Ichiban Saisho/Ichban Saigo (一番最初/一番最後 - First/Last)

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Aug 17, 2019 21:45 English essay
Ichiban Saisho/Ichiban Saigo

I often hear and say the phrases, 'ichiban saisho' (一番最初) and 'ichiban saigo' (一番最後) in daily conversation.

'Ichiban' (一番) means "most," 'saisho' (最初) means "first," and 'saigo' (最後) means "latest," so the literal meanings of 'ichiban saisho' and 'ichiban saigo' are "the most first" and "the most last," respectively.

These are redundant expressions, and some people think they are not correct Japanese.

However, they may not be wrong if you think that 'saisho' and 'saigo' means a range (i.e., "first part" and "last part"), and 'ichiban' refers to an edge point of the range.

You should not use 'ichiban saisho' and 'ichiban saigo' in formal documents, but I think that they have come to be widely accepted in daily conversation.


「一番」は "most"、「最初」は "fist"、「最後」は "last" を意味するので、「一番最初」と「一番最後」の文字どおりの意味は、それぞれ "the most first" と "the most last" になります。

これは重複表現(英語では "redundant expression")であり、正しくない日本語と考える人もいます。