I'm translating the following two sentences from a book written in first person.


[悠然]{ゆう・ぜん}とナイフを構えたまま、 [身体]{≪からだ≫}の向きだけを変えてくる。

Is the person turning their body in the second sentence the girl mentioned in the previous sentence, or is it the first person narrator?

  • 3
    this is maybe not a conclusive answer to your question, but knowing from context which of the characters is holding a knife would help a lot. Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 0:54
  • @NicolasLouisGuillemot In context, (shown here, toyufrey.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/chapter-1) both character's are holding knives.
    – Toyu_Frey
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 5:18
  • haha, it's almost like they wanted to make this into a grammar puzzle :) Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 5:21
  • Ha ha, such is the pains of being a self-translator with the aid of the internet, dictionaries, and rudimentary Japanese classes.
    – Toyu_Frey
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


くる at the end of the sentence is a subsidiary verb which describes a motion coming toward a "main person". Since this story is written from the first-person view (俺, 僕, ...), this くる probably means ナイフ is coming toward the first person narrator. That is, although "she is motionless", she is at least slowly moving her legs.

Nevertheless, as @NicolasLouisGuillemot points out, the biggest hint should be in the story itself. Who is holding the knife in this context, after all? How many people are there in this scene? It's difficult to say something with confidence from only those two sentences.

  • I finally went and made a blog for the story I'm translating. The sentence in question is at the very end of the linked blog page. toyufrey.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/chapter-1
    – Toyu_Frey
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 5:16
  • @Toyu_Frey Thank you for the full context, so both the girl and 僕 have a knife :) In this context, the subject of 身体の向きだけを変えてくる is clearly the girl, which is also the subject of the previous sentence. Also, 僕 should be far from being 悠然.
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 6:30

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