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I was translating a song (full lyrics: http://vocaloidlyrics.wikia.com/wiki/反芻の印象_(Hansuu_no_Inshou) ) and found this phrase which I am very confused about: 「お切らせ願います。」 "Please make (let) it cut" is what it literally means, I think. In the song, they're on a train, and the conductor/some official said this; the only thing I think that this could mean is something like "Tickets please!" as in, to hold out their tickets so that they can be punched (cut). I feel like this is reaching too far, though.

Can someone tell me what this expression means in this context? Thank you!

  • Yes, this is generally strange phrase. – Takahiro Waki May 24 '17 at 8:52
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Interesting, I initially thought お切らせ願います was a typo for something, but this seems to be an actual phrase that was used by train/bus conductors until the 1960's (the middle Showa era). So it fits very well with the nostalgic lyrics of this song.

  • 〔昔は〕「切符を切ります」「乗換を切ります」〔今は〕「切符をお切らせ願ひます」「切符を切らせていたゞきます」「乗換をお切りいたします」「乗換を切らない方はお切らせ願ひます」 (浅野信『巷間の言語省察』, 1933)
  • 早速で恐れ入りますが只今御乗車の方は乗車券のお切らせを願います (中村メイ子『田舎のバス』, 1955)
  • (interview with a retired conductor) シミューレータで「乗車券をお持ちの方はお求めください」と言っているが、お求めではなくお切らせ願います。」 (しでんの学校 横浜市電車掌さん・運転士さんにお話を聞く会; 横浜市電 was taken off in 1972)
  • 当社にはピーク時の昭和41年ごろ、1500人もの女性車掌が活躍していた。中卒者が多く、白い襟に濃紺の制服、制帽姿の彼女たちは腰のベルトに革カバンを吊り下げ、両切りパンチを片手に『乗車券をお切らせ願います』と、揺れ動く車内を巧みにバランスをとりながら動き回って乗車券を発売したり、乗客を誘導整理した。(北海道バス協会, 北海道のバス事業の歴史)

お/ご + noun + 願います is a way of politely asking something. We still commonly hear ご確認願います, ご承知願います, お伝え願います, お声がけ願います, etc.

切らせ is the masu-stem of 切らせる ("to let someone cut"; see: masu-stem as a noun), so お切らせ願います literally means "Please let (me) cut (your ticket)".

Until around 1990, conductors of express trains checked the ticket of each passenger and physically "clipped" it. Physical clippers has been completely replaced by rubber stamps and electric devices, but we still hear 切符を切る as an idiom that means "issue/check a ticket" (eg 交通違反の切符を切られる = "to get a traffic ticket").

We no longer hear お切らせ願います in Japanese trains and buses. But judging from the examples above, お切らせ seems to have included not only checking/clipping tickets but also selling/issuing tickets on board.

  • you learn something every day. was not aware that this was a set phrase from the past. certain things as a non-native you just can't catch. :) – psosuna May 24 '17 at 17:53
  • So it does mean "Tickets please!" as I thought! I'm really surprised my contextual guessing actually hit the mark. Anyways, thank you for all your research and thorough explanation. – Smoothie May 24 '17 at 20:33
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I don't know this song, but 「お切らせ願います。」is a sentence you could hear on some trains such as shinkansen although I'm not sure is widely used anymore.

It is a polite way the person in charge uses to ask you for the ticket so that he/she can "cut it" (I think nowadays they "punch it" putting a hole on it). As far as I know one reason for doing this is that some stations (usually small ones in the countryside) do not have gates or staff to check the tickets.

I am not sure if the expression uses 切る for some historical reasons (like maybe in the past they used to cut it).

So the sentence can be loosely translated as "please show me your ticket". In the context of the song though I am not sure what's the exact meaning. It could be just a "pause" indicating that at some moment some asked for the ticket, but depending on the rest of the lyrics could be as well a figurative way to indicate something else. I am not sure but the other answer seemed a bit too far off.

PS: Below I cut and paste a comment from a user on this webpage. From it you can have an idea of the situation and regular use of such a sentence (although it seems they are discussing keigo here):

私が高校のころ、名古屋ではまだ誰でも標準語をしゃべれるわけではなかったので、敬語・丁寧語の類では笑えないものがありました。 市バスの車掌さん(なつかしい!)が「切符をお切らせいたします」なんて言うもんだから、切符を切らせてもらえるのかと思ったら「お切らせ願います」の間違いだったとかね。

  • I wonder who down voted this. I'm saying basically the same thing as Naruto is with just less background. I don't think I said anything wrong here. – Tommy May 24 '17 at 8:15
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I looked over the lyrics, and I think it's a matter of perspective:

通過駅に佇む影法師
At the station where trains don't stop, a halted silhouette

座席の向かいは鈍色シート
A dark gray sheet where the seat is.

「お切らせ願います。」
"I want you to rip me up."

I am assuming that the context here is that the sheet is asking to be torn, maybe it's text written on it, or maybe it looks as if it wants to be ripped up. Thinking of お切らせ in the causative honorific form of 切る (to cut, rip, etc.) and 願います as to wish, it's basically being asked to be torn. That's what I was able to interpret, anyway.

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