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As context, I'm trying to write Japanese lyrics for a song (so it's okay if it sounds more poetic instead of natural in daily speech).

I'm trying to say ''Suddenly, my eyes were opened'' meaning ''I came to a realization out of nowhere/suddenly''

What I have right now: (突如)目覚めた 私の目

I tried looking into the nuances of different words for ''suddenly'' using different dictionaries and especially from this link, but I'm still not sure what to use here. So far, 突如 looks like the closest I'm looking for or maybe 不図 or ふっと, but I don't think I've been able to understand the nuances.

The nuance I want expressed is that it happened suddenly, it was unexpected, and it came out of nowhere like the singer's perception just changed magically with the snap of a finger.

Bonus Question: If the correct word for ''suddenly'' was already added to the sentence, does the expression make sense? Does it make sense to say 「私の目が(突如)目覚めた」? I'm not entirely sure if I'm using the expression correctly.

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  • 不図 is ateji and is normally written as ふと today (unless you meant はからず or はからずして). Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 14:54
  • 目が覚めるんじゃなくて、目が目覚めるの?
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 3:28
  • @Chocolate 目が覚めるんじゃないです。「私の目」は比喩だけです。伝えたい意味は「私の中から何かが出てきて、何かに気づいて、何かを理解するようになる」ことです。その「中」は「心」とか「想い」とか「感情」です。 Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 12:11
  • @Chocolate (I forgot to add this to my previous reply)「目覚める」は間違いないので、絶対に使いたい言葉です。 Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 12:41

2 Answers 2

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ふと is closer to "out of nowhere", "before I know it", "with no reason/indication", "unintentionally", etc., and it is mainly used with some idea that occurs spontaneously. It's also used with something like a ghost that has appeared silently without you noticing. 突如 is "all of a sudden" and it's basically a little stronger version of 突然.

  • ふと思い出した: OK, like "out of nowhere", "naturally, without trying to recall"
  • 突如思い出した: OK, like "all of a sudden", "quickly and unexpectedly"
  • ふと車が飛び出してきた: incorrect
  • 突如車が飛び出してきた: OK
  • ある日私がふと窓の外を見ると…: OK
  • ある日私が突如窓の外を見ると…: incorrect

So if your awakening is an explosive, flashy event, 突如 is better, but if it's an unexpected but relatively slow/silent event, ふと would fit.

FYI, ふと is almost never written in kanji in modern Japanese. I won't stop you because you're writing lyrics, but an average Japanese reader may not be able to understand 不図 instantly.

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  • Those example sentences helped a lot. Thanks. Would it be right to say that 突如 seems to be for things that happen suddenly out of the speaker's control, while ふと focuses on the speaker's feelings of "that was unexpected"? 突如 also seems to sound more grand and feels like a heavier word and for "bigger" events, while ふと sounds a bit more casual or "smaller." Thanks for the FYI too. I have seen some songs use unusual kanji for certain words and that they were used as a more stylistic or artistic choice, and it seems 不図 is one of them. Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 12:35
  • @littlecatte No, ふと has nothing to do with the speaker's surprise. It just means there was no trigger, indication, intention, reason, etc. The speed is not important, and you may not even know when it happened. ふと窓の外を見た means you looked out the window mindlessly, unintentionally, without any reason.
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 16:17
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ふと vs 突如

ふと seems onomatopeic (I think 不図 is an ateji.) and it's usually used for something small, or even something only barely noticeable. 突如 conveys a certain dynamicity, and it's for something difficult to miss. I think what's common is that both are used for something unexpected.

Typical example sentences (in which two are not highly interchangeable):

どこからかふと甘い匂いがした。

空に突如暗雲が現れた。

In the context given, I think both can work, with different effects explained above.


That said, I think the line in question might have other problems.

突如目覚めた 私の目

This sounds more like the eyes are awaken, not opened, making it feel like the eyes are a separate organism from the rest of the body. Also, because there is 目 in 目覚めた, it seems as if the eyes have eyes. I don't know if that's what you are looking for.

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  • I'm definitely trying to express a more "awakening" or "big realization" type of feel. I only added 私の目 because I felt the eyes were the part of the body that was best for the visualization/imagination of the meaning of the song lyrics. However, it did feel a bit redundant or awkward to write 目覚めた and 私の目 in the same line because of the 目 as you pointed out. It's starting to sound like 私の目 is a completely different entity from the singer's actual physical eyes. I'll probably replace 私の目 with something else, although "eyes having eyes" sounds like an interesting idea now for a different song :) Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 12:52

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