Some thoughts on the meaning of 犯す?

So to add a little context, there’s an anime I really like called Tonari No Kaibutsu Kun. It’s about a guy who’s really kind and good natured but is also pretty unsocialised, which is why I find it kinda weird and out of place that, at least in English translations, at the very beginning of the story he threatens to do unsavoury things to a female character. It only happens once and is never bought up again, and the story just goes on like it never happened.

So, to figure out what’s going on, I found the manga in Japanese and tracked down the exact wording he used: 犯す. According to Jisho, it can mean “to rape”, but it could also mean a lot of other things like “to violate” or “to break a rule” or simply to just mean “to commit a crime”, which would make a lot more sense and just generally be a lot less yikes.

So, oh educated ones, can you shed some light on this? Is this a case of bad/ill-thought out translation, or did the writer really put an actual rape threat in their story as though it’s completely fine and normal I’d like to believe the former because I really like this story, but I’ll take the truth whatever it is.

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It’s not really possible (at least for me) to say without reading the surrounding context. If it’s just a page or two, you can post images of the actual manga without legal issue. If more than that is needed for full context you may want to transcribe the text instead.

So there’s the three meanings:
(1) to commit a crime
(2) to break a rule
(3) to rape

I would guess, without extra context, that if it’s a male character to a female character then it’s probably meaning three from what I know about manga.

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So, I’ve started watching the anime, but I don’t know when he says it. I can’t find it. Could you provide a reference or a quote? When does it happen?

Just as food for thought, the title literally means ‘Monster-Kun Next Door’, so it’s not that surprising if he’s presented as strange or even monstrous initially.

Damn, that kinda sucks.

It’s not really possible (at least for me) to say without reading the surrounding context.

This is the panel in question, though at this point I think the intended meaning is pretty clear. I find it weird that something this serious would just appear and disappear so quickly (this entire alctercation lasts exactly 3 panels and then they just go back to regular happy non-insane stuff). Does it have a different weight in Japan or is it just ill-thought out?

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It’s a few minutes into the first episode, but it might vary depending on who translated it. I know the English version of the manga you can get on Amazon translated it to “hurt”, which is another reason I wasn’t sure if it was a translation error.

Oh it just means, “Don’t move. If you make a sound, I’ll hurt you.”

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Here are the three definitions from Goo:

  1. 法律・規則・倫理などに反した行為をする。「罪を―・す」「誤りを―・す」
  2. 女性に対して力ずくで肉体関係を強制する。「暴漢に―・される」
  3. 権威あるものに逆らう。

I don’t know how you can get “hurt” from that. And given the physical contact at the time of the dialogue, definition 2 seems the most relevant. I mean, “hurting” probably constitutes “committing a crime”, but it seems less relevant to me based on the available definitions (and would at least be a loose translation). :man_shrugging:

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OK, correct me if I’m wrong, but he lives in (or at least spends a ton of time at) a batting centre, right? And it definitely seems like (though I could be completely wrong) all his ideas of how school works come from manga or something. I wouldn’t be surprised if he spent the rest of his time in a manga café, or if he’s more or less a stereotypical otaku/hikikomori on the inside. (Quick thought: It honestly looks like a pretty great story, to the point that I might add it to my watch list and I’m wondering why I didn’t hear of it earlier, so I’d like to keep discussions of spoilers to a minimum. In other words, no real need to tell me if I’m right in detail.)

The rest of what I’m going to post will contain a brief analysis using stuff that happened later in Episode 1, so I’ll cover the spoilers up (and endeavour to make sentences that convey the gist even with the spoilers hidden):
OK, honestly, I think it really did mean ‘rape’, or at least ‘violate’. I suspect that it’s actually meant to be shocking, but also to be written off almost completely by the audience because of his ridiculous actions in the next few seconds. (I’m assuming that the anime is a faithful adaptation of what happens next in the source material, of course.) As for why it can be written off, besides how ludicrous he looked crawling around under a box, you’ll need to examine his character and what happens later for an explanation. Most importantly (and this is where my ‘manga café otaku’ hypothesis comes from), notice how he reacts when he sees that gym class will be co-ed and Shizuku tells him she’s going for class: he undoes his buttons and belt buckle, looking embarrassed, and then abruptly strips them off, as though he’s saying, ‘Take me, Shizuku!’ (He gave her a 告白, remember?) That probably indicates that he has some weird concept of how human interactions, especially between men and women, should go, especially in the context of school, perhaps based on a rom-com/ecchi/ero manga. In other words, his behaviour and choice of words are likely meant to show exactly how ridiculously unsocialised he is, and how mistaken he is about how to interact normally, to the point that he doesn’t know how shocking what he just said is. One other bit of evidence pointing towards this: how he asks about how Shizuku’s day at school went. He clearly thought it was normal to get someone to talk about what had happened by accusing her of pretending nothing had happened, and very violently at that. It’s just another example of Haru choosing excessively violent words that have no need to be used in a particular situation.

If you’re trying to figure out how the characters themselves could have written it off, I think it’s really because of Shizuku’s character. She’s portrayed as very unemotional.

I’ll go search around a little more, but that doesn’t match the meaning associated with the kanji chosen in the manga, and as far as I know, all forms of おかす involve some sort of violation or infringement, even if it’s not sexual. None of the Japanese definitions I have really match ‘hurt’. The closest one is this:

② 女性に暴行を加える。姦淫する。

暴行 can refer to violent behaviour in general. It is ever so slightly ambiguous. However, 女性 is specified as the recipient of the action, and 姦淫する (=’(of a man and woman) to have improper carnal relations’) is listed as a synonym. There’s at the very least a slight suggestion of sexual violence, even if, as I said in my analysis above, it’s not meant to be taken seriously, even if it’s shocking.

Yeah, I imagine anyone translating it as “hurt” is just trying to censor it a bit. If it was definition 1, there would be some other direct object of 犯す that would be obvious, but here, it’s pretty clearly an omitted “you.”

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I might be putting my own experience onto it, but legally speaking hurt and violate are interchangeable in jurisprudence (which is my background).

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It’s not as though he wouldn’t be hurting her… but again, that definition is 女性に対して力ずくで肉体関係を強制する… that’s a lot more specific than “hurt” sounds in English.

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So 犯す is specifically female victim rape? (In this context)

I suppose technically it could be anything from “kiss without your permission” and beyond, but it’s always something 肉体関係 if against a woman.

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Thanks for the clarification, but I’m not sure if we’re discussing the same sort of ‘hurt’ here. I certainly agree that a man threatening to ‘hurt’ a woman may well mean it in a specific way, but ‘hurt’ is quite ambiguous in context. More pertinently, I think the question is whether or not おかす (with any kanji) is equivalent to any common Japanese word that’s means ‘hurt’ in English, with the same breadth of nuances. As far as I’m aware, the answer is no.

I think it’s ‘female victim sexual violation’ at the minimum. I was going to use the word ‘sexual assault’, but I’m not sure exactly how much violence that implies legally. Otherwise though… what @Leebo said.
EDIT: OK, ‘sexual assault’ gets translated using 暴行 in the Wisdom EN-JP Dictionary, so yes, it seems we’re quite close.

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Yeah, it’s definitely not as though it 100% means “rape.” It’s vague in that sense, but I think the basic gist is… yes, it’s as awful as the OP feared. Truly a terrible thing to threaten against someone, whatever that means for how they feel about the manga.

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Yeah, in England and Wales at least sexual assault is any unwanted contact that is sexual up to and including rape which is kind of specific in English law.

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The English word rape also has all those meanings. From Latin “rapere” which means something like “to take/do with force/swiftly.” Tolkien used “rape” in the context of martial plunder in Lord of the Rings at least once. Related words are raptured, enraptured, ravished, rapid, rapped (knocked on something); all of these are basically the same root as “raped” and mean the same thing, except one has come in the last hundred years (perhaps because of its increased incidence or because of changes in what is acceptable to talk about) to mean most specifically sexual rape. A rapier is a sword. The use of the word in the set phrase “rape and pillage” refers more to the violent action of the pillagers than any sexual violation, though one would expect that the latter frequently happened. I suspect “rape and pillage” is the origin of the current connotation for the word.

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Again, many thanks for the clarifications. :slight_smile: (The linguistic and legal spheres aside though, this is quite a horrible thing to be discussing. :cold_sweat:)

Agreed. Again though, I think it was really chosen to emphasise exactly how disconnected the male character was from reality and/or normal social interaction, and not meant to be taken seriously. (Not that that would have spared him from legal consequences if he had been overheard…) I really wouldn’t be surprised if the story later on is that the male character was imitating dialogue from a gangster manga he had read. I’ll leave OP to decide how to interpret things though. That’s just my analysis.

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Here, here.

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Sometimes fiction has nasty things in it. If @Gazelle enjoys the story and it’s mentally safe for them to do so then they should continue. Maybe at a later point there’ll be comeuppance.

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