Kenkō-no tame-ni jogingu-wo yatte-ita-n-da-kedo, kaette hiza-ga itaku-natchatte-ne. (I was jogging to get fit, but instead I ended up with a sore knee.)

Situation 1: Mr. Sere asks Mr. Ueno why he is limping.

セレ: 上野さん、足が痛そうですね。だいじょうぶですか。

上野: 健康のためにジョギングをやっていたんだけど、かえってひざが痛くなっちゃってね。

Sere: Ueno-san, ashi-ga itasō-desu-ne. Daijōbu-desu-ka?

Ueno: Kenkō-no tame-ni jogingu-wo yatte-ita-n-da-kedo, kaette hiza-ga itaku-natchatte-ne.

Sere: Mr. Ueno, your leg looks painful. Are you okay?

Ueno: I was jogging to get fit, but instead I ended up with a sore knee.

Today, we will introduce the proper use of the adverb かえって, which means “on the contrary” or “rather” and is used when a result is contrary to one’s expectation. In Mr. Ueno’s remark, he expected that he would get healthy by jogging, but, on the contrary, he hurt his knee. かえって is mainly used for a bad result, but is sometimes used for good result. The result is one that has already taken place or that has not happened. For example: 薬(くすり)をやめたら、かえって具合(ぐあい)がよくなってきた (I quit taking medicine, but in fact my health is getting better).

Situation 2: Mrs. Okubo is talking with Mrs. Kawada who is working for a volunteer group.

大久保: グループの人数が少なくて大変じゃないですか。

川田: いえ、人数が増えれば増えるほど、かえってやりにくくなるんです。今ぐらいがちょうどいいですね。

Okubo: Gurūpu-no ninzū-ga sukunakute taihen-ja-nai-desu-ka?

Kawada: Ie, ninzū-ga fuereba fueru-hodo, kaette yarinikuku-naru-n-desu. Ima-gurai-ga chōdo ii-desu-ne.

Okubo: The number of members in the group is small, and it must be hard, right?

Kawada: No, the more the number of people increases the harder the activities become. Now is just right.

かえって can be used in patterns such as …たら、かえって (if…); …のに、かえって (despite…); or …けど/が、かえって (…but) as in the example sentences in Situation 1. かえって is also used in the pattern of …ば…ほどかえって (the more …, the more … on the contrary to the expectation) as in Mrs. Kawada’s remark. Example:よい材料(ざいりょう)で作(つく)られた家具(かぐ)は古(ふる)くなればなるほど、かえって味(あじ)わいが出(で)てきます (Indeed, furniture made of better materials takes on more meaning the older it becomes).

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Tian is talking to his landlady Mrs. Mori.

ティエン: いつもお元気(げんき)そうですね。

森: ええ、おかげさまで。私(わたし)は若(わか)いころよりかえって今(いま)のほうが元気なんですよ。昔(むかし)はすぐにかぜをひいたりしていたんですが。

ティエン: お体(からだ)が弱(よわ)かったんですね。じゃ、御両親(ごりょうしん)に大切(たいせつ)に育(そだ)てられたでしょう。

森: ええ。でも、それがかえってよくなかったかもしれません。ますます弱(よわ)くなってしまって。

ティエン: 子育(こそだ)てというのは、思(おも)うようにいかないんですね。

森: ええ、私は母親(ははおや)になったら、娘(むすめ)にきびしくしたほうがかえっていいと思っていたんですけど、甘(あま)やかしてしまいました。料理(りょうり)なんか、小(ちい)さいころからやらせればよかったんですが、娘(むすめ)がやるとかえって手(て)がかかるから、私が全部(ぜんぶ)やってしまったんです。それで、今も料理が下手(へた)で、結婚(けっこん)しても週(しゅう)に1回(いっかい)ぐらいは家族(かぞく)でうちにごはんを食(た)べに来(く)るんですよ。

ティエン: それは大変(たいへん)だ。でも、楽(たの)しみでもあるんですね。

Tian: You always look so healthy.

Mori: Thank you. I’m healthier now than when I was young. I used to catch colds easily a long time ago.

Tian: You were weak when you were little, right? So, your parents protected you when they raised you.

Mori: Yeah. But, on the contrary, it was not good for me. I became weaker.

Tian: Raising a child doesn’t always go as one wishes.

Mori: That’s right. When I became a mom, I thought I should be strict with my daughter. But, I spoiled her. As for cooking, I should have had her cook since she was small. But, I did it all myself because it would actually take more work to teach her. So, now she’s a poor cook, she and her family usually come to my house to eat dinner once a week.

Tian: Oh, that’s hard. But, it’s fun for you, isn’t it?

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.