Kakawarazu: a word worth knowing, whatever your level

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Uten-ni-mo kakawarazu, takusan-no katagata-ni o-koshi-itadaki, arigatō-gozaimasu. (Thank you all for coming, despite the rainy weather.)

Situation 1: At city hall, the emcee greets the audience.

司会者:  雨天にもかかわらず、たくさんの方々にお越しいただき、ありがとうございます。

Shikaisha: Uten-ni-mo kakawarazu, takusan-no katagata-ni o-koshi-itadaki, arigatō-gozaimasu.

Emcee: Thank you all for coming, despite the rainy weather.

Today, we will introduce phrases using かかわらず (nevertheless), which is used in written, formal or bookish language. The pattern XにもかかわらずY expresses that Y happens in spite of X. Y is a phrase or clause that is contrary to what is expected from noun/noun phrase X. Examples: さまざまな困難(こんなん)にもかかわらず、やりとげた (Despite all the difficulties, I completed it); がんばったにもかかわらず、合格(ごうかく)できなかった (In spite of all my efforts, I couldn’t pass the exam); 彼(かれ)は才能(さいのう)があるにもかかわらず、世(よ)の中(なか)に認(みと)められなかった (Even though he had talent, he wasn’t recognized by the wider public). In Situation 1, the emcee expected that the rain would have put people off coming, so he expresses his thankful feelings to those who came nevertheless.

Situation 2: A woman visits the office with her CV.

女性:   私、40歳になったんですけど、採用には年齢制限が ありますか。

グレイ:  いえ、年齢や性別にかかわらず優秀な方を採用させて いただいております。

Josei: Watashi, yonjussai-ni natta-n-desu-kedo, saiyō-ni-wa nenrei-seigen-ga arimasu-ka.

Gray: Ie, nenrei-ya seibetsu-ni kakawarazu, yūshū-na kata-o saiyō-sasete-itadaite-orimasu.

Woman: I’m 40 years old. Do you have an age limit for employment in this company?

Gray: No. We employ those who are able, irrespective of age or sex.

The pattern XにかかわらずY, without も, expresses that X does not affect or limit Y at all. X is usually a noun or noun phrase that denotes a quality that varies or has alternatives, such as 年齢(ねんれい, age), 職業(しょくぎょう, job), 性別(せいべつ, gender), 国籍 (こくせき, nationality), 学歴(がくれき, academic background) or 人種(じんしゅ, race). Here are examples where X is a noun phrase: 老若男女(ろうにゃくなんにょ)にかかわらず、このテーマパークは 人気(にんき)です (This theme park is popular with people of all ages); 彼(かれ)の賛成(さんせい)・不(ふ)賛成にかかわらず、私(わたし)は行(い)くつもりだ (Whether he agrees or not, I’m going). In that sentence, X can be changed as follows, using a verb phrase: 彼(かれ)が賛成する・しないにかかわらず、私は行くつもりだ.

Bonus Dialogue: At an office meeting, the attendees are talking about their rival company’s product.

ヤマニ:  BK社(しゃ)の「ビスラット」は、わが社の「スラリビューティー」より値段(ねだん)が高(たか)いにも かかわらず、売(う)れ行(い)きがいいそうですね。


大久保:  はい、申(もう)し訳ありません。

ヤマニ:  怒(おこ)っているのではありませんよ。問題点があったら、改善(かいぜん)すべきだと言(い)っているのです。

ジャクソン:このパッケージは、センスがあまりよくないように思 (おも)えますが。

大久保:  パッケージを変(か)えると、今(いま)までの顧客(こきゃく)が離(はな)れてしまいませんか。

ヤマニ:  これまでの顧客は、パッケージにかかわらず使(つか)い続(つづ)けてくれると思います。では、まずパッケージのデザインを変えることで、新(あたら)しい顧客を獲得(かくとく)しましょう。

大久保:  [ひとりごと] うーん、やっぱりヤマニ部長(ぶちょう)は、決断(けつだん)が早くてすごい人(ひと)だなあ。

Yamani: B.K. Co.’s Bisratto is apparently selling well despite the fact that it’s more expensive than our Surari Beauty.

Jackson: I see. I guess what sells well sells well anyway, irrespective of price. We have to take measures to deal with this problem.

Okubo: I am very sorry, boss.

Yamani: I’m not angry. I’m just saying that we should work on improving the bad points, if there are any.

Jackson: This package isn’t very classy.

Okubo: But if we change the package design, won’t we lose the customers we have now?

Yamani: I believe that those users will continue to use it irrespective of the package design. Right, so, let’s get ourselves some new users by changing the package design.

Okubo: [To himself] (Like they say,) Yamani really is a great person who makes decisions fast!