I came across this sentence :

こうして見ている分には、本当の親子そのものにしか見えぬ。

I looked up on this very website the meaning of 見ている分には, but I'm still not sure as to what it really means.

Is there a way to translate it into english, or is it just fine to take it as a way to emphasize the verb 見る ?

For instance, would it bear the same meaning if I were to say

こうして見ていると、本当の親子そのものにしか見えぬ ?

EDIT: As I said: I looked up on this very website the meaning of 見ている分には, but I'm still not sure as to what it really means. Meaning: I ve read the subject marked as duplicate.

  • 1
    Did you read my answer? If yes, what did you not understand? – user31974 Dec 1 at 16:57
  • I did and I think I understand your answer (by the way thank you for helping me!), but someone downvoted it so I'm not sure what to think about it! – Ushiromiya Dec 1 at 16:59
  • Not sure either, if you want sources to verify my answer, here are some links:lang-8.com/592170/journals/… dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/197124/meaning/m0u (6 仮にそうであるとする状態。「行く分には差し支えあるまい」)  detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1330374533 – user31974 Dec 1 at 17:03
  • Could it be translated as "as long as"? It seems to fit. For instance : 「山奥に行く分には問題ない」"As long as you go deep inside the moutains, it'll be ok." (meaning: if you don't go there, it won't be ok.) Or "お金足りるかな?" "アイスクリーム買う分には大丈夫だよ。" "As long as you buy ice cream, it's ok." – Ushiromiya Dec 2 at 18:36
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    I'd just say "There would probably be no obstacles If (one) goes". depending on the context. And if we're talking about translation, I guess "as long as" could be fine, you can translate it by anything as long as it doesn't get too far from the original sentence. But I think "if" is better because it fits in every situation, "as long as" doesn't feel right in some sentences – user31974 Dec 2 at 18:45
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The meaning is really close. But there is a deeper nuance with 分には.

Basically, 分 means "part", like a portion of something we divided. So it literally means:

こうして見ている分には : in the portion/part that I see doing (like) this, blahblah

You can see it being almost the same as 範囲. It creates "borders" around what you see (見ている) and the rest of the sentence is about what is within these borders.

With と, it's a "plain conditional", meaning it's just the same as "if" in English.

I admit they would probably be translated the same way if we wanted to write good English though.

こうして見ている分には、本当の親子そのものにしか見えぬ。 : If we look (at them) like this, they look like nothing but real 親子

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