と思わないか [100/365]

Today Emperor Akihito abdicated, essentially for health reasons. His eldest son, Naruhito, will take over on Wednesday. The new era is called Reiwa.

令和
(れいわ)
“reiwa”
the Reiwa era (May 1, 2019-present)

One friend’s response was as follows:

The language used in the abdication was very plain and unadorned don't you think

I am no expert on abdication language so cannot comment on this take, but I did think that the use of と思わないか was interesting.

と思わないか
(とおもわないか)
“to omowanai ka”
…don’t you think?

The phrase seems useful 😉


I found と思わないか hard to translate cleanly…what other ways can we interpret it? Feel free to comment!


Image credit: BBC News article on Akihito’s abdication.

2 Comments

  1. Why did you find it hard to translate cleanly? I think your translation is pretty good (:

    The only thing missing from the English is a sense of “roughness” that is present in the Japanese, due to not just the non-masu form, but also the “ka” which is generally harsh when it is used in an optional sense. In this case the phrase without the “ka” sounds much softer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for the elaboration!

      The reason I found it slightly tricky to translate is that the JDIC definition of と思われる is “be considered; be deemed; be thought to be” and they give an example “その絵はピカソが描いたものと思われる。 The picture is presumed to have been painted by Picasso”, neither of which seem quite in like with the “…don’t you think?” that I had chosen as a more appropriate translation in this context. So I did some more research, was satisfied that my translation was OK, but still had a nagging doubt XD

      Like

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