This paper discusses the issues concerning functional categories in Japanese as they pertain to Universal Grammar. A minimalist guideline called the Visibility Guideline for Functional Categories is proposed, according to which functional categories are required to be "detectable" (directly or indirectly) in the primary linguistic data. Various candidates for functional categories in Japanese are examined in light of the Visibility Guideline, and it is concluded that none of them is qualified as an active functional category inducing formal and mechanical computations. An alternative view of the relevant phenomena in terms of "PF reanalysis" is put forth, and the analysis is extended to the case marking mechanism in Japanese. An overall picture of Japanese grammar is also suggested as the result of the discussion on functional categories: In many areas of Japanese grammar, PF and semantic mechanisms are at work in place of mechanical computations in narrow syntax.
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