A: その封筒を開けると、便箋一枚の手紙と一万円札2枚が出てきた。

My translation:

A: If that envelop is opened, one sheet of letter paper and 2 sheets of 10 thousand yen bills 出てきた.

In my understanding, ~てきた represents

  • action done in the past and it continues up to the present, "~started to, ~has begun to, etc". For example,

    • 雨が降ってきた。It started to rain.

    • 人口が増えてきた。The population has begun to grow.

  • after doing the ~て action, the speaker return to the place where she/he says the sentence.

    • 親を連れてきた。I brought my parents here.

    • 弁当を買ってきた。 I bought a meal and came here with that meal.

But in the sentence A, I think the usage of ~出てきた does not make sense so ~出た should be used instead.


What is the meaning of ~てきた in the sentence A?

  • 2
    It means "came out".
    – istrasci
    Jun 27 '16 at 23:00
  • @istrasci: OK. Do you know the reason that ~てきた should be used here rather than 出た? Jun 27 '16 at 23:31
  • 1
    @優しいエイリアン To indicate direction toward the subject. The money emerged from the envelope out toward the person who opened it.
    – Brandon
    Jun 28 '16 at 0:23
  • The くる is #9(補助動詞)-㋓ in デジタル大辞泉:「ある動作・状態をそのまま続けながら、こちらへ近づく。また、そのようにしてこちらへ至る。『敵が押し寄せてくる』『付き添ってくる』」.
    – Chocolate
    Jun 28 '16 at 4:04

As already mentioned by itrasci、出てきた would mean "came out", from an already understood location and towards the subject.


  • "When (he) opened the envelope, there was a letter written on a single sheet of stationary and two ten-thousand yen bills."

If you use 出た instead... I think it might sound like the things just kind of "appeared", and not necessarily from the envelope.


  • "When (he) opened the envelope, a letter written on a single sheet of stationary and two ten-thousand yen bills appeared."

Begging the question, where from?


I think that in this case it means came out of the envelope.

出る + 来る


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