The Subject and the Verb in Japanese Passive Constructions

According to Kuno's Principles of Empathy Relations (Kuno, 1977: 646 & 652, 1987: 179 & 207, 1990: 45), the subject is the participant whose viewpoint the speaker is most likely to adopt. The most prominent participant in any passive sentence is, of course, the subject. In this paper, I will report on findings of my analysis of examples of passive sentences in real contexts: in contemporary Japanese novels and collections of spoken data from the workplace. A key contribution of this study is to reveal the nature of the subject in a Japanese passive sentence, and how the subject appears (or does not appear) in the passive clause.

Updated:  27 November 2018/Responsible Officer:  JI Management Group/Page Contact:  Japan Institute