未来 vs. 将来 : What’s The Difference? With 10 Examples
What is the difference between “未来” and “将来“? Some leaners think 将来 is used for people and 未来 is used for things, however, it’s wrong. We use 未来 for people as well. These are one of the complicated words for Japanese learners, however, don’t worry about it. It’s going to be clear after reading this. Let me introduce how to correctly use 未来 and 将来 today and just try to use these when you have opportunities to talk with native speakers!
Future (Distant Future)
“未来” means “DISTANT Future”, unlike “将来” which means “NEAR future”. So although you could say “近い将来(near future)”, “近い未来(near distant? future)” is wrong because “未来” is not used as the meaning of “near(近い)”. Whereas although you could say “遠い未来(distant future)”, “遠い将来(distant near? future)” is wrong because “将来” is not used as the meaning of “DISTANCE(遠い)”. Furthermore, “未来” has been used in unrealistic situations because again “未来” means “DISTANT future” that we can’t clearly imagine, can we? We think about the time of “未来” that is from 50, 60 years to infinite such as 1,000 years later, 1,000,000,000 years later etc which means that “未来” is not used as the meaning 2, 3 or 7, 8 years later(near future).
Future (Near Future / Foreseeable Future)
“将来” means “Near Future or Foreseeable Future” that I mentioned earlier and we think about the time of “将来” that is from 0 to around 30 years. Kids sometimes talk about their future such as “I want to be a ___”. In this case, “将来” is used such as “私は将来医者になりたい。(I want to be a doctor in the future.)” which is correct and “私は未来医者になりたい。(I want to be a doctor in the future.)” is wrong. Because “将来” refers to the year which is from 0 to around 30 years.