Ch.23 Vol.3 | 80% of fear came to his knees! by Zenitsu

Zenitsu Agatsuma

Welcome to Kimetsu no Japanese, a site for learning Japanese from a manga Demon Slayer.

Today’s topic

Ch.23 Vol.3
Zenitsu Agatsuma (我妻 善逸)

ひざにきてる 恐怖きょうふ八割はちわり ひざに!!

It’s in my knees! Eighty percent of my fear in my knees!

Reference source : 五峠呼世晴 (2016) 鬼滅の刃3 集英社
Reference source : KOYOHARU GOTOUGE. (2018). Demon Slayer. VIZ Media, LL
Reference source : 五峠呼世晴 (2016) 鬼滅の刃3 集英社

How could I make a funny phrase like this?
I love and respect Zenitsu so much as you probably do. He is a terrible coward but has an unbelievable talent and without him Demon Slayer can’t be completed. Nobody couldn’t imagine what would happen next to this scene but I can imagine everyone must have been stunned!!

OK, let’s see a witty remark of weakling-Zenitsu.


JPN膝(ひざ)にきてる / 恐怖(きょうふ)が八割(はちわり) / 膝(ひざ)に!!
JPN♪hiza ni kiteru / kyōhu ga hachiwari / hiza ni
ENGIt comes into my knees / Eighty percent of my fear / into my knees
ひざhiza ni(in)to one’s knees.  
膝(ひざ) : knee(s)
に(ni) : <postpositional particle>reaching a place, situation
きてるkiteruto come; properly written as “kiteiru” (Basic form = “Kuru”)
ga<postpositional particle> a word before “ga” become a subject, this case, “恐怖(fear)
八割はちわりhachiwari80 percent
八(はち hachi):eight
割(わり wari):Japanese original mathematical expression of rate. 1割=1/10

Explanation | Inverted structure

This sentence looks simple but it uses an inverted structure.

Normally we can say this phrase in this order;
恐怖が 八割 膝に きてる (kyohu ga hachiwari hizani kiteru)

but as translated in the manga, this order,
ひざにきてる 恐怖きょうふ八割はちわり ひざ
he emphasizes “膝に(hiza ni) = IN MY KNEES”, so he says “hizani” first and ends with “hizani” again.

Changing word order from a basic structure is quite effective to make an accent to a sentence when you want to say something strongly.

Flexibility of order

Japanese grammar is quite flexible as its order, a subject can come late and an object can come first if you want. You can put any word regardless of order, but you need to care about postpositional particles instead.

For this sentence, I explained に(ni) and が(ga), which means “ni” for “to” and “ga” for no meaning but “ga” determines a word (just before it) as a subject.

I will explain more about postpositional particle in the other articles.

Explanation | To come = “kuru” (kiteru)

Basic form of “kiteru“ is “くる kuru”.

The meaning of “Kuru” is “to come” as explained in the table of ‘LESSON’c. But this word has several meanings and in this case it means “to give a bad influence on something”.

Therefore, what Zenitsu meant in the topic sentence is “eighty percent of my fear has given a bad effect on my knees and I can’t move any more.”

Idioms using “kuru” 1

“Kuru” is also used with other words to make idioms.
When you say “kuru” with a body part, it usually means “give a bad influence on the part”.

LEGあしにくるashi ni kuruto have fatigue or pains in my legs
HEADなかにくるonaka ni kuruto have loose bowels
KIDNEY肝臓かんぞうにくるkanzo ni kuruto have a bad condition of kidney (for drinking too much)

あしにくる(ashi ni kuru)”, we often use this phrase when we are tired for walking too much or you have a pains on your legs for some reasons.
For example, when you see a rough mountain route for climbing, you can say,
“これは 足に くるぞ!” (kore wa ashi ni kuruzo! = It’ll be tough for my legs!)

Idioms using “kuru” 2

Let’s see some more idioms of “kuru” with the other words. These are the phrases that you can’t imagine only by the word.

あたまにくるatama ni kuruto get angry
ピンとくるpin to kuruto have a eureka moment, to have a sudden inspiration by a small hint
かちんとくるkachin to kuru“it annoyed me”

That’s all

Today’s simple sentence contained lots of important elements.
Please remember this phrase “hiza ni kiteru!” when your legs get tired or you can’t stand up in horror.

Anyway, in the situation that eighty percent of fear (huge!) is in his knees, Zenitsu did his best, don’t you think so?

Use new phrases for leaning!