I am having trouble parsing the following long sentence:


I can't figure out if the clause


is modifying 日本人 or 日本人の「もの」, i.e. whether it's

A: 日本の伝統の力と新しい技術と芸術的センスを融合させた ( 日本人の「もの」)


B: ( 日本の伝統の力と新しい技術と芸術的センスを融合させた日本人 ) の「もの」

My translation attempts are:

A) The power of Japanese tradition, new technologies and artistic taste integrated into the things of Japanese people.

B1) The-power-of-Japanese-tradition-new-technologies-and-artistic-taste-integrated Japanese people's things. (の acting as a possesive conjuction)

B2) The-power-of-Japanese-tradition-new-technologies-and-artistic-taste-integrated Japanese people, [does some stuff with] things. (の is replacing が in a relative clause)

For God's sake, I can't even make sense of my attempted translations when I read them again. Which is the case, A, B1, B2 or maybe I am outright misunderstanding something here and neither is the case?

I am more inclined to the option B2 because it makes more sense in the context of the overall sentence: "It could be said that the word ものづくり deeply expresses [how] Japanese people put their feelings [i.e. their feelings related to how all that stuff is integrated in them] into things", where the の in 日本人の「もの」に対する気持ち would function as a が. But I am very unsure.

  • 1
    For が to be replaced with の in a relative clause (or exist in the first place), there needs to be some predicate corresponding to the subject, which is missing in this sentence. In addition, 日本人の goes with 気持ち. These render A and B2 unlikely. It should be either B1 (日本人) or C (気持ち).
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 15, 2022 at 18:14
  • I hadn't contemplated this other option C where the whole clause modifies 気持ち, but it definitely makes sense.
    – jarmanso7
    Apr 15, 2022 at 22:12
  • Or it could even be D (言葉).
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 16, 2022 at 2:06

1 Answer 1


Your confusion seems to stem from the way you parsed 日本人の「もの」に対する気持ち. I would think it is much more natural to read it as a combination of 日本人の気持ち and 「もの」に対する気持ち, rather than 気持ち towards 日本人の「もの」. The latter interpretation would have been more likely if it weren’t for 人, but in that case as well, it wouldn’t be clear whose 気持ち it is.

As for what the clause ending with 融合させた modifies, it is ambiguous. I see the following three possibilities. (もの is not among them.)

  1. 日本人
  2. 気持ち
  3. 言葉

Frankly, I cannot tell which one the author intended. The use of the causative form 融合させる makes me lean towards thinking that its subject actively does the said fusion. This makes #2 slightly less likely than the other two. #3 can still be seen as an active agent because the word was consciously chosen by people.

In any case, if I were the author, I would try to disambiguate by using a comma. The second sentence is still ambiguous, though.


「ものづくり」という言葉は、日本の伝統の力と新しい技術と芸術的センスを融合させた、日本人の「もの」に対する気持ちが深く表れている言葉だと言えるのではないでしょうか。(#2, #3)

  • Much clearer either of the two versions with the comma. It's surprising that such a sentence appears as part of a text in a textbook intented to Japanese learners (上級へのとびら 第12課)
    – jarmanso7
    Apr 16, 2022 at 18:35
  • I'll go with the option 3 i.e. 言葉 is the noun being modified by the clause, because this is the closing paragraph of a whole text about ものづくり, so it just makes sense that they end the text describing this word's meaning and nuances
    – jarmanso7
    Apr 16, 2022 at 18:38
  • @jarmanso7 - Their thinking might be that you need to learn how to deal with the messy reality when you open the door to the advanced level…
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 17, 2022 at 7:37

You must log in to answer this question.

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