In the beginning of the music video for "Guns for Hands" by Twenty One Pilots (EDIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmv8aQKO6k0), there's some subtitles:


It gets translated as "They won't know it's you." What does it mean to have もらえる here instead of もらう? I would have thought it means "You can't get noticed" but doesn't that imply that he is trying to, or wants to get noticed? In the context of the video, it doesn't seem like he wants to get noticed. He's being offered a mask.

Some speculation... maybe the "can" form simply doesn't have that implication in Japanese, or maybe it doesn't have that implication in this specific case. Or maybe the "can"-ness somehow applies to the noticer, rather than the one being noticed (as in "they can't notice you")?

1 Answer 1


Without some context, it seems like it's saying "You can't get them to notice you," almost as if the wants to be noticed by them.

  • added a link to the question, for context.
    – Axe
    Jan 15, 2013 at 16:38
  • He says "They won't know it's you". Does he mean without the mask they won't know, or with the mask they won't know? Either way, using 〜てもらえない still seems like a strange translation to me.
    – istrasci
    Jan 15, 2013 at 17:48
  • i don't have any particular insights about the band, but i would have thought he meant WITH the mask they won't know. i suppose it's possible that it was translated poorly from english into japanese.
    – Axe
    Jan 15, 2013 at 17:57
  • I've tried some searching, and I can't really tell why there should be any Japanese in that video. It looks to me like it's just a bad translation (from English). Jan 15, 2013 at 21:49
  • Sounds like a bad translation; @istrasci's interpretation seems spot-on.
    – rintaun
    Apr 9, 2013 at 1:04

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