There is a sentence which is highly confusing me. A character says this :


What does the と after the phrase in quotation mean?
From what I looked up and saw,

『どうして王様は裸なの?』= Why is the king naked /bare?
無邪気な子 = innocent children
指摘 = identification
恥 = shame
晒し = bleach
おめおめ = shamelessly
舞台 = stage

But I can't wrap my head around how they fit together. Especially in the first part.
I also can't understand what amari ni mo nasakenai is , is it "not even the least bit pitiful" or "very pitiful"
What I thought about for the second part of the sentence is to "to bleach our shame and shamelessly stand upon the stage is "not the least bit pitiful"( or )"very pitiful " .
I don't know if it's correct . But I can't understand the first part of the sentence at all. I would be grateful for help!! Thank you!!

The source is given.

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1 Answer 1


I would fairly literally translate the full sentence as:

It is terribly pathetic to be standing brazenly on stage making a fool of oneself until an innocent child points out "Why is the king naked?"

It is of course a reference to the well-known fable of the Emperor's New Clothes. Let me quickly go through the parts you seem to be having trouble with:

  • The と you mentioned in your question is simply a usage of the "quotative と" that is used in simple constructions like XXXと言った "He said XXX". In this case, rather than the verb 言う "to say" we have the verb 指摘する "to point out", but in both cases the と marks the actual content of what is being said/pointed out.
  • The verb 晒す, while it does have "bleaching" as one of its meanings, is more commonly seen with the meaning of "expose" (the link between the meanings is that I believe it originally referred to a method of bleaching materials by exposing them to sunlight). 恥を晒す (literally "expose one's shame") in particular is a common phrase meaning to make a fool of oneself.
  • あまりに or あまりにも is a common adverbal expression that expresses the sentiment that something is "far too X", "excessively X", "unbelievably X", etc. It comes from 余り meaning an excess (which itself comes from the verb 余る meaning "to be left over"), but it's easiest to just remember it as its own set expression.
  • Finally, you may not be familiar with the "suffering passive" construction that is used in the first clause. This is a form that doesn't really translate into English, but essentially instead of saying 子供「裸だ」と指摘した "the child pointed out that 'he's naked'", in Japanese we can say 王様は子供「裸だ」と指摘された "The king was pointed out that "he's naked" by the child". By using a passive construction with the king as the subject, we indicate that the king is suffering from the effects of the child's statement. (A more basic example of this construction would be 猫が私の壷を割った "A cat smashed my jar" > 私は猫に壷を割られた "I had my jar smashed by a cat".)
  • Wow.... this explains everything so clearly. I was a bit confused about the last point, but hopefully with more reading I will find it natural.... The way you explained was so good it has become very clear to me!! I didn’t even realise it was about the fable at first. Thanks so much. I have a LOT of learning to do. Feb 19, 2018 at 18:13

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