First off, I tried looking at the explanation here. However, the reasons for 我が家 don't seem to apply to 我が身.

Here is the excerpt that doesn't seem to apply from Jesse Good's post:

The above also applies to 我が母校、我が国、我が家族、我が妻、我が故郷、etc. They all imply that you have a deep relationship, you are proud of them, show affection, etc.

Obviously 我が身 is not stated there (possibly intentionally?). I'm unsure how it is possible to "have a deep relationship, be proud of, or show affection" to yourself.

The sentence that I read:


What is the purpose of 「我が身」 in this sentence? Is it possible for it to simply be substituted with 私自身? Also, what is implied by 「我が」 in 「我が身」 that is different than the 「我が」 in the examples from the link above?

  • “Is it possible for it to simply be substituted with 私自身?” I think so, at least in this sentence. Daijisen defines 我が身 as: 自分のからだ。また、自分の身の上。自分。 In this sentence, it is used as 自分の身の上 (someone’s own situation). – Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 23 '12 at 12:16

我が身 in this sentence makes it feel like you are "looking at yourself from the outside" more than if you would use 私自身. I believe you could substitute わが身 with 自分自身 or 私自身, however I think 自分自身 would be a better fit because it feels more 客観的. Also, 我が身 doesn't necessarily mean わたしの身, it actually can refer to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person. Although the 2nd person usage is archaic and not used anymore. So, although it might sound strange to "have a deep relationship with yourself", think of the usage as talking about yourself in a somewhat "detached" way which might help you see the connection better.

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