In the Chantelise opening narration, having Japanese audio and English text translation, multiple sources, like rpgfan, hardcoregaming101 and RPGamer say that Elise is quoting a warning that her mother gave her.

The Japanese version of the narration is:

月が赤い夜は外に出ちゃいけないよ! 魔女に呪われてしまうからね。


And the given English translation is:

"Don't go out at night when the moon is red, or the witch will curse you forevermore!"

They told us that old fairy tale so often...

But the translation just says that a non-specific "they" was where the warning came from. Did the translation lose some detail and the narration actually specifies that it's her mother's warning?

1 Answer 1


No, the narration in Japanese does not specify who is saying these words.

If we take a look to the sentence (I tried to provide a more literal translation):

そんなおとぎ話をよく聞かされたっけ That kind of fairy tale was told quite frequently

We see that the verb 聞かされた is used. This is the short form of the past, causative-passive conjugation in Japanese of the verb 聞く (to listen). In causative-passive constructions, the agent is marked by the particle に. For example:

寝る時、母に話しを聞かされる。 [I am] told a story by mom before going to sleep.

Since in your original sentence there is no agent marked by に, there is no way to know who is the one making the warning from the text itself. In Japanese, it's pretty normal that some information is understood directly from context, and therefore passive or causative-passive construction without the agent specified are common.

It you are interested in the causative-passive form, please check out this. When 聞く ("to listen") is conjugated to the causative 聞かせる, it becomes "to make someone listen", i.e. "to tell someone (a story, etc). The same logic applies to the verbs 見る "to look" and 見せる "to make someone look", i.e. "to show".

Then, if you turn the (short) causative 聞かす into the causative-passive 聞かされる, it literally means "someone is made to listen" or in a less convoluted way "someone is told (a story, etc)".

All in all, I'd say that "they told us" is not a bad translation, but I'm not an English native speaker. Maybe other expressions such as "They say..." or "It is said that..." are better. Also note that the English translation is somewhat liberal, for example it throws in "forevermore" even though nothing like that is said in the Japanese version.

  • Thanks! I was having a hard time tracking down the actual first line of the narration, but if it translates right, it probably wouldn't add the context of the quote? youtube.com/…
    – Malady
    Jul 31 at 18:33
  • The "short" causative-passive form 聞かされる is actually the passive form of the short causative form 聞かす, which conjugates as a godan verb.
    – aguijonazo
    Jul 31 at 18:46
  • @aguijonazo thanks, I edited the answer to specify that it's the passive of the short causative, instead of the short passive of the causative. Was that your point, or there is anything else I am missing?
    – jarmanso7
    Jul 31 at 18:52
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    @Malady I have listened to the intro in the link from your comment but haven't found any reference to their mother either.
    – jarmanso7
    Jul 31 at 18:53
  • 聞かす is the short one, not 聞かせる. The latter is an ichidan verb (ru-verb) and therefore its passive form is 聞かせられる.
    – aguijonazo
    Jul 31 at 19:05

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