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All About Japanese Particles: とは (to wa)

1. Indicates a word or phrase being defined, or for which a defi-nition is being asked.

UNとは、国連のことです。
UN to wa, kokuren no koto desu.
“UN” refers to the United Nations.

リーダーの条件とは何でしょうか。
Rida no jōken to wa nan deshō ka.
What are the prerequisites of leadership?

*2. Used between two clauses that are opposed in meaning; the first clause represents a concession to the second (usually in the form to wa ie): “though, even though.”

政府を信用していないとはいえ、政府のやり方に従わないわけにはいかない。
Seifu o shin’yō shite inai to wa ie, seifu no yarikata ni shitagawanai wake ni wa ikanai.
Even though you don’t trust the government, you [still] have to adhere to its way of doing things. / You may not trust the government, but you must still adhere to its ways of doing things.

とはいえまだ寒い。
Haru to wa ie mada samui.
Even though it’s spring, its still cold.

– Source: All about particles – A handbook of Japanese function words

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