the spelling of 素晴らしい vs 素晴しい, I think 素晴しい is far more common, especially in contemporary Japanese. And the original title of the manga also uses 素晴らしい:

2

What に means in this sentence?

This "に" means "to"

why not use へ instead に?

Using "へ" instead of "に" does not change meaning, but it sounds a bit strange.

As common issue of translation, there is not always perfect corresponding translation. In this case, just Japanese don't prefer "この素晴らしい世界へ祝福!" as name of anime because it sounds strange.

"Blessings to this wonderful world" sounds perfect to me.

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