Can you help me understand the grammar in this sentence?

As some of you might know, I’m writing my bachelor thesis on visual kei. I know it’s a long shot trying to read academic papers in Japanese but I’m curious to see if I can squeeze anything out of them (and for fun).

I think I understand what the first sentence says but I don’t understand the grammar completely and I would like to hear if you agree with me on my translation (and my way of breaking it down)?

The sentence is.


The actual sentence is this but I would like to shorten it down and focus on a little bit:


I’ve tried breaking it down like this:

  1. …ヘビーメタルを取り上げる = Heavy metal is adopted.

  2. …音楽ジャンルであるヘビーメタル… = Heavy metal, which is a music genre…

  3. … ヴィジュアル系ロックに大きな影響を与えた音楽ジャンルである… = … a music genre, that gave(/had) great influence to(/on) visual kei rock.

So I guess it means:

Heavy metal, which is a music genre that had great influence on visual kei rock, is adopted.

However, there a few things, I don’t understand:

  • What is the なdoing in 大きな.

  • What is the で doing in 音楽ジャンルである.

  • What is heavy metal adopted into? I guess it’s visual kei rock but wouldn’t that be a kind redundant to say that heavy metal is adopted into it, when it is already mentioned that it has had great influence?

大きな is a な adjective, which means it has to have a な if it’s modifying a noun.

And である is a formal version of “to be,” used in writing.


Trying to read academic papers in Japanese might be a bit of a tall order if you’re still breaking sentences down piecemeal like this. 大きな is a na-adjective equivalent of 大きい. Some adjectives have this, but others don’t so it’s not something you should try to apply to every い adjective. で is necessary in である because that is a set grammatical phrase, which is a formal copula that works like です or だ.

I think you’re missing out on a lot of meaning by dropping the second half of the sentence, which explains why it’s discussing heavy metal in the context of Visual Kei. The full sentence is something like “The thesis of this paper is as follows: taking Heavy Metal, a genre which has greatly influenced Visual Kei, as the focus, what kind of influence it has had, and also what points are different from Visual Kei will be discussed.”

I’m pretty sure 取り上げる is being used as its meaning of “take up (a topic)”.


Yeah, I was going to suggest that the implied subject of 取り上げる is probably the topic previously introduced with は—本論 (“main argument”?), but you beat me to it.

Thank you, my hero. Yes, it is a tall order but if I think it’s fun, I see no reason not to try :wink:


Ah, cool. I though the な ending was some a grammar thing going on with 大きい. Thank you, friend

To go further, this barely ever happens. I know of 大きな, 小さな, and 可笑しな. Last time I looked into this, I think it was just those three (and if I’m misremembering I think it’s still very very few).

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Yeah, I couldn’t remember exactly which ones it was, but it’s definitely a very small number of them. It’s just something to keep in mind for when you see 大きな, and not a pattern you should try applying is what I was trying to say, but I could’ve been more clear that it’s not a common occurrence at all.

FYI there are three more:

atatakai / atataka na (暖かい/暖かな) [warm], yawarakai / yawaraka na (やわらかい/やわらかな), and komakai / komaka na (細かい/細かな)

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I think those are actually slightly different. Those words are actually na-adjectives. Notice that な isn’t part of the words themselves, so you have to attach な to them to modify a noun. 大きな, 小さな, and 可笑しな are actually “pre-noun adjectival” because you don’t attach another な to them to modify a noun.

Does that distinction matter? Maybe not, but whatever. :man_shrugging:

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