I've been reading 『ひこばえ』, a novel that's being serialized on the Asahi Shinbun website, and yesterday I came across a bit of dialogue that I'm finding somewhat puzzling. The speaker is the priest of a small, family-run Buddhist temple, and the part I'll quote below introduces a brief discussion of his difficult relationship with his late father, who preceded him as the temple priest.


The only sense I can make of this is something along the lines of "My dad was really strict; when I was a kid he was always hanging me from the pine tree on the temple grounds" – presumably, as a form of corporal punishment. But that seems so bizarre, especially in the absence of any further explanation or detail, that I can't help wondering if I'm missing something. Am I interpreting the sentence correctly, and if so, what kind of mental image does 松の木に吊(つる)されたんですよ evoke for a native speaker – when you read that, do you imagine the kid dangling by his clothing, holding onto a branch with his hands, or what?

Also, if I'm correct in assuming that the subject changes from 親父 to the speaker after で, why doesn't that change need to be made explicit? And what would be the most natural way to make it explicit, if one wanted to?

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


If I heard this in a conversation, I would definitely be puzzled and ask for clarification, too. Aside from deadly neck-hanging, TBH my mental image of 人を吊るす as a punishment is like this or this. Of course this is still way too much for a real kid, but unfortunately I have no further explanation for this.

As far as grammar goes, I can assure your understanding is fine. Apparently the author is talking about his own story, so the subject of 吊るされた doesn't have to be explicit. Adding 俺/僕/私は before 子供の頃 may even result in a slightly awkward sentence.

  • Yikes - that's even worse than what I was picturing! Thanks very much for your reply, which is both helpful and reassuring.
    – Nanigashi
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 18:32

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