Which one sounds more natural? I'm trying to learn when to use verb+くる but it's not that intuitive. It's very easy to understand the meaning, especially when it's なってくる but for some reason I find it difficult to naturally translate something using that form.

What it's the difference (nuance) between them? They both express something that it's happening at this moment. Maybe using 見えてきた is more abrupt?


  • 1
    @KimihiroTanaka You should put that in an answer!
    – Sjiveru
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:22

2 Answers 2


-くる shows progress or "movement", so when combined with 見える it is the "in the progress of seeing". Examples probably will help you understand.

今見える means you can see something at this very moment, and implies your view was not obscured. If I asked you by phone where you are, you would say something like 「今、道の向かいにコーヒーショップが見える」 (Right now, I can see a coffee shop across the street).

見えてきた means that you can see something that you weren't able to see before for some reason. Perhaps you couldn't find that coffee shop due to thick fog, but it's finally starting clear 「霧が晴れてきて、やっとコーヒーショップが見えてきた」(The fog is starting to clear, and I can finally (start to) see the coffee shop.). Or if you were driving to the baseball stadium, you could tell your passengers 「ほら、スタジアムが見えてきたよ」 (Look, we can see the stadium.) as the stadium finally becomes within view.

Note that you can also use this for non-physical "seeing". Say your at work trying to tackle a difficult problem, say trying to run a project with a limited budget. After days of struggling, pieces of the puzzle fall into place, you feel you're on track to solving this problem. 「正解が見えてきた!」(lit: I'm starting to see the answer!) you might exclaim.


見える implies you have already had a clear picture of an object. 見えてきた implies the process you are gradually getting the picture of an object. You are getting a picture of an object from a lower resolution you vaguely saw into higher-resolution you can clearly see.

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