The following is an excerpt from a dialogue between me and my language partner. We talked about movies deviating in certain points from the original works they are derived from (e.g. Lord of the rings books vs. movies), and how this can have both its pros and cons.

For context, I will include the full block of her reply concerning this point: パディントンの映画は原作(げんさく:元の作品のことをこう言います)とは違いますが、ファミリーで楽しめるエンターテインメントになっていて、とても良かったです。 ロード・オブ・ザ・リングも、日本語に翻訳された本の方(『指輪物語』)は、とても長く、難しいので、子どもが読み切るのはなかなか難しいです。映像の場合、エルフとドワーフがどう違うか、一目でわかるので、一緒に観ている息子に説明しなくても済みます。目と耳から情報が入ってくるので、話に入っていきやすいのではないかと思います。

The sentence in question: ロード・オブ・ザ・リングも、日本語に翻訳された本の方(『指輪物語』)は、とても長く、難しいので、子どもが読み切るのはなかなか難しいです

I think のは signals that a cleft-sentence is used here. I will try to come up with a translation which adequately reflects that:

"Same for the lord of the rings, concerning the into-japanese-translated book 指輪物語, it is pretty hard that children finish it because it is long and difficult."

So first, I don't really know what to do with 方. I don't think that it has any grammatical function like in 来週の試験は今練習するほうがいいだと思います。 I think it simply acts as a noun here. However, http://jisho.org/search/hou doesn't give me any meaning for 方 as a noun which I could think of as suitable for this context here. I usually would go for "volume" or "edition" since we are talking about the japanese version of "The Lord of the rings", but that isn't really backed up by the various semantics listed on jisho.

Second, I must admit that I am really confused what exactly she is talking about now ^^ Is she talking about this movie from 1978, mentioned in the entry for 指輪物語 (前編) http://jisho.org/word/51869426d5dda7b2c6031a62 ? I don't think that this would make sense, since she later on tells me that she finds it easier (for her son) to delve into the story with the visuals of the movie. In addition, 子どもが読み切る suggests a written medium, so she can't be talking about the movie in 日本語に翻訳された本の方(『指輪物語』)は、とても長く、難しいので I think.

Third, I must also admit that I'm a bit confused by the use of brackets in (『指輪物語』) . Um, I guess it kind of works like "" but I've never seen that many brackets being integrated into each other in written text so maybe I'm just not seeing the specific purpose of this.^^

Fourth, I'm not really sure wether the way I dealth with も in ロード・オブ・ザ・リングも is still legit. I'm pretty sure it references back to what she said about "paddington family"-movie, since she thinks that both the LOTR movie and the paddington-movie have changed the original works in a way that makes it more entertaining/easier to delve into. But I'd like to ask for confirmation.

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    This の after 読み切る is a plain nominalizer... :)
    – naruto
    Jan 3, 2018 at 15:45
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    Are you familiar with the usage of 方 in constructions such as 日本よりアメリカの方が危ない? That's how 方 is being used here, but the comparison is with the movie, in the following sentence. Does that help?
    – mamster
    Jan 3, 2018 at 16:24
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    Oh, and 「指輪物語」is the name of the book Lord of the Rings in Japanese translation. The (most recent, hit) film series is called ロード・オブ・ザ・リング. I guess I should just go ahead and answer this, huh?
    – mamster
    Jan 3, 2018 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


You're on the right track but perhaps overthinking the grammar.


"The Japanese translation of Lord of the Rings is also very long and difficult, so it's hard for a child to finish it."

("also" here means "similar to Paddington, the movie is much easier to understand than the book," but that's not explained until the next sentence.)

方 here is used to indicate contrast with something else--specifically, the film adaptation of Lord of the Rings mentioned in the next sentence. It's used in the same sense as 日本よりアメリカの方が危ない. Often this usage is translated into English with an intensifying "more" or "-er," but that's not natural in this case.

Brackets in Japanese are, as you suggest, used in the same way as quotation marks or italics to denote the title of a work.

As Naruto mentions, 読み切るの is a nominalization, not a cleft sentence.


"As for children finishing it..."


"...it's rather difficult."

Finally, looking up 指輪物語 on Jisho will give a misleading result. Try Googling it instead. You'll find that 「指輪物語」refers to the Japanese translation of the book series Lord of the Rings, and the recent film series is called ロード・オブ・ザ・リング.

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