924 - に反して(にはんして)

JLPT N3: に反して(にはんして // contrary to; against

You know the word 反対 (はんたい)? It means something like "(being) opposite (to)" or "disagreement."

This is a useful word for us students because we can ask questions like:

「大きい」の反対は何ですか?
「おおきい」 の はんたい は なん です か?
What's the opposite of "big"?
Literally: "big + の + opposite + は + what + です + か?"
Note: You could also use the word 逆 (ぎゃく) instead of 反対 (はんたい) here.


The word 反対 (はんたい) is also useful for when you want to express your disagreement with something.

For example, if some people are discussing a plan of some kind, and you want to clearly and directly state that you're against it, you can say:

私は反対です。
わたし は はんたい です。
Well, I'm against it.
Literally: "I + は + against / opposed to + です."


Why am I bringing this up?

If you look at the kanji of 反対, it is made up of 反 and 対.

carries a meaning like "anti-."

also carries the meaning of "anti-." Or perhaps we could say that it means "versus" or "opposed to."

I hope you recall that in our previous N3 lesson, we were looking at the grammar point に対して (にたいして):

日本の主食が米であるのに対して、オーストラリアの主食はじゃがいもです。
にほん の しゅしょく が こめ である の にたいして、 オーストラリア の しゅしょく は じゃがいも です。
As opposed to Japan, where the staple food is rice, the staple in Australia is potatoes.
Literally: “Japan + の + staple food + が + rice + である + の + に対して, + Australia + の + staple food + は + potatoes + です.”


The grammar point that we're looking at in this lesson, に反して (にはんして), has some similarities.

While we might translate に対して (にたいして) as something like "as opposed to," perhaps a good translation for に反して (にはんして) would be "contrary to."

Wait. Don't those mean the same thing? 

Not quite.

With に対して (にたいして), we're just contrasting two things that happen to be different. Our expectations, intentions, etc. do not come into play.

But with に反して (はんして), we are saying that something is going against our expectations, intentions, etc.

For example, the speaker's group in the following sentence did not expect the Giants to win the baseball game, but then they did:

私達の予想に反してジャイアンツが優勝した。
わたしたち の よそう にはんして ジャイアンツ が ゆうしょう した。
Contrary to our expectations, the Giants emerged victorious.
Literally: “we + の + expectations + に反して + (Yomiuri) Giants + が + winning + did.”
Note: The nuance is that the Giants won not one but a series of matches, such as in a tournament.


In other words, the speaker is saying that the result was the opposite of his or her expectation.

By the way, the word directly before に反して (にはんして) will be a NOUN.

 

This next example is not talking about expectations but rather intentions.

That is, we are talking about something that goes against the wishes of a patient. That is, we are talking about doing something that is the opposite of what a person wants:

患者のに反して輸血を行うことは人権侵害だと考えられています。
かんじゃ の い にはんして ゆけつ を おこなう こと は じんけん しんがい だ と かんがえられています。
Performing a blood transfusion on a patient against their will is considered a violation of human rights.
Literally: “patient + の + will + に反して + blood transfusion + を + carry out + thing + は + human rights + violation + だ + と + is being considered.”

 

When the word coming right after に反して (にはんして) is a NOUN, it will change to に反する (にはんする):

当時は人道に反する恐ろしい行為が当たり前のように行われていました。
とうじ は じんどう にはんする おそろしい こうい が あたりまえ の ように おこなわれていました。
In those days, people would commit horrifying crimes against humanity as if they were nothing.
Literally: “in those days / at the time + humanity + に反する + dreadful / terrifying + acts + が + natural / obvious + の + like (=ように) + were being carried out.”

 

Instead of に反して (i.e. the て-form), it is also possible to use に反し (i.e. the ます-stem):

我々の期待に反し、新商品はほとんど売れなかった。
われわれ の きたい にはんし、 しんしょうひん は ほとんど うれなかった。
Contrary to what we anticipated, the new product didn’t sell well at all.
Literally: “we + の + anticipation + に反し, + new product + は + for the most part / almost all + didn’t sell well / wasn’t popular.”


This gives the sentence a somewhat stiffer nuance.

That said, the phrase に反して (にはんして) is already plenty stiff-sounding. It's not something you'll hear a lot in everyday speech.

By the way, it's also possible to say とは反対に (とは はんたい に), which has a somewhat similar meaning (but is still pretty stiff-sounding):

医者の見込みとは反対に、彼の病状は日に日に良くなっている。
いしゃ の みこみ とははんたいに、 かれ の びょうじょう は ひにひに よくなっている。
Contrary to the doctors' prognosis, his condition continues to improve day after day.
Literally: "doctor + の + anticipation / expectation + とは反対に, + he + の + disease's condition + は + day by day + is improving."

 

That's all for this lesson. You made it to the end!