There is a book called 街場の親子論 by 内田樹, and I'm trying to read its preface on the author's blog. There is the following sentence:


I understood the meaning of であること through sentences on online dictionaries; it seems to be something like linking the stative sentence (〜である) with something else through こと (correct me if I'm wrong). Also, the first meaning of "親子" on goo辞書 is "parent and child" or "that relationship". But when I try to think about "親子であることのむずかしさ", what comes to my mind is "The difficulty between being a child and parent" or "The difficulty of being a relationship between a child and parent", which doesn't seem to make sense, especially the latter one. Is the first attempt to understand the sentence right? The 親子論 from the title of the book doesn't seem to fit well when the author said that sentence, which seems to be "a discussion between a parent and child of urban areas" (I hope I'm right).

Can someone clarify this to me? Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


It's "the difficulty of being in a parent-child relationship". It probably refers mainly to the difficulty of being a good father (父親であることの難しさ) in this context, but it also includes the difficulty from the children's point of view. 親子である means "to be a parent and a child (to each other)".

論 is a suffix similar to "-ology" in English, so 親子論 is like "Theory on Parent-child Relationship". 街場の here means "made in a city/town (rather than a university)", probably implying his discussion is supposed to be practical, but not academic even though it has 論. In other words, this 街場の implies this is just an essay.

  • So can I say that であること can mean both "to be something" and "to be in some state"? Also, it's not entirely related to the question, but is my attempt to understand the title right? I think that could be useful for me and the community. Thanks.
    – BIG-95
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 0:14
  • 1
    @big-95 ○○関係である or similar usually means "to be in a ○○ relationship", and ○○状態である is "to be in a ○○ state", but it should not be over-generalized.
    – naruto
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 0:27

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