I can see the definitions which include the easiest interpretation of this world and the other world but I'm reading a story (very slowly and with difficulty but how else can you learn) https://ncode.syosetu.com/n8017hi/20/ and they're currently in the other world so from their perspective would この世 just definitely mean the world of the living or would it mean the world they're currently in or could it be either contextually?

2 Answers 2


They are fairly specific words, but their meanings still depend on the context.

Normally, この世【よ】 is a compound noun that refers to our world on the earth (aka 地上, 人間界), and あの世【よ】 refers to the heaven/hell, land of the dead, afterlife, or something similar. Since these are set phrases, one may say they should always refer to the same things regardless of where you are at now.

That said, the meaning of この/あの is not completely lost, so when you are outside the human world, この世 may refer to a spiritual world, possibly as a wordplay or a joke. If that world is similar to our human world, it's more likely that it is called この世 by the residents of that world. I expect a careful author would make it possible to determine which meaning is intended by the context in such a complicated situation.

If someone said この世界【せかい】, it's not an idiomatic set phrase, so it should always mean "this world" the speaker is currently in. Likewise, この世/あの世 is usually not used in typical isekai stories. A person transferred to a fantasy isekai would refer to the two worlds like この世界 ("this world here"), あっちの世界 ("that/their world; the other world"), 元の世界 ("the original world"), etc.


Looking at the usage in the link given in your question, 「あの世」denotes the spiritual world. 「この世」would mean the world of the living.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .