I have been learning Japanese for about 9 months and can understand the basic grammar in this sentence well, but the meaning of it seems ambiguous to me, and I wonder which meaning below is right, and how can I adjust the sentence to express the other meaning?
(1) The young people's value has a strong influence on the society.
(2) The young people's value is strongly influenced by the society.
Or, neither is right?

I have used google translation and it tells me the first one is right, but my teacher has a different idea.
Any thought will be appreciated. Especially IF you are a native Japanese speaker, your answer will be more convincing and may you tell me about that.

2 Answers 2


I'm a native speaker and I took this sentence as (2) intuitively. (So anything below is more of an afterthought.)

Technically speaking, this sentence is indeed ambiguous, and 社会的な影響 probably means "influence on the society" more often than "influence by the society". Still, 価値観 is something personal, and it is not usually regarded as something that affects the society, at least directly.

FWIW, DeepL Translate did translate this as "The values of young people are strongly influenced by society." Compare it with 消費税の増税は社会的な影響が強いです, which was translated by DeepL as "The consumption tax hike has a strong social impact."

To express (2) unambiguously:

  • 若者の価値観は社会からの影響が強いです。
  • 若者の価値観は社会による影響が強いです。
  • 若者の価値観社会与える影響は強いです。
  • 若者の価値観は社会から強い影響を受けます

To express (1) unambiguously:

  • 若者の価値観は社会への影響が強いです。
  • 若者の価値観社会与える影響は強いです。
  • 若者の価値観は社会強い影響を与えます。

(You can use 及ぼす instead of 与える.)

  • Thanks a lot for your nice and enlightening answer! Especially the part about "whether something is personal or public will affect the sense of the sentence" is absolutely helpful and insightful.
    – 曹子尧
    Apr 23, 2021 at 1:54
  • 2
    @曹子尧 Note that there is no such a "rule". Both (1) and (2) make sense depending on the context. It's just that I have seen sentences like (2) many times before.
    – naruto
    Apr 23, 2021 at 3:12

I'm not a native speaker (which I say merely because you seem to believe that will change the value of my contribution).

But that being said, let's parse this sentence piece by piece.


To do that let's simplify it a bit to


which means "its influence is strong" or "it has a strong influence".

Now let's build this up gradually.


Which like above we could translate as either "Something's influence is strong" or "Something has a strong influence."


"Something has a strong societal influence".

And finally,


Let's simplify this a bit too to


This would mean simply "the value of youth (young people)". But, when we tack on 観 it gets a little harder to translate this. 観 means "view, perspective" or, by extension "how we regard" (think of the root meaning of regard in English as to look). So, for


I'll go with "How we regard worth of our youth".

Now putting everything back together we get


How we view the value of our young people has a strong societal effect.

  • Thanks a lot for your answer! I asked for telling me whether you are a native speaker just because I want to convince my teacher lol, and it doen't change the value of any answer. However, in my view, 価値観 is a whole word, which means one's judgement about what is valueble and what isn't (I'm a Chinese and it seems almost obvious for me). Maybe you can take this into consideration, and will get a different explanation?
    – 曹子尧
    Apr 23, 2021 at 1:50
  • @曹子尧 Thank you. That's very useful information. I hadn't really thought of it that way. I'll rethink my answer.
    – A.Ellett
    Apr 23, 2021 at 2:35

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