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「大破壊」と呼ばれる、最後の国家間戦争によって、人類は地上からその姿を消した。
災厄を生き延びた僅かな人々は、破壊されつくした地上を捨て、 その住処を地下へと移していった。
膨張した人口を支えるべく、各地に建造されていた地下都市が、 人類に残された大地となったのである。
人はその始まりの時と同じく、自らの過ちによって楽園を失った。 (source: ARMORED CORE atwiki)

My questions pertain to the bolded parts.

「膨張した人口」
In order to support the growing population, the underground cities erected in various places have become the last lands (bastions maybe?) left to mankind.
I assume this is viewed from the future, a bit after mankind has already moved underground and is saying that the population is now growing again. Why is it 膨張した and not 膨張している? It seems kind of weird to me to juxtapose 僅かな人々 with 膨張した人口 back to back like that without anything inbetween to segue back into the growing population.

「その始まりの時と同じく」
Mankind has lost paradise due to their own mistakes, just like during the beginning of that time.
What is the その referring to here exactly? Of what time?

Sorry if this seems a little trivial but I'm really confused.

Thanks in advance for any input!

1 Answer 1

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膨張した is in the past tense simply because 膨張 and 建造 happened in the past (relative to 大破壊). Note that 膨張した人口を支えるべく modifies 建造されていた, not 大地となった.

膨張した人口を支えるべく、各地に建造されていた地下都市が、 人類に残された大地となったのである。

The underground cities that had been erected in various places to support the bloated population have (now) become the last lands left to mankind.

So this sentence is not about whether the population is growing again now.

その in その始まりの時 refers to 人 or 人類. This 人類の始まりの時 should be a reference to that "Paradise Lost" story of Adam and Eve in Christianity. The sentence means 大破壊 was the first time after Adam and Eve that mankind has lost their paradise.

人はその始まりの時と同じく、自らの過ちによって楽園を失った。

As with what happened in the beginning of mankind, humans lost their paradise due to their own mistake (again).

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  • Regarding 膨張した人口, I was confused because in the previous sentence, it talks about 僅かな人々 and then in the next sentence, the population is suddenly bloated again like, where did that come from? So I thought the sentence was trying to shift the point to them rebuilding everything again. As for the modification, I think it was the comma that may have tripped me up as I would have expected it to say 膨張した人口を支えるべく各地に建造されていた地下都市が・・・, with the comma there I thought it wanted to go a different direction but apparently not so much.
    – Boolicious
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 18:15
  • As for the second question, I can now totally see how the sentence works grammatically; whenever I see その, I tend to look for whatever it refers to somewhere further up instead of looking at whatever comes right before. I wouldn't have ever thought of Adam and Eve though. :P Is there some way I can sensitivize myself to help with recognizing what words or parts of speech refer to what exactly? I've noticed that with その especially. Obviously lots of reading but is there anything else I could do?
    – Boolicious
    Commented Apr 12, 2021 at 18:19
  • @Boolicious The rules around commas are fairly loose in Japanese, so you have to get used to them. Once you've associated 膨張した and 建造されていた, the remaining part should be easy. As for その, this is something people do unconsciously, so I don't think I can explain...
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 0:19
  • @Boolicious それ is in many cases more like "it". So "the humanity, so as in its days of beginning..." Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 2:58
  • Alright, guess I just have to try to be a bit more conscious about it. Thanks a lot for the replies!
    – Boolicious
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 10:29

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