Taking a stand and speaking from it with ‘to shite’

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Watashi-kojin-to shite-wa nesage-ni hantai-desu. (Personally, I’m against the price reduction.)

Situation 1: Section chief Mr. Okubo is talking to department head Ms. Yamani about their company’s product.

大久保:  部長、「スラリビューティー」の値下げが決まったそうですが。

ヤマニ:  ええ。私個人としては値下げに反対なのですが、会社の方針で決まったことですから…。

Ōkubo: Buchō, Surari-Byūtii-no nesage-ga kimatta-sō-desu-ga.

Yamani: Ee. Watashi-kojin-to shite-wa nesage-ni hantai-na- no-desu-ga, kaisha-no hōshin-de kimatta koto-desu-kara …

Okubo: Excuse me, boss, but I heard that a price cut for Surari-Beauty has been decided on.

Yamani: Yes. I’m personally against the price cut, but the office managers decided it, so …

Today we will introduce various usages of the phrase Xとして (as/being X). X is a noun or noun phrase that indicates a position, qualification or standpoint, like 教師(きょうし, teacher), 学生 (がくせい, student), 親(おや, parent), 個人(こじん, individual), 国民(こくみん, citizen), 友人(ゆうじん, friend), etc., and Xとして expresses that what the speaker is saying is an opinion coming from that particular standpoint, as in Ms. Yamani’s 私(わたし)個人 (こじん)として (from my personal viewpoint). When Xとして functions as a noun-modifier, の is attached, as in これは私個人としての意見(いけん)です (This is my personal opinion). The particle of emphasis は, and the particle も, which means also, can also be attached, as in Ms. Yamani’s 私個人の意見としては.

Situation 2: Continued from Situation 1.

大久保:  「スラリビューティー」はいいとして、他の製品にも 影響が出ないでしょうか。

ヤマニ:  実は、私もそれが心配なのです。

Ōkubo: Surari-Byūtii-wa ii-to shite, hoka-no seihin-ni-mo eikyō-ga denai-deshō-ka.

Yamani: Jitsu-wa, watashi-mo sore-ga shinpai-na-no-desu.

Okubo: Leaving Surari-Beauty aside, won’t it affect other products of ours?

Yamani: To tell the truth, I’m worried about that too.

In the pattern NはXとして in Situation 2, N is a noun or noun phrase and X is usually the adjective いい (OK). This pattern is used when the speaker wants to reserve or set aside his/her judgment or evaluation of the conversation theme or problem N. Also, the pattern それはそうとして (leaving it aside) can be used instead. Other adjectives, such as しかたない (no way), or verbs such as 我慢(がまん)する (to endure) or 許(ゆる)す (to admit) can be used as X instead of いい, as Mrs. Okubo does in her third line in the Bonus Dialogue.

Bonus Dialogue: Mrs. Okubo is chatting with her elder sister on the phone.

大久保夫人: 光男(みつお)ったら、困(こま)った子(こ)なのよ。学校(がっこう)のパソコン室(しつ)で、プログラミングばかりやっているらしいの。

姉(あね): あら、将来(しょうらい)プログラマーとして成功(せいこう) するかも!

大久保夫人: そんな将来(しょうらい)のことより、親(おや)としては、ちゃんと高校(こうこう)でいい成績(せいせき)を取(と) って、いい大学(だいがく)に入(はい)ってもらいたいものだわ。

姉:    まあ、それはそうね。

大久保夫人: プログラミングは許(ゆる)せるとして、家(いえ)では テレビゲームばかりやっているのよ。

姉:    うーん、それはうれしくないわねえ。子供(こども)は親に苦労(くろう)をかけながら育つのよね。世界(せかい)で一番(いちばん)大変(たいへん)な仕事(しごと)は、「親」 だと思う。

大久保夫人: あ、この間(あいだ)、お母(かあ)さんもそう言(い)って いた。私たち、お母さんに、そんなに苦労をかけた かなあ…?

Mrs. Okubo: I’m having a bit of trouble with my son, Mitsuo. It seems like all he does at school is sit in the computer room and programs.

Elder sister: Wow, perhaps he’ll have success as a programmer in the future!

Mrs. Okubo: But more than that kind of future, as his mother, I want him to get good results at high school and get into a good university.

Elder sister: Well, of course.

Mrs. Okubo: I could put up with the programming, but he plays TV games all the time at home too.

Elder sister: Hmm, I can see why you’re concerned. As children grow up, they make their parents worry. I think that being a parent is the hardest job in the world.

Mrs. Okubo: Oh, that’s what mom said the other day. I wonder if we made her worry that much …

  • Brendan

    Hi Japan Times,

    Just wondering if native speakers check your headlines? Did they say “Yes, this is fine”, while laughter escaped from under their hand-covered mouth(s)? Or perhaps later on you noticed some really sore looking pinch mark they had left somewhere about themselves?

    Seriously though, a useful addition to the article might be to mention something like:

    “In formal writing, this is generally written as 「Xとし」.”

    I can see the argument for it being a bit outside scope for a basic Japanese lesson, but just letting learners know these two are the same might help some people.