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there is a line in the song 徒花の涙 by ウォルピスカーター that is really hard to understand for me:

一人っきり あの子は泣いていた
逃げ出した過去の無力 思い出して
大切な記憶を ひた隠し
生まれてはいけなかったと泣いていた
事変の荒波が 畝りをあげてゆく

usually ていけない is used in situation in which you suggest or warn someone not to do something, but in this case, if you apply this logic to that sentence, the translation will become nonsense:

I was crying because being born was forbidden

are there any plausible explanation?

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    てはいけない is much broader than just permission
    – Angelos
    Apr 13, 2023 at 11:05

2 Answers 2

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~てはいけない is much broader than simple permission. It can express that, but ultimately, it expressed that something shouldn't or mustn't be done for whatever reason.

あの子 (I think, rather than 'I') was crying because 'they should never have been born', perhaps believing that if they hadn't been, some painful events in their past wouldn't have played out the way they did.

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生まれてはいけなかった means "I should not have been born" or "I wasn't supposed to be born".

Generally, ~してはいけなかった in the past form can mean two things:

見てはいけなかった。

  1. I was not allowed to see it (so I didn't see it).
  2. I shouldn't have seen it (although I saw it in reality).

Note that Japanese has no grammatical subjunctive mood. The sentence structure does not change based on whether it is factual or counter-factual.

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  • thank you,but are there any source related to this usage?I want to explore it futher
    – CN.hitori
    Apr 14, 2023 at 9:02

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