Go-ryōshin no iken wa tomokaku …

(Regardless of the opinions of you, the parent …)

Situation 1: Mrs. Okubo is discussing her son with his teacher.

母: 私は理科系に進んでほしいと思っているんです。就職に有利ですし…。

教師: 御両親の意見はともかく、本人がどんなことを学びたいかが大切です。

Haha: Watashi wa rika-kei ni susunde hoshii to omotte-iru-n desu. Shūshoku ni yūri desu shi….

Kyōshi: Go-ryōshin no iken wa tomokaku, honnin ga donna koto o manabitai ka ga taisetsu desu.

Mother: I’m thinking that I’d like him to major in science. That would be beneficial in finding employment…

Teacher: Regardless of the opinions of you, the parent, what kind of thing Mitsuo wants to study is what’s important.

The construction XはともかくY conveys the idea of exclusion. It can be translated as regardless of “X” or putting “X” aside, “Y” is the course of action. In the context of a conversation, “X” is often a topic that was spoken about just prior to the ~ともかく structure appearing:

冗談(じょうだん)はともかく、彼女(かのじょ)の返事(へんじ)はどうだったんですか。 (Joking aside, what was her reply?)

The structure XならともかくY can be used for hypotheticals:

急用(きゅうよう)ならともかく、つまらないことで連絡(れんらく)してこないで。 (Unless it’s urgent business, don’t contact me about trivial stuff.)

Situation 2: Section Chief Mr. Okubo talks to Ms. Gray about the report that she made.

大久保: ここの間違いは別にして、レポート全体はよくできていると思うよ。

グレイ: ああ、注意が足りませんでした。でも、ありがとうございます。

Ōkubo: Koko no machigai wa betsu ni shite, repōto zentai wa yoku dekite-iru to omou yo.

Gurei: Aa, chūi ga tarimasen deshita. Demo, arigatō gozaimasu.

Okubo: Apart from this mistake here, I think the whole report is well done.

Gray: Ah, I wasn’t careful enough. But, thank you.

The structure Xは別(べつ)にしてY is similar in meaning to XはともかくY, but sounds more objective:

病気(びょうき)の時(とき)は別にして、ふだんは毎日(まいにち)ピアノを練習(れんしゅう)しています。 (Apart from when I’m sick, I usually practice the piano every day.)

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. and Mrs. Okubo are talking about their son, Mitsuo, at home.

妻(つま): ねえ、見(み)て。光男(みつお)の書(か)いたこのメモ、漢字(かんじ)が間違(まちが)っているのよ。子(こ)どもならともかく、もう高校生(こうこうせい)なんだから、こんな簡単(かんたん)な漢字は正(ただ)しく書けなくちゃ。

夫(おっと): でも、ぼくも最近(さいきん)漢字が書けないんだ。スマホやパソコンを使(つか)っていると、忘(わす)れちゃうんだよ。国語(こくご)はともかく、数学(すうがく)や科学(かがく)の成績(せいせき)がよければ、いいんじゃないか?

妻: でもね、数学もずいぶんひどいのよ。この前(まえ)、試験(しけん)の結果(けっか)を見せたでしょう?

夫: ああ、そうだったなあ。理科系(りかけい)も無理(むり)かもしれないな。それで、光男は何(なに)を勉強(べんきょう)したがっているんだっけ。

妻: うーん、本人(ほんにん)もよくわかっていないみたい。パソコンゲームについては、関心(かんしん)があるんだけど、そのほかは…。山田(やまだ)さんの息子(むすこ)さんは、もう目標(もくひょう)がはっきり決(き)まっていると聞(き)いたけど。

夫: 他(ほか)の人(ひと)のことは別として、光男とちゃんと話(はな)し合(あ)わないとわからないよ。でも、ぼくも高校生の時、目標なんてほとんど決まっていなかったなあ。

妻: あー、そういえば、私(わたし)も…。

Wife: Hey, look. This memo written by Mitsuo, the kanji has mistakes in it. Never mind for a child, he’s already a high school student, he should be writing such simple kanji correctly.

Husband: But, recently I also can’t write kanji. I’m using smartphones and computers, and I totally forget (the kanji). Never mind Japanese (class), if he gets good results in mathematics and science, then that’s fine isn’t it?

Wife: But his math is also rather awful. I showed you the result from that test some time ago, right?

Husband: Ah, yeah it was, wasn’t it. The sciences may be impossible, huh. Then, what does Mitsuo want to study?

Wife: Hmm, it seems that he himself doesn’t really know. He has an interest in video games, but other than that…. I heard that Mrs. Yamada’s son has already decided on a clear goal.

Husband: Let’s put other people aside, we won’t know if we don’t hash it out with Mitsuo properly. However, in my high school days, I couldn’t decide on any goals for the most part.

Wife: Ah, now that you mention it, me too….

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.