911 - をつうじて (through)

[NDL #911] - JLPT N3: を通じて(をつうじて // through; via; by)

A couple of lessons back, we saw how を通じて (をつうじて) can describe how something continuously spans distance, space, time, etc.

In other words, it can mean "throughout:"

私たち人間は、長い歴史を通じて過ちを繰り返してきました。
わたしたち にんげん は、 ながい れきし をつうじて あやまち を くりかえして きました。
Throughout history, we humans have made mistake after mistake.
Literally: “we + humans + は, + long + history + を通じて + error + を + repeat (and) + came.”


There is an additional grammatical use of を通じて (をつうじて), however.

を通じて (をつうじて) can also be used when describing the means by which something is done, or the intermediary through which something is done.

Accordingly, we'll often translate it as "through," "by," or "via."

An example:

今の妻とは共通の知人を通じて知り合いました。
いま の つま と は きょうつう の ちじん をつうじて しりあいました。
I met my current wife through a mutual friend.
Literally: “now + の + wife + と + は + mutual + の + acquaintance + を通じて + got to know.”


共通の知人 (きょうつう の ちじん // mutual friend/acquaintance) is the intermediary through which the speaker met his or her wife.

Thus, we use を通じて (をつうじて) to mark this intermediary:

共通の知人を通じて
きょうつう の ちじん をつうじて
through a mutual friend
Literally: “mutual + の + acquaintance + を通じて”


You may have already picked up on this, but the word coming directly before を通じて (をつうじて) will be a NOUN.

 

In the next example, we're not really talking about an "intermediary." Rather, we're talking about the means by which something was done:

アニメや漫画を通じて、日本文化への理解を深めることができました。
アニメ や まんが をつうじて、 にほん ぶんか へ の りかい を ふかめる こと が できました。
I was able to get a deeper understanding of Japanese culture by watching anime and reading manga.
Literally: “anime + や + manga + を通じて, + Japan + culture + へ + の + understanding + を + deepen + thing + が + was able to do.”


アニメや漫画を通じて
アニメ や まんが をつうじて
by (watching) anime and (reading) manga
Literally: “anime + や + manga + を通じて"


Maybe differentiating between "intermediary" and "means" is a bit too nitpicky. I get the sense that if I think too much about it, I might start confusing myself!

 

Speaking of confusing ourselves, を通して (をとおして) can mean pretty much the same thing:

旅行会社を通して釜山のホテルを予約した。
りょこうがいしゃ をとおして ぷさん の ホテル を よやく した。
I booked a hotel in Busan through a travel agency.
Literally: “travel agency + を通して + Busan + の + hotel + を + reservation + did.”


We'll explore this a bit more in the next lesson.

 

Yet another example:

今はインターネットを通じて世界中の人と友達になれる。
いま は インターネット をつうじて せかいじゅう の ひと と ともだち に なれる。
Nowadays, you can make friends with people from all over the world via the internet.
Literally: “now + は + internet + を通じて + all around the world + の + people + と + friends + に + can become.”

 

Note that our translation might not always contain a word like "through," "by," or "via."

Check out this one:

今回のボランティアを通じて、改めて自然災害の恐ろしさを思い知った。
こんかい の ボランティア をつうじて、 あらためて しぜんさいがい の おそろしさ を おもいしった。
This volunteer work has made me realize all over again just how terrifying natural disasters are.
Literally: “this time + の + volunteering + を通じて, + again + natural disasters + の + terror / scariness + を + realized.”


Yeah, I suppose I could have translated that as something like, "Through this volunteer work, I have realized..." But I thought that the translation above seemed a bit more natural.

 

Finished!