I found this in a 小学校's tales book, the line is this


I want to know what is the full meaning but especially the use of という in that context (Is a Yokai "horror" story).

1 Answer 1


It's the quotative particle と followed by a verb 言う. So one possible translation (a literal one) would be:

Gosaku married a woman who said she never ate meals, but ...

But という like this has a distinct meaning of "allegedly", "reportedly" or "according to someone". See what is the difference between である & という . So another possible translation would be:

Gosaku married a woman who was claimed never to eat meals, but ...

The natural interpretation will depend on the context (in particular, whether she was introduced to him by someone else in the villeage). But the difference of the two should not be important in the story line, anyway.

  • I think this particular case is an example of という used for equivalence, as per the second definition here, so it's even more simply "a woman who never ate". I'm guessing the woman in question is the 妖怪 in that story, and that she doesn't get her sustenance from normal food.
    – Philippe
    Jun 22, 2017 at 13:34
  • @Philippe There is という for equivalence, but I feel ご飯を食べないという女性 does sound a bit different from simple ご飯を食べない女性.
    – naruto
    Jun 22, 2017 at 17:41
  • I originally thought of the equivalence as a form of emphasis, but I also asked my (native speaker) wife for her opinion this morning, and she said that the sentence is ambiguous and either of or interpretations could be correct, given just that one sentence, she favours your interpretation. She envisioned it as read in the 昔々、あるところに… narrator's tone, with a slight pause at という. In the context, then your interpretation is spot on.
    – Philippe
    Jun 23, 2017 at 12:19

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