I'm working on The Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai. First, protagonist describes the way her mother drinks soup, that is very gently. Then she says this:


I generally understand the meaning, but I am confused about ヒラリ. Is it the same "hirari" with ひらり? What does she mean?

1 Answer 1


ひらり(と)/ヒラリ(と) is a mimetic word that means "elegantly yet swiftly (and without a sound)". It's written both in hiragana and katakana. A good example of ひらり is a boxer's dodging action (相手のパンチをひらりとかわしてカウンターパンチを入れた). Here it describes the elegance of the movement of the お母様, who is a "natural-born noble".

The text goes like this:


As I said, mimetic words like ヒラリ can be safely written in katakana without a reason, but here the author suddenly changed ひらり to katakana. If this was intentional, katakana was used for mild emphasis, like 傍点 or English italics (i.e., "Hirari is not an exaggeration").

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