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Genchi-no hōritsu-ni motozuite susumenakerebanarimasen.

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Genchi-no hōritsu-ni motozuite susumenakereba-narimasen. (We have to go ahead under local law.)

Situation 1: Section chief Okubo is talking with his client.

大久保: 来年の春に事務所を開く予定ですか。

鈴木: ええ、でも、現地の法律にもとづいて進めなければなりませんので、もう少し先になるかもしれません。

Okubo: Rainen-no haru-ni jimusho-wo hiraku yotei-desu-ka?

Suzuki: Ee, demo, genchi-no hōritsu-ni motozuite susumenakereba-narimasen-node, mō sukoshi saki-ni narukamo-shiremasen.

Okubo: Are you going to open a new office next spring?

Suzuki: Yes. But we have to proceed with the project under local laws and it may take more time.

Today we introduce the proper use of two compound particles にもとづいて and をもとに. XにもとづいてY means Y being based on X, and is used in formal or written language. X is usually a noun such as an information source, fact, rule or experience. Y is usually a verb that expresses creative activities such as 書(か)く (write), 話(はな)す (talk), 作(つく)る (make) and 開発(かいはつ)する (develop). For example, 消費者(しょうひしゃ)からのデータにもとづいて、この商品(しょうひん)を開発(かいはつ)しました (This product was created based on consumer data). もとづいて can be used in a sentence such as YはXにもとづいている (Y is based on X), e.g., この映画 (えいが) は本当 (ほんとう) にあった事件 (じけん) にもとづいている (This movie is based on a true story).

Situation 2: Mrs. Okubo is looking for a school for her daughter.

大久保: この高校はどんな高校ですか。

教師: ここはキリスト教精神にもとづいた教育をしています。

Okubo: Kono kōkō-wa donna kōkō-desu-ka?

Kyoshi: Koko-wa kirisutokyō-seishin-ni motozuita kyōiku-wo shite-imasu.

Okubo: What kind of high school is this?

Teacher: This school provides education based on Christianity.

When Xにもとづいて comes before a noun, XにもとづいたY (= noun) is used, as in 事実にもとづいた小説 (a novel based on fact).

Situation 3: At the office, Ms. Tamachi and trainee Ali are chatting about Japanese.

アリ: ひらがなは漢字に似ていますね。

田町: ひらがなやカタカナは漢字をもとに作られたのよ。

Ari: Hiragana-wa kanji-ni nite-imasu-ne.

Tamachi: Hiragana-ya katakana-wa kanji-wo moto-ni-shite tsukurareta-no-yo.

Ali: Hiragana looks like kanji, doesn’t it?

Tamachi: Hiragana and katakana were made based on kanji.

Xをもとに (して) Y also means Y is based on X. But Xをもとに (して) Y means that Y on the basis of X and that X is the material, base or hint of Y, whereas XにもとづいてY expresses that Y is done in faithful accordance of X. When Xをもとに (して) comes before a noun, it is used in the pattern of XをもとにしたY (= noun), as in わが社 (しゃ) はお客様 (きゃくさま) の声 (こえ) をもとにしたサービス改善 (かいぜん) を した (We improved the service based on the voices from customers).

Bonus Dialogue: Ms. Tamachi and Ms. Gray are chatting about their future.

田町: 私 (わたし)、定年 (ていねん) の後で勤 (つと) められたら、退職金 (たいしょくきん) をもとにカフェを開 (ひら) きたいと思 (おも) っているの。

グレイ: でも、お店 (みせ) って大変 (たいへん) じゃない? 仕入 (しい) れ価格 (かかく) にもとづいて値段 (ねだん) を決 (き) めたりしなくちゃならないんでしょう。

田町: うん。でも、気軽 (きがる) にみんなが交流 (こうりゅう) できるような場所 (ばしょ) をつくりたいの。年 (とし) を取 (と) ったら、そういう場所が大切 (たいせつ) だもの。

グレイ: それはなかなかいいね。私はこれまでの経験 (けいけん) をもとにした小説 (しょうせつ) を書 (か) きたいと思 (おも)って。

田町: それもいいね。でも、将来 (しょうらい) のプランに結婚 (けっこん) はないね。

Tamachi: If I can work after I retire, I want to open a cafe.

Gray: But running a cafe might be hard right? Presumably you have to decide prices based on purchase price?

Tamachi: Yeah. But I want to provide a place where everyone can relax and communicate. It’s important to have such a place when you get old.

Gray: That’s true. I want to write a novel based on my experiences.

Tamachi: That’s good, too. But neither of us has imagined marriage in our future plans!