I was looking at the title of the song

きみ の しらない ものがたり

I thought translated into something like

Your Unknown Story

but it was actually

The Story You Don't Know

I'm confused as to why its translated like this.

If the の here shows possession, and the verb しらない means "I don't know" it should be Your unknown story shouldn't it?

  • 1
    Maybe worth editing the title to reflect this appears to be a misunderstanding of の (used in conjuction with 知らない) rather than a mistaken understanding of 知る?
    – sqrtbottle
    Jun 3, 2015 at 11:50
  • @Nate If you are satisfied with one of the provided answers, you should accept it. ;) If further questions remain, we are here.
    – seafood258
    Jun 4, 2015 at 21:42

2 Answers 2


See this answer. snailboat puts it rather nicely.

In short, it may make more sense to think about it as [ きみ しらない ] ものがたり (and in fact, they are equivalent).

The subject of しらない is implied to be きみ, and thus the title can be translated as:

the story you (the subject) don't know

The title could only be translated to "your unknown story" if the subject could be inferred to be "everyone else".

  • Now you'll have to ask a native speaker for confirmation, but if you did want to say "your unknown story", I believe you could say 君の知られない物語.
    – seafood258
    Jun 3, 2015 at 11:39
  • 1
    ..or now that I think about it, perhaps 知られていない would be better.
    – seafood258
    Jun 3, 2015 at 11:51
  • I understand what you mean now, but if it can be used the same as が here whats the particular reason to use の instead of が?
    – Nate
    Jun 3, 2015 at 12:39
  • @Nate I believe in general you do use の instead of が where applicable. Semantically they are equivalent, but perhaps there is a difference in nuance. I am not a native speaker, and thus, am unfortunately not aware of any subtle differences.
    – seafood258
    Jun 3, 2015 at 13:47
  • 3
    @seafood258 「知られざる物語」「誰も知らない物語」「知られていない物語」辺りが自然だと思います。
    – naruto
    Jun 3, 2015 at 15:39

「きみ しらない ものがたり」

In this phrase, 「の」 means the same thing as 「が」, the subject marker. It does not express possession.

Thus, that phrase means "the story that you do not know of".

Other examples of this use of 「の」.

「ボク[食]{た}べたピザは1,000[円]{えん}でした。」"The pizza that I ate was 1,000 yen."

「スミスさん[住]{す}んでいる[町]{まち}はきれいです。」"The town Smith lives in is pretty."

IMPORTANT: This use of 「の」 is only possible in sub-clauses, not in main-clauses.

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