I wanted to ask this question because it is the first time I have honestly been unable to find any information on a given form. I know it involves the verb "to be born," but I've never seen a stem+し form. For some more information, the full line is:

人{ひと}の世{よ}に 生{う}まれし頃{ころ}より 戦{いくさ}道{みち}

For those curious, the quote comes from a game called Xenoblade. Could someone explain what construction "生まれし" uses and possibly give a rough translation of the whole thing? Also, I don't know many kanji, so using kana in answers would be appreciated.


2 Answers 2


」 is the [連体形]{れんたいけい} (attributive form) of the retrospective auxiliary verb」. 連体形 modifies nouns (頃 in this case).

Even though 「き」 is a Classical auxiliary verb, it is listed in any medium-sized dictionary of Modern Japanese because it is still used today in creative writing where the author's aesthetic preference calls for the old-fashioned and/or literary kind of taste.


「生まれ頃」=「生まれ頃」= "around the time I was born"

「人の世に生まれし頃より戦道」, therefore means:

"I have always walked on the road of war since I was born."

  • OK, thanks for the info. I figured it was something "old-fashioned," but I couldn't find any answers. So Early Middle Japanese made a distinction when a verb attributively modifies a noun that has since been lost in Modern Japanese?
    – Kurausukun
    Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 2:56

The し is the rentai-kei (attributive) form of the past auxiliary き in classical Japanese.

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