こそあど VI: Older Expressions

第328課: こそあど VI: Older Expressions 

Of the various kinds of words that exist in Japanese, demonstratives, colloquially referred to as こそあど, are no exception to how words fall out of use and become reinvented over time. In Modern Japanese, the overwhelming majority of these phrases can be neatly referred to as a proximal (近称), a mesioproximal (中称), a distal (遠称), or an indefinite (不定称) demonstrative that will start with the corresponding initial-mora for said category – /ko/, /so/, /a/, and /do/ in that order. 

Though these terms may be rather technical, as an advanced Japanese learner, you should have a fairly strong understanding of when to distinguish the various sets of demonstratives and how they relate to place, people, and time depending on the situation. Think of, for instance, how こちら can refer to oneself, someone in one’s in-group, or quite literally “this direction (which is closest to the speaker), and all of this is made possible by the phrase’s inherent directionality. 

Even into the present day, however, other demonstratives which never quite expanded into the same array of expressions persist, although they are always parallel to a corresponding directionality. 

To get things started, let’s look at how the basic demonstratives of Japanese would have been listed just a century ago. 

Curriculum Note: This lesson will later be moved into a more advanced division of IMABI planned for launch in 2023. 

 近称 中称 遠称 不定称
Thing これ・この それ・その あれ・あのかれ・かの いづれ
Place ここ そこ あそこ/あすこ・かしこ かなた いづこ・いづく
 Direction こなた こち そなた そちあなた・かなた 

Adjectival Forms: Forms ending in の are understood to be adjectival renditions of the base demonstrative in question.

Most of these words will be familiar, but stark differences accumulate in the columns to the right. Our first goal will be to investigate the differences that can be taken from this chart, then we’ll direct our attention to lesser prevalent demonstratives.

The /ka/ Group of Demonstratives

Intrinsically, the /ka/ group of demonstratives have been quite synonymous with each other throughout Japanese history. It is only within the last century that 彼(かれ) in particular was repurposed to mean “he” and then later 


In ancient times, かれ was the antonym of これ and is most likely an offshoot of it. In the Heian Period, あ(れ) began to appear, and for centuries, the two coexisted. かれ・かの could refer to things, people, direction, time, etc. 

1. 彼誰時
Possible Readings: はたそどき・はたれどき・あれはたそどき・あれはたれどき・たそがれどき
Time when (it’s so dark that you can’t tell) who is who = dusk/twilight

Etymology Note: This word is where the modern word たそがれ comes from. Upon entering early Modern Japanese, /so/-demonstratives overtook the /a/ and /ka/ group from referring to people that are medially distant from the speaker.  

2. 誰そ彼(かれ)と問はば答へむすべをなみ君が使を帰しつるかも。
Because I asked the person, “who are you?” but had no way of getting an answer, I sent your messenger home. 

From the 万葉集 #2545. 

Entering into early modern times, かれ・かの would be used when the speaker wished to secretly refer to an entity both known by the speaker and listener but didn’t want to outright state it. 

3. かのとは誰ぢゃ?
Who is you-know-who?

At this point, かの could be seen fossilized in this sense and didn’t need to be followed with a noun like 人 or the such. 

4. そりゃあそうと、かのに極めたか!
That’s right, of course it’d be that person!

Nowadays, かの is still occasionally used to refer to something/someone in a rather distant fashion, but it is far more literary in tone than あの. On the other hand, 彼 became relegated as the word “for “he” due to influence from Western languages. This is also how 彼女(かのじょ) came about to mean “she.”

5. かの有名な人はこう言っています。
A certain person puts it this way.

6. あの人は名もなきかの地へ去ってしまった。
That person went off to that nameless, far off place. 

Incidentally, か can be still be seen in set phrases as a demonstrative. In fact, they beautifully demonstrate how it could refer to things in the broadest sense possible.

何やかや Something or other
 誰もかも Anyone and everyone
 何もかも Anything and everything
 どこもかも Anywhere and everywhere

7. 何やかやとお金がかかり無償どころでないことは誰しも知っている。
Everyone knows that it costs money doing this and that, making it far from “free.”

8. 何もかも嘘に聞こえる。
Anything and everything sounds like a lie. 


The demonstrative かなた is synonymous with あちら, but the difference is that かなた makes the direction/place being referenced seem distant in a temporal sense as well, or at the very least, something that is so far away that it could never be seen from one’s viewpoint. In modern speech, it has a very poetic, literary tone.

9. 山のかなたの土地へ目指してゆこう。
Let’s head for the land far beyond the mountain(s).

10. 忘却の彼方
Beyond oblivion 

こなた & そなた & あなた

In their basic understanding, these three words related to direction, but when they were ever used to refer to people, things got a little convoluted. 

 漢字 Meanings
こなた此方①This direction/this way/here※Replaced by こちら
②㋐Since (a time in the recent past before now)
②㋑Prior to (a time in the near future from now)
※Replaced by このかた.③Third person “this person here”④First person “I” 
※Replaced by こちら.⑤Second person “You” (archaic casual)
※Replaced by あなた.
そなた 其方①That direction/place (away from the speaker)②You (toward an inferior※)
 あなた 彼方貴方④①Over there (far away)
※Replaced by あちら・あの向こう
②Distant past
※Replaced by あれ以来.③Third person “that person”
※あのかた④Second person “You”※
 何方①Which direction?(formal)
※Replaced by どちら・どの方向.
②Which one? (formal)
③Who? (formal)

※そなた was the second person pronoun of choice by lords to their retainers or by any superior to their inferior. It could be made plural as そなたら or そなたたち, the latter, which can occasionally be heard it purposely old-fashioned speech.

※In Modern Japanese, あなた has two distinct usages. It may be the second person pronoun used towards equals or those below you, often in a familial or polite tone. Or, it is used by someone to refer to their husband. To reflect the sex of the person being referred to, the Kanji spellings 貴女・貴男 also exist accordingly. It may be made plural as あなたたち.

※This meaning was inherited from its older form いづかた, which possessed all three meanings. 

The minority of meanings that have not been lost to history in modern speech are seldom used, so the examples below heavily incorporate Classical Japanese to demonstrate how they were once used. Any other archaism found in these texts can be postponed for future study. 

11. 見渡す海原の彼方此方には三本檣 (マスト) の大きな漁船が往来 (ゆきき) して居る。From 『ふらんす物語』 by 永井荷風.

12. 己(をの)があらむこなた・・・
In this time while I’m still alive…
From the 源氏物語.

13. やあ、こなたは誰じゃ?
Why, who might you be?

When Genji had told her “that being so,” she was quite happy and felt that what she had hoped for had come about…

From the 源氏物語.

15. この北の障子のあなたに人の気配するを、こなたや、かくいふ人の隠れたる方ならむ?
Since I sense someone over there past this screen to the north, I wonder if this is where the woman I was speaking of earlier is hiding?

From the 源氏物語.

16. 少女はそなたを注視して俄かに顔を赤らめた。
The girl’s face reddened oh-so slightly as she gazed there.

17. いつかそなたの心にも、 我らに通ずる何かが宿るやも知れぬ。
Eventually, there might be something that resides in your heart that will get through to us. 

18. いづかたへもしのばせ給へ。
Go hide anyway.

From the 平家物語.

19. あの方はどなたでしょうか。(Very formal, modern)
Who is that person.


These word forms are the predecessors to こっち, そっち, and あっち respectively. Even today, these old forms are highly recognized. You will hear them when people attempt to sound old-fashioned, history dramas, and other similar situations.

 漢字 Meanings
こち 此方①This way/direction.②First person plural “we”
 そち 其方①That way/direction.②You (toward an inferior)
 あち 彼方 ①That way/direction (far away)

20. こちやと言へば、ついゐたり。

When (she) said “get over here,” she sat down. 
From the 源氏物語.

21. こちも知らぬぞ。
I don’t know either.

22. 御膳をそちへ拵えよ。
Prepare the meal there.

23. そちが戻ったあと、古麻呂様はいたくご満悦であった。
Since you have returned, Sir Komaro has been so pleased. 
From 風の陣 by 高橋克彦.

24. あちへ廻り、こちへ廻りした。
I’ve circled over there and over here.


In many dialects of Japanese, あそこ is still alternatively pronounced あすこ or even as あしこ. What might be more of a surprise is the existence of かしこ. Written in Kanji as 彼処, it indicated a place that is far away from the speaker and listener in the same way that あそこ does. Unlike かなた, it doesn’t have quite the fantasy-like ring to it when it is used in modern speech. Rather, it is often still heard in the phrase どこもかしこも, which means “everywhere and anywhere.”

25. どこもかしこも満員だ。
Anywhere and everywhere is full. 

26. あすこにも富士山が見えるぞ。
You can see Mt. Fuji from over there as well.


いずれ lives on despite being どれ’s predecessor with the following meanings.

 Which (formal) ※Usually used with the particle も to mean “whichever.”
 Eventually (pretty soon/in the near future)

27. いずれにせよ、我らの太陽も衰亡期を迎えるのである。
Eventually, our Sun will also face its stage of decline and death.

28. いずれも正解だ。
Either is the correct answer.


These word forms are the variants of the predecessor to どこ. 

29. いづこにとまるべきにか。
Where should I stay?

From the 源氏物語.

30. いづくか王地ならぬ。
Where would the king’s land not be?


かく is the predecessor to こう. When a medial /k/ was dropped out of a word in older stages of Japanese, the resulting diphthong /au/ would necessarily contract to /o:/, as it still does in dialectal speech. 

31. かくも大勢の方にお集まり頂き誠に感謝いたします。
I am so very grateful that so many of you have gathered.

32. かくなる上はやむを得ない。
Now that it has come to this, it cannot be helped.

33. かく言う私もお酒が好物です。

Even for myself, if I don’t say so, is a favorite.

Nuance Note: Although it would seem that かく言う would be formal due to its etymology, it is not appropriate to use in business language as it is too direct about one’s own viewpoint. 

In even older speech, it even had the form かくて. In modern speech, this would be replaced by こうして.

34. かくて明けゆく空の景色、昨日に変はりたりとは見えねど。
Looking at how the sky is so bright like this, it doesn’t appear any different than how it did yesterday, though. 
From the 徒然草.

History Note: In ancient Japanese, かく was the antonym of か from earlier as the word こ was used to make nominal phrases rather than adverbial phrases like かく. 

The word form 斯様(かよう)exists as an old-fashioned variant of このよう and can still be seldom encountered in modern speech.

35. しばし考えて執筆したところ、斯様な内容になりました。
After deliberating for a while then writing it, the content came out as such. 

36. かように無邪気で多芸の士が多いとは、いや初めて知りましたな。
My, this is the first time I’ve known that there we so many samurai innocent like this who are jacks of all trades!
 From 『上杉謙信』 by 吉川謙信.

37. かような重大事が、戯れに口に出せようか。
How could I possibly utter a word in gest about such a serious matter as this?

From 『上杉謙信』 by 吉川謙信.


The adverb そう comes from 然(さ). This uncontracted form is still used with the particle も, but the tone of さも tends to be formal, literary, and/or refined. As it is etymologically identical to そうも, it is frequently used to express how something seems absolutely so, which isn’t dissimilar to how そう can be used.

38. さも嬉しげにカクテルを一気に飲み干した。
(He) happily downed that cocktail. 

39. ただ、さほど気にならないので、強調と考えてもよいだろう。
However, since it isn’t that much of a concern, it may also be fine to view it as (a way of) emphasizing it. 

40. さもないと世界が終わりかねない。
If not, the world might come to an end.


さもないと, despite containing an archaism, is fairly common in heated exchanges. Word for word, it contains さ, the predecessor of the Kosoado そう meaning “like that,” the particle も which emphasizes the adverb, and ない, which is used instead of しない to give a more literal interpretation of “if things don’t go down like this,” the next situation that follows will be bad. 

さもないと is used to give a stern warning. In fact, a sentence in the imperative (命令形) almost always precedes it. As such, it is not appropriate in polite registers and should always be used with だ体 or literary language. 

さもないと in a literal sense means “if you do not do so”, or more simply put, “or (else)/otherwise”. It may also be seen as さもなければ and さもなくば, with the latter being its traditional rendition that is often used to mimic samurai talk. The difference between using the particle と or the particle ば is negligible as it is the difference between “if you do this mistake, Y consequence will happen” and “when you make this mistake, Y consequence will happen.”   

41. そこをどけ!さもないと痛い目に遭うぞ!
Get out of the way! If you don’t, you’ll suffer for it!

42. 出て行け。さもないと警察呼ぶぞ。
Get out. If you don’t, I’ll call the police!

43. そうせよ!さもなくば必ずや命を失おう。
Do it! If not you will surely lose your life.

44. 水を溜めよ。さもないと、旱魃が起こったときに、喉が渇いて死んじまうぞ。
Save up water. Or else, if a drought were to occur, you could dehydrate and end up near to your death.

45a. 7時半までに出なさい。さもなければ、電車に遅れますよ。△
45b. 7時半までに出なさい。そうしなければ、電車に遅れますよ。〇
45c. 7時半までに出なさい!電車に遅れますよ。◎
Leave (the house) by 7:30. Or else, you’ll be late to your train.

Speech Register Note: As the command ending ~なさい is not as coarse as the plain imperative, using さもなければ isn’t entirely wrong to use in the ます体, but it is certainly more natural to either paraphrase it or remove it out of the sentence entirely. The purpose of explicitly using these Japanese equivalents of “otherwise” would be indicate a severe outcome. Whether missing the train really is as severe as being shot or having the police called on you may very well be a personal call.

In even older language, さもなくば can be seen used more like それとも to be a more literal translation of “or, if not X, then Y.” 

46. お茶でござるか、さもなくば珈琲でござるか。

Will you have tea? If not, how about coffee? 


It should come as no surprise that 然様(さよう) is an old-fashioned variant of そのよう. Alternatively written in Kanji as 左様, this relic especially lives on in the phrase さようなら, but it was quite common in the refined speech at the start of the 21st century. 

47. はい、さようでございます。
Yes, that is so.

48. さよう、あれは間違いであったと認めよう。
Indeed, I will admit that that was a mistake. 


然(しか) is an ancient synonym of そのように・さように, surviving in Modern Japanese in the expression 然も (also written as 而も), meaning “moreover.” If you were to paraphrase しかも into more modern expressions, though, you would get そのうえ or それでも depending on whether something else is being added to the dialogue in a positive fashion or a negative (reflective) fashion.

49. ご主人は私のすべてで、しかも命の恩人です。
My husband/master is my everything, and what’s more, I owe my life to him. 

50. あれだけ勉強てしかも合格できなかった。
I studied all that much and yet couldn’t pass.

51. しかも片目足なえという不具者だ。
Moreover, the man is a one-eyed, lame disabled person.
From 『上杉謙信』 by 吉川謙信.

Another demonstrative from Old Japanese that has survived in Modern Japanese in set phrases is と, which functioned like そ. It is found mostly in とにかく and its variants. The variants, though, come about via the particle も. In either case, it is noteworthy how the farthest to closest ordering has been maintained in Japanese since its earlier stages. 

とにかく translates as “anyway,” setting aside matter(s) to switch topics to what is really at hand. Its emphasized/intensified form is とにかくにも. No change of meaning occurs, but the tone will be more serious with the addition of も.

ともかく(も), with the inclusion of the second も not as common but more emphatic nonetheless, this phrase is most synonymous to とにかく with the only nuance difference being that what is put aside will likely remain unresolved, which is not necessarily meant with とにかく.  It is often seen in Xはともかく(として), in which it translates as “apart from…,” in which case it is not interchangeable with とにかく.

52. とにもかくにも、死ぬのは嫌だ。いつまでも長生きしたい。
At any rate, dying is awful. I want to live forever. 

53. 匂いや味はともかく、栄養があるから食べたほうがいい。
Putting aside smell or flavor, it is nutritious, so it’s best to eat it. 

54. 将来日本で働くかどうかはともかくとして、まずは短期間だけでも、日本に住んでみたいと思う。
Putting aside whether I’ll be working in Japan in the future, I want to try living in Japan first even if it’s for a small period of time.

ともあれ, meaning “anyhow/in any case,” is also a great example of this old demonstrative. The あれ is not another demonstrative but actually the 已然形 of ある. 

55. ともあれかくて遠征の越軍は、ひとまず春日山の城へ入った。
Anyhow, the Echigo Forces on expedition went into Kasugayama Castle for the time being as such. 

From 『上杉謙信』 by 吉川謙信.

56. 何はともあれ無事でよかった。
No matter what happened, I’m glad that you’re safe.

Variant Note: ともあれかくもあれ, also seen as とまれかくまれ or even とまれこうまれ, are its emphatic forms, although they are exceptionally rare to find in modern speech.