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In my JLPT textbook, I have this sentence:

彼{かれ}は国民{こくみん}の信頼{しんらい}を裏切{うらぎ}った。それゆえに、権力{けんりょく}の座{ざ}を追{お}われることとなったのである。

I think this sentence means, "He betrayed the trust of the people. As a result, it was the case that he was chased out of his seat of power." "Seat of power" may be overly literal, it's probably more like his seat in the Diet or something, but that's not the part I'm concerned with.

It's the 権力{けんりょく}の座{ざ}を追{お}われること part. From the overall context of the sentence, I'm guessing the guy was chased from the seat. But, from the grammer, because of the particle that points directly to the chair, it feels like it should mean the seat itself had been chased.

Am I right that it means the guy was chased from the chair? If so, why does 座{ざ}を追{お}われる not mean the chair got chased? If I'm wrong about the meaning, then what does it mean?

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You didn't ask about it specifically, but I'd say the first sentence translates to "he betrayed the people's trust", which is a little different. –  snailboat Apr 18 at 1:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If the chair was chased, the phrase would be 権力{けんりょく}の座{ざ}が追{お}われる passively or 権力{けんりょく}の座{ざ}を追{お}う actively.

Back to the question, this particle means from. I guess you have no problem with 東京{とうきょう}を離{はな}れる (move away from Tokyo). Another grammatically correct phrase is 権力{けんりょく}の座{ざ}を離{はな}れる (move away from the seat).

Actually, you can say 東京{とうきょう}を追{お}われる for being chased away from Tokyo. Analogously, you can say 権力{けんりょく}の座{ざ}を追{お}われる. For me, the best way to understand the phrase in question is, seeing 追{お}われる as a substitute for 離{はな}れる or 去{さ}る (leave).

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Learned a new use for を! –  Kaji Apr 17 at 17:31

(This answer may not satisfy a linguist but it may help understand how the grammar works.)

I would say it is the same を as in 家を出る where it is used to mark the location from where something moves.

I can see the same use in the Progressive E/J-J/E dictionary:

地位を追われる|be ousted [driven] from one's post

I think this answers your question but if you are looking at the grammar to understand why the chair did not get chased then there are some other points worth considering.

First, this use of を was discussed fairly comprehensively in this question: Explain how 向{む}く "to face" can take "上{うえ}" as a direct object using を?

Second: Is 追われる intransitive? I would say it is in this example but:

  • When 追う is used actively (ie not in passive tense) to take different meanings it seems to be transitive because the を marks an object not a location of movement. The following examples came from the same dictionary:
    家畜を追う|drive cattle ⦅back to the barn⦆  
    泥棒 を追う|pursue a thief   
    流行を追う|follow the fashion
  • The expression is similar to 席を外す. Here again the を marks a location from where something moves but this verb is usually a transitive. My rationale (for anybody to challenge or confirm) is that 外す can be either transitive or intransitive. In this case it is intransitive but in the following case (taken from SpaceALC) it is transitive:
  ~をメニューから外す |take ~ off the menu  (~ = direct object)

(Note how the direct object, the item removed from the menus is marked by を and as there can only be on をin a sentence the location from it moved, the menu, is marked by から.)

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