Leech problem (年来)

Hi everyone.

I have a “leech” problem. It’s the word 年来. I keep saying it’s “coming years” but it is classified as wrong. I am thinking of adding a synonym, but I am not sure it is the same meaning, since for “coming years” I find the word 数年間 online.

Another reason I can find is that it can also refer to the past: A friendship that has been lasting for 20 years: 二十年来の友情

Who can help me figure this one out?

Thank you!


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Does it even refer to the future at all? The Japanese definition I find for 年来 is


suggesting to me it’s about something that’s been ongoing for however many years until now

So I’d definitely say the “coming years” meaning doesn’t match, based on that. The sentences I can find using 年来 also always refer to some time period in the past - things like 10年来の知り合いです


Thank you for your reply.

Wanikani does not explain this nuance. It just says it means “for some years” or “for X years” (X 年来).

One of the sentences is:

This will be considered a masterpiece in fifty years.

This does refer to the future I think? So maybe future or past depends on the context?

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Even in English “For some years” and “Coming years” are not the same thing.

Coming years implies the future to come while For some years implies a period of time. I believe it is the same here. Hopefully thinking of it as a period of time in any direction will help.


The root sentence is
これは大作だ : this is/will be a masterpiece.

What kind of masterpiece? 五十来の : (a masterpiece) from 50 years until now.

The “now” may be in the future, but from the point of view of that “now” it is past (50 years that came 来 until now)


I would say this either means “this” is a masterpiece right now, and has been so for at least 50 years, or “this” will be considered a masterpiece from now to at least 50 years in the future. Neither of these mean the same thing as the given translation here. I think you need context to pin it down to a specific meaning.


I’d interpret that sentence differently, myself and see that as referring to the past 50 years. DeepL comes up with “this is the greatest work in the past 50 years” and Google Translate makes into “this is a masterpiece from 50 years ago” - I’d be leaning a little more towards the former than the latter in my interpretation without any further context, but context may change that.

Though @YanagiPablo’s explanation might fit too, I guess - remember that Japanese doesn’t have an explicit future tense, so だ is just non-past tense and that sentence can also more literally be interpreted as “in the future, this will be a 50 year old masterpiece”.

The overall interpretation depends on context, as always, but without further context the translation seems a bit odd to me. But do keep in mind, I’m hardly an expert, so I may be way off.

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Thank you for your replies. I think I know a good synonym in my native language too now. It’s not always easy if English is not your native language. An extra effort is required to level up. I have learned some new English words too using Wanikani. :smiley: