A letter from a story, where a character (又八) elopes with a woman (お甲), with both writing a letter each to the man's betrothed (お通, who 又八 abandoned with said woman) (お甲's letter quoted full, for context):


My rough 'understanding' of part I'm struggling with):


Does 不為故 imply 消息を明かさないと損になる? I.e. not giving reason would be bad for both, or have I misunderstood? Is 申す here used in polite sense to describe the actions of man/his betrothed?

Story link


It's not broken, but a standard style for any kind of letters mainly used until Meiji era (候文).


is in present-day Japanese:


The long-trailing sentence isn't a bad style but is also a characteristic of pre-Meiji writing style, where a sentence could continue as long as a paragraph.

不為 is saying that it'll cause harm if the relationship between 又八 and お通 remains unsettled.


  • 申す is a common 謙譲語 in this style that corresponds to today's いたす.
  • 候 is, likewise, a 丁寧語 that is today's (であり)ます.
  • 左【さ】's kanji is ateji, the word is not "left" but "so". 左候 means こうです "it is so".
  • まま」にこんな意味もあったんですね…
    – naruto
    Feb 29 '16 at 13:37
  • @naruto OPさんは正しく訳してたので説明しませんでしたが、辞書にはちゃんと載ってるはずです Feb 29 '16 at 13:40

I may be wrong, but here's my understanding:

  • 左候ては、 = このようでは/これでは if this continues, if that is the case (ては = conditional)
  • ゆく末、 = 将来 in the future
  • 双方の不為故、 = お互いのためになりませんので there will be no benefit to either of us, therefore ...
  • 事理おあかし申し候て、おもらい申候。 = 事情を明らかにさせていただきます。 let me take the liberty of clarifying our situation.

EDIT: So I felt that 「事理おあかし申し候て、おもらい申候」 part was no more than a roundabout and redundant humble expression. A more 'literal' translation would be... maybe 「事情を明らかにさせてもらわせられ申し上げます」 or something like that. Honestly, I have no idea if the original sentence is broken or not as a traditional 候文.

EDIT 2: See broccoli forest's answer for the last part (interpretation of おもらい申候).

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