I read a manga and there was this sentence:


Some people have been saying that because the speaker says toha there is a love that is implied to be mutual and he might be referring to himself, I don't see why. Can anyone explain?

  • 2
    Certain grammatical constructs don't translate, simply because different languages do things differently. To turn your question around, we could ask, "what is 'the' in Japanese?" and likewise have no clear answer. Apr 25, 2022 at 16:47

3 Answers 3

  • This と is "(together) with" as in 彼女話す ("to talk with her"), 彼知り合いになる ("to become acquainted with him").
  • This は is a familiar topic marker. You probably know は can be combined with other particles to topicalize it. This type of は does not have a good English equivalent, but pulling out the topicalized part to the beginning of the sentence has a similar effect. For example, この建物にはレストランがある ("In this building, there is a restaurant"), 明日からは試験がある ("From tomorrow, we have exams"), 東京へはどう行きますか ("To Tokyo, how do we go?").

Thus, this Aとは roughly means "With A, ..." or "Between you and A, ...". It's marked as the topic of the sentence. A literal translation would be as follows:


With the giant, it's still a one-sided love, クソメガネ!
Between you and the giant, you still have a crush, クソメガネ!


That’s because of the contrastive nature of the particle は.


It could be argued that if the person addressed is 片想い with 巨人, and that is put in contrast with は, then that person must be 両想い (the opposite of 片想い) with someone else. Who that is is totally up to the context. There is nothing in the sentence that indicates it is the speaker himself.

To me, it seems a bit too much of reading between the lines. The sentence sounds neutral enough as it is. Or the person’s 片想い with 巨人 could be put in contrast with other things that are going well for them. They don’t have to be other loves.

I personally don’t know how to completely eliminate this nuance of contrast using the phrase 片想い and without dropping the 巨人 part altogether. と or に without は sounds a bit odd to me. It sounds as if the person in question being 巨人と/に片想い is new information for the listener and the speaker is reporting it to someone else, but this clearly contradicts with な at the end of the sentence.



には seems to even more strongly suggest that there is another love going on and that love is reciprocated unlike the one with 巨人.


This nuance is probably because of the directional or pinpointing nature of に. It suggests the person’s love is consciously directed towards its object. When it is put in contrast with は, it sounds like it is put in contrast with something that is equally directed towards someone else. This narrows down the target of contrast and therefore increases the possibility of that being 両想い with someone else.

In short, I think people are reading too much into it.


Maybe if you could show us the page from the manga that would help, but honestly this just looks like 'Four eyes still has unrequited love for the giant, huh?' to me.

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