Below is an excerpt from the "I'm a spider, so what" webnovel:  




The starred sentence contains the unusual phrase "ライバル+とか+とも+とか".

My best guess at the meaning of (*) is "It's written as "great enemy", but it's definitely not read as as something like rival for example."

But I'm unclear on whether that's accurate. I guessed using a particle dictionary that the inner "とか" gives a sense of category, the "とも" emphasis with the meaning that it would particularly offensive to read it as "ライバル", and the outer "とか" meaning it's an example. But I am deeply unsure as to this interpretation.

My main questions are:

What is the correct interpretation of this sentence?

What would be different semantically if we dropped the final "とか" if anything?

Since pauses in Japanese seem to fit naturally at the end of noun+particles constructions would a pause go at the end, or would it be acceptable to put one where the author put the commas (presumably because three glued together would be hard on the eyes)?

1 Answer 1


とか is a listing particle similar to だの. It often sounds slightly negative. ライバル and とも are both 強敵's well-known creative furigana used to make it have a double meaning. The normal kanji for とも is 友.

The とも reading was made popular by a famous manga 北斗の拳, in which the protagonist and his enemy eventually start to respect each other as good rivals after trying to defeat each other many times. There's an article about this furigana.

Aと書いてBと読む ("write A, read it as B", "this A actually means/reads B") is a common way to explain this type of creative furigana. 本気と書いてマジと読む is very common.

Don't read this 強敵 as something like ライバル or とも.

The speaker is saying such humorous creative furigana are not intended. He literally means "great enemy", and he is not implying they are actually his rivals or friends.

These commas are just for reading aid. The author could have used brackets instead. Remember the rules around commas are fairly loose in Japanese. As an aside, 危険が危ない is more of a net meme, and you should not use it in formal sentences.

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