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I would like to ask a question about the title of the manga かぐや様は告らせたい.

The seemingly accepted translation of that title is, "Kaguya-sama Wants to be Confessed To" (See MyAnimeList and Wiki). This very much confuses me as it seems quite clear that 告らせたい is the causative (使役形) of 告る and that a correct translation should be:

Kaguya-sama Wants to Make Me/Someone Confess.

Could someone please verify my understanding or correct me if I am wrong?

I am also curious (though fairly confident that it is not so) if this title could be interpreted in reverse and mean:

"I Want to Make Kaguya-sama Confess."

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「かぐや様{さま}は告{こく}らせたい」

So, someone translated this to:

"Kaguya-sama Wants to be Confessed To"

Is that a literal translation? No, of course not, because while the original is in the causative format the TL is in the passive voice. The literal translation would be exactly as you said: "Kaguya-sama Wants to Make Me/Someone Confess".

Is that a bad translation, then? IMHO, no, not at all. Why not?

That is because both the original and the TL are saying the same kind of thing in the end. Both are saying that かぐや様 likes being (passively) confessed to by others rather than (actively) confessing to them.

A non-literal translation is not always an incorrect translation.

I am also curious (though fairly confident that it is not so) if this title could be interpreted in reverse and mean

"I Want to Make Kaguya-sama Confess."

No, it could not. The Japanese for that would be:

「かぐや様告らせたい」 It is 「に」 and not 「は」.

As Socrates once said, studying Japanese means studying its particles.

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Your understanding is correct. It is causative.

"かぐや様は告らせたい" is not intended to mean "I Want to Make Kaguya-sama Confess", which can be translated into "かぐや様に告らせたい".

  • With は: kaguya wants to make someone else confess. With に: someone wants to make kaguya confess. – Fireheart251 Dec 20 '17 at 20:00
  • Fireheart251, "With に: someone wants to make kaguya confess", why "someone" rather than "I"? – canine Dec 20 '17 at 23:56
  • Because there's no other pronoun in the sentence. Only Kaguya's name is there. The doer could be "I/He/She/They" for all we know, unless it's clarified in the show/manga(?). Japanese leaves out subjects so in translations you often add one in, since English needs a subject for the most part. – Fireheart251 Dec 21 '17 at 1:44
  • When I read "かぐや様に告らせたい", I instantly thought that the subject was "I". "He", "she", and "they" could be options, but "彼は/彼女は/彼らはかぐや様に告らせたい" sounds a bit off, unless it's followed by "と思っている", "んです", or the like. "私はかぐや様に告らせたい" is perfectly fine on its own. – canine Dec 21 '17 at 4:15

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