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I came across this sentence in IAIJ (the context was an adult studying japanese on an elementary schoolbook, saying that there are a lot of simple readings but also more interesting ones providing cultural education that, however, where in contrast with his own sense of education):

ほかに修身の読本もあって、‘’サイタサイタサクラガサイタ”に比べれば多少面白かったが、その道徳観は私のそれ大いに矛盾していた。

My translation is the following:

Apart from that, there were also cultural education readings that, compared with "Saita saita sakura ga saita" where quite interesting but, that view of education greatly contradicted mine.

To my knowledge「XはYと矛盾する」means "X contradicts Y" so I don't understand what is purpose of the それ and は (highlighted in bold in the sentence) there. Isn't the following correct (I just removed them from the sentence)?

ほかに修身の読本もあって、‘’サイタサイタサクラガサイタ”に比べれば多少面白かったが、その道徳観は私のと大いに矛盾していた。

The same kind of problem appears also in this sentence (taken from NHK web easy):

法律では、会社は、働く人に仕事を休むように言った場合、働く人にお金を払わなければなりません。

Why not simply:

法律、会社は、働く人に仕事を休むように言った場合、働く人にお金を払わなければなりません。

What am I missing?

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修身 is an old word for "moral class/education", and 道徳観 is "ethical view" or "idea of morality". 私のそれ is "that of myself", i.e., "my own 道徳観". 私のそれ is interchangeable with 私の here; it's jut two ways of saying "mine". は after 私のそれと is optional, and I think it can be understood simply as a contrastive-wa. その道徳観は私のと大いに矛盾していた equally makes sense.

Besides, there was also a moral reading-book, which was somewhat more interesting as compared with "Saita saita sakura ga saita", but the idea of morality in the book was very contradictory to that of myself.

(You can read a 修身 textbook here: http://doi.org/10.11501/1275558)

As for the last sentence, this question is related. (I personally tend to think this is a "double-topic" sentence, although it may not be how it is usually explained in JSL textbooks... Personally I can hardly feel a contrastive nuance in a sentence like 今日は学校は休みです.)

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  • Thank you so much I'm starting to understand this contrastive-は thing. So essentially also in this sentence 「育児が忙しい35~39歳層では1・3ポイント減った」the usage of は has a sense of "contrastiveness", putting child caring and busy people in contrast right? So can this sentence be translated as "Child caring (by parents) has decreased by 1.3 points because of busy people with an age ranging from 35 to 39"? – Genfu Apr 23 at 8:01
  • @Genfu, you've omitted important context, but your reading of that sentence seems a bit off. I think I've found your source, and it looks like the author is contrasting changes in the rate of labor-force participation over the past ten years among two different groups of married women. Among those from 25 to 29 years old, many of whom do not yet have children, the labor-force participation rate has increased, but "among those from 35 to 39, who are [typically] busy with child-rearing, it [i.e., the labor-force participation rate] has declined by 1.3 percentage points." – Nanigashi Apr 23 at 21:21
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    Yeah thank you for pointing that out. I reviewed yesterday that sentence with my teacher and she helped me understanding it. – Genfu Apr 24 at 14:20

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