I found on NHK easy Japanese a puzzling sentence:


My problem is with 戦争をするために殺したのではない

My first attempt at translation would use mentally parenthesis as shown in the following: (戦争をするために殺したの)ではない

My translation would be then "we killed him but not to do war".

At least I believe that 戦争をするために殺したの means: "a kill in order to make war" and ではない would negate the meaning.

But then again what would be the Japanese translation if Trump had meant that the general was making war and was killed because he was making/preparing war? Thanks a lot for any help!

  • Are you requesting a translation of "the general was making war and was killed because he was making/preparing war"? That seems to be a completely different sentence to me...
    – naruto
    Jan 8, 2020 at 1:50
  • @naruto “what would be the Japanese translation if ~”は「〜の場合は(上の文の)訳はどうなりますか」って意味です。ofじゃなくてifなので。戦争をするために殺した場合は日本語はどうなるかと聞いてるかと思います。 Jan 8, 2020 at 2:18
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    @DariusJahandarie Hmm looks like I was confused... perhaps OP is expecting 戦争をするために殺したのだ (if Trump wanted to make a war) or 司令官が戦争を起こそうとしていたから殺したのだ (if the General wanted to make a war)? (Of course neither should be true)
    – naruto
    Jan 8, 2020 at 2:25
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    Ah yes, the latter I think! Jan 8, 2020 at 2:29
  • @DariusJahandarie, Yes, I was expecting some explanation that would make sense for a democratic country to kill somebody at all. I know, that expecting a sensible explanation from Trump might be too optimistic. In any case I wasn't sure that I understand the meaning correctly, and thus was asking also for the Japanese expression in case the general was killed "because he was making war" for comparison.
    – Quit007
    Jan 8, 2020 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


Your initial translation seems correct. Without seeing the full article, my guess would be that '殺した'refers to the killing of General Suleimani. 'の' would indicate that an explanation or reason is being alluded to in the preceding text. An inelegant but more literal translation would be "it wasn't for the purpose of making war (we) killed him".

  • Woudn't the の-Particle in this case not act rather as changing the verb 殺した (to have killed) to a noun (there) was a killing?
    – Quit007
    Jan 8, 2020 at 9:20

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