Possession is one of the most widely studied topics in the generative grammar. Recently there has been increasing interest in the syntax and semantics of possession. Although many studies have been conducted on European languages, research on possessive constructions in Japanese has been quite sparse. This is regrettable because Japanese presents us with an interesting showcase of possessive syntax in virtue of a wide range of constructions and their intricate properties. Attempting to fill this gap, The Syntax of Possession in Japanese offers an in-depth study of the sentential possessive expressions in Japanese. The author gives a comprehensive overview of the background issues, critically evaluates previous studies, and proposes new analyses incorporating many recent developments in the minimalist program. The primary focus of the study is on the question of how possessive semantics is represented in syntax at the sentential level when there seems to be no designated verbs of possession. It presents new pieces of empirical data that shed light on some of the crucial questions regarding syntactic encoding of possessive semantics, including, (i) How are possessive expressions are related to other ostensibly similar constructions such as existential/locatives? (ii) How are different types of possessive relationships (e.g., inalienable vs. alienable) encoded in syntax?
This book is a welcome addition to scholarship on syntactic theory, the syntax of possession, and Japanese linguistcs.