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I came across this line today which left me a bit confused:

彼らには子分を二人もやられてる。

The speaker is referring to men from a gang. I've struggled with the meaning of やる outside of its most basic usage, but I've got "They are deceiving two henchmen" and "Two henchmen were killed by them" and "They've got two henchmen with them."

Am I on the right track, or does this mean something else entirely?

  • What dictionary are you using? You should try searching it for やられる. – BJCUAI Sep 20 at 2:11
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The やる here can mean "to kill" or "to beat up", depending on context.
See: What does やっちまえ mean?

やられる is its passive form, "to be killed/beaten up".
やられて(い)る here means "to have been killed/beaten up".


彼らは子分二人もやられてる。

This is Possessor's Passive structure (持ち主の受身), a kind of Indirect Passive structure (間接受身構文). E.g.

(私が)泥棒財布盗また。 ← Possessor's Passive / Indirect Passive
Often translated as: "I had my wallet stolen by a thief."
cf. 泥棒に財布盗まれた。 ← Direct Passive (直接受身) / Normal Passive
"The/My wallet was stolen by a thief."
(→ Active voice: 「泥棒が財布を盗んだ。」 "A thief stole the/my wallet.")

The 子分 refers to the speaker's men.

So the sentence literally means:

"I had two of my men killed/beaten up by them."
→ "They've killed two of my men." / "They've beaten up two of my men."

(The Direct Passive equivalent would be 「彼らには子分二人もやられてる。」, and its active voice sentence would be 「彼らは子分を二人もやっている。」 )

For more on Possessor's Passive, you may want to read:

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やられる here means “be defeated”.

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