In Takagi-san, Chapter 141 (Volume 16), when they are having the graduation ceremony, I came across the following panel:

enter image description here

I believe I understand most of this. In order:

  • "How was the graduation ceremony"
  • (This is the sentence I'm having trouble with)
  • "I guess it's already been a year since we became middle school students, that kind of feeling"
  • "Oh, I know what you mean"

I suppose the remaining two panels are of little impact to my question, which is: what does どうっていわれてもな mean here? I believe the individual parts of the sentence are:

どうって "how was it you say" 言われても "even if (I? you?) were told" (passive) な sentence-ending particle

but I don't understand what this is supposed to mean? The english translation given is "that's a hard question" (on MangaDex), but that makes no literal sense to me either.

Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I couldn't find anything about this as a specific expression, and I don't understand what this grammar means when it stands alone.

1 Answer 1


Yes, the literal translation is, "Even if I am told 'how (was the ceremony)'...". Something like どう答えればいいか分からない or 返答に困る is omitted after this. So "that's a hard question" correctly reflects the implied part.

In general, ~と言われても is kind of a set phrase used when the speaker is baffled by some question/request.

  • 好きに生きろと言われても。
    I was told to live as I wish, but... (I'm helpless and at a loss)
  • そう言われましても…。
    Even if you say so... (I don't know what to do)
  • Thanks! Just one question, what form is 言われまして? It looks like ます, but I'm confused, I thought that was only at the end of sentences/clauses and in other specific circumstances
    – Riolku
    Jan 22, 2022 at 1:55
  • 1
    Seems japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/28486/… answers my question
    – Riolku
    Jan 22, 2022 at 2:15
  • "Even if I am told 'how (was the ceremony)'..." <-- this is odd in English. I would expect to see 'asked' rather than 'told'. Can you saying anything about why 言う is used rather than 聞く for example? Don't know if that's something that can be explained in a comment or whether I should ask a separate question. Jan 22, 2022 at 10:04
  • 1
    @user3856370 All I can say is that 言われる can be used with questions in Japanese... I said "literal translation" because I knew it's at least a bit odd, but if you think it's terribly odd, I'll edit my answer.
    – naruto
    Jan 22, 2022 at 10:26
  • 1
    @naruto It is weird but I don't think you need to edit since, as you say, it is the literal translation. It's just interesting to me that 言われる can be used in that way. Jan 22, 2022 at 10:31

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