【World Life】とは?

「なる」に注意! <英語版>

World Lifeな生活

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One sunny morning in early summer, I saw something surprising – leaves on a tree were turning red, even though it was still early in the season. Maybe this was because of global warming, I thought.
But then my attention shifted to something else – the Japanese word for this color change, “なる” (naru).

You see, “なる” is a bit like the English word “become.” It’s a word that’s used a lot in Japan, sometimes even too much. Let me show you an example:
Imagine there’s a situation where a war is about to happen. In Japanese, they might say “戦争になる” (sensou ni naru), which means “it’s becoming war.” This kind of wording is used to make it sound like the war is just happening on its own, like it’s natural, even though people are actually making it happen.

And guess who uses this word a lot? Politicians. They use it to avoid taking responsibility. They make things seem like they’re happening on their own, so they don’t have to admit they’re causing them.
In the 19th century, a French sociologist named Le Bon said that when people start disliking certain words because of bad things connected to them, smart leaders should change the words instead of the actual things.

But it’s not just politicians who do this in Japan. I have to admit, I’ve used this tricky word too, especially when my students were upset about something. Like when the school canceled a fun picnic, I would say:
“明日のピクニックは中止になりました” (ashita no pikunikku wa chuushi ni narimashita), which sounds like “The picnic for tomorrow has become canceled because of the weather.” Instead of just saying “明日ピクニックを中止します” (ashita pikunikku o chuushi shimasu), which means “We’re canceling tomorrow’s picnic.”
I found that using “なる” made the students feel like the situation couldn’t be helped, and they listened better.

But we need to be careful. Words are powerful, and we don’t want to be tricked, but we shouldn’t use them to trick people, either. Whether it’s politicians or anyone else, we should use words honestly and clearly, so everyone understands what’s really going on.