I found this sentence in a short story:


The narrator is giving an account of how he lost his sight: there has been a traffic accident, and the narrator was flung in the air, while his friend (あいつ) is being dragged under a truck; so the friend is looking up at the narrator, which is in the air.

I found this answer, saying that 「XはXで」 "expresses the speaker's opinion that the Person X is doing something at least on a satisfactory level if not on an extraordinary level", which sounds kind of odd to me in this context: the friend is satisfactorily if not extraordinarily looking at the narrator in the air? That sounds kind of comical, and at odds with the general tone. Could it mean something like "intently"?

  • 1
    "Satisfactorily if not extraordinarily" is just an interpretation specific to the context asked in the linked question. Did you read the first sentence of the answer?
    – naruto
    Jun 21, 2020 at 3:52
  • 1
    Closely related: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/30134/7810 Jun 21, 2020 at 6:22
  • @naruto, yes, sorry, I forgot to comment on that sentence: in that situation, "He looked up in his own way" sounds really odd to me, since I can't really picture a way to look up in a very personal way; on the other end I get the explanation in your answer, thanks.
    – Mauro
    Jun 21, 2020 at 8:56

1 Answer 1


~は~で has a little broader usage than "in one's own way". It's used when the process/reason/method is different but the essential result/conclusion is the same.

  • これはこれで美味しい。
    This is delicious in its own way. / This tastes different from the previous one, but still is delicious. / This taste is not what I initially expected but it's delicious anyway.
  • 彼は彼で頑張っている。
    He is trying his best, too (although he may not look like others).
  • 今日は今日で忙しい。
    It's also busy today (for a different reason).
  • これはこれで問題がある。
    This (suggestion) is equally problematic (although I understand the approach is different).

Likewise, this あいつはあいつで is here to make a contrast between the narrator (who is thrown in the air) and the friend (who is lying on the ground). They are seemingly placed in different situations, but the ultimate result is the same; they are both dying while looking at each other.

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