I've been reading some Touhou doujinshi in Japanese and checking English version for translation just in case, and I had a hard time trying to decompose this sentence:

a man talks about some woman

I have to give some context [I also included English translation]: a man in this story was asked, why a noble person like him was interested in the appearance of mysterious (yet random) woman in the capital. His answer was:

If she were just a woman, she wouldn't bother me like this.

Also the man believed, that he might encounter this woman in the past, that's why he said:

However, if my hunch about her is correct...

He believed that he knew her true identity, which he revealed later.

So my question is: what meaning does 「とてこう」 bring into this sentence? How should it be decomposed? Is it 「と」, that is connected to 「私【わたし】」, or is it 「とて」?


1 Answer 1


I believe this とて is the adverbial particle listed here and the 係助 definition here. It is rather rare and is essentially equivalent to だって in the context of your post. You might also be parsing the sentence incorrectly. I've added a comma to the sentence, if that helps.

只の女であれば、私(とて / だって)こうは目くじらを立てんさ
If she was just your average woman, (even) I wouldn't be looking into her like this.

I feel like the above sentence would sound more natural without "even", but that's the best direct translation I can give. Maybe a better natural translation might be "If she was just your average woman, I wouldn't be looking into her either."

The subject of 目くじらを立てる should be 私. こう has nothing to do with とて, it is just modifying what comes after it. (こう like the one in こういう)

looking into her like this.

If you're confused about the は, you could probably just take it out and get roughly the same meaning, just without the contrast/emphasis that は provides in the original.

  • 1
    Well, this English translation is not mine anyway, but it left me quite confused. And, to be honest, it's still a bit confusing to me in terms of using particles: is it okay (in terms of grammar) to leave 「私(とて)」 without any particle? I think I would be less puzzled if 「とてこう」 was divided by some particle. And 「は」 is easier to understand I guess, it's just I've never run into examples of using 「こう」 by itself like this, but it actually makes sense the way you explained it.
    – LLL
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 2:57
  • If you are talking about the omission of particles maybe this might help. There are plenty of contexts where not having a particle is actually correct or sounds more natural. だって can work this way. In the sentence 「私だっている」, you have essentially omitted a particle in favor of だって.
    – Shurim
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 23:16
  • I see, I see, thanks for explanation!
    – LLL
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 10:35
  • こう目くじらを立てる sounds weird. こう目くじらを立てない specifically denies the こう part (“like this”).
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 11:47

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