The following exchange happens in One Piece:

ブルック: い...行くんですか!?サンジさん!!!

サンジ: 行かいでかてめぇの問題だ!!男サンジやらねばならぬ!!!

I found the sentence kind of baffling at first because as far as I know 行かいでか is Edo dialect for 行かないでいられるか, meaning he feels he needs to go, but then てめぇの問題 seems to imply he thinks it's not his problem.

I then looked up 手前 in a dictionary and saw this definition:


Is this the meaning being used here? How common even is this use nowadays? Would you see it used in real life or just in fictional media?

1 Answer 1


It is true that てめえ (てめぇ/てめー) is a contracted form of 手前, but they are used very differently today, so it's probably better to think of them as different words.

As you probably know, てめぇ is almost always a rough second-person pronoun, but it is occasionally used like a first-person pronoun meaning "myself" or "自分". This first-person usage is mainly found in fiction, but real people may use it in some set phrases. For example, てめえのケツはてめえで拭きます (lit. "I'll wipe my ass by myself") is an idiom meaning "I'll make up for my own mistake". Likewise てめぇの in Sanji's statement means "my own".

On the other hand, 手前【てまえ】 is fairly uncommon as a personal pronoun, but when it does refer to a person, it usually is polite and humble "I". Plural 手前共 (てまえども, "we") is occasionally used in modern Japanese, although it sounds old-fashioned and used only by a few businesspersons. This is a humble expression, and thus it never contracts to てめぇども. For example it's possible to say 手前共の店では着物を扱っております. 手前の尻は手前で拭います is a less dirty equivalent of てめえのケツは~. (It's still dirty, so use with care.)

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