Meaning of the は particle here

In the song 「ケロッとマーチ!」, there is the following line that confused me a bit:


I interpreted this line as meaning: “Ah, the train station was 5 minutes away, not 15, like we thought!” However, you’ll notice that the は particle appears twice in this phrase. Am I mistaken that it’s only supposed to come once in a sentence, or can it only be used once for the same purpose? Is it just a stylistic choice?

Here is a link to the song, if it makes any difference (the line is towards the end):


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実は can often be translated as “the truth is…”, so it’s kind of like they’re saying “when you’re thinking about the station being 5 minutes away, the truth is, it’s actually 15 minutes away!”.

So I’d say they’re saying the opposite. At least, that’s my interpretation


I’m pretty sure you can use it more than once in a more complex sentence.

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The general consensus is, avoid double use where you can, but not ungrammatical.

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That makes a lot of sense, actually! Thanks for the insight!

More colloquially is says, “ah! The 5 minutes from the station are actually 15!”

I’m pretty sure that the second は is the contrastive は.

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は is always contrastive, since it’s used to only change topics.

Also 実は is such a common expression that it almost became a fixed expression that can be used about everywhere, even in context in which the は would not be grammatical otherwise. 実は has its own entry in Japanese dictionary.


A typical topic は does not have to change a topic. It just marks something that has already been brought up or should be known to the listener already. The contrastive は does not need to be a discussion topic. It could be completely new information to the listener.

A good thing to note about は is that it’s often used to bring up a topic that the listener is already aware of, like something that you and the listener had spoken about before. So in this case the 5分は indicates that either the two had talked about time being 5 minutes in the past, or perhaps it’s commonly believe that the walk is 5 minutes. Either way, the idea is that the speaker is assuming the listener is already aware of what specific 5 minutes he’s referencing. With this in mind, I’d translate it more as follows:

Context: (I was told that it would take 5 minutes to get from the station to here, but…) “Ah, those 5 minutes from the station were actually 15!”

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