Grammar Info
N1 Lesson 2: 16/17

though, although (I admit that), be that as it may, nonetheless

Verb + いえ + Phrase
[い]Adjective + いえ + Phrase
Noun + ()+ いえ + Phrase
[な]Adjective + ()+ いえ + Phrase
Phrase (A)。いえ + Phrase (B)
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使用域 硬い
とは言(い)え is one of the standard grammar patterns in Japanese that makes use of the imperative form in order to strongly state a point. It will often be translated as 'although (A), (B) will not change', or 'be that as it may, (B)'. Literally, it is just making use of the case-marking particle と in addition to the adverbial particle は to present (A) as a quote that the speaker acknowledges, but may not actually accept.
As this structure begins with と, it may be used at the end of any standard statement.
  • この事件(じけん)の犯人(はんにん)が分(わ)かったとはいえ、犯人(はんにん)はまだ捕(つか)まっていないからまだ油断(ゆだん)はできない。
    Although the culprit in this case has been found, we can't let our guard down yet because the culprit has not been caught yet.
  • このパソコンは新(あたら)しいといえ、今(いま)持(も)っているパソコンより性能(せいのう)がいいと言(い)うわけではない。
    Although this computer is new, it does not mean that it has better features than the computer that I already own.
  • この国(くに)は安全(あんぜん)だといえ、日本(にほん)ではないので子供(こども)から目(め)を離(はな)さないようにしてください。
    Although this country is safe, it is not Japan, so please keep an eye on your child.
  • 日本人(にほんじん)とはいえ、スペインで育(そだ)ったから日本語(にほんご)があまり話(はな)せない。
    Although I am Japanese, I grew up in Spain so I can't speak much Japanese.
In most situations, the way that とはいえ will be used is like the English 'say that it is (A), that still doesn't change (B)'. (A) will generally be something that is true, or true as far as the speaker knows.
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Although (I admit that) the criminal has been caught, it will be some time before they are declared guilty.
Horses are perfectly capable of eating meat. Having said that, they generally do not eat it.
Although (I admit that) he is the company president, it is in name only. It is the board of directors that holds the power.
Try N1
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Sou Matome Bunpou N1
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Shin Kanzen Master N1 Bunpou
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A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar
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