In Japanese, if you want to describe something or someone that is performing an action, one of the ways you can do this is through a relative clause. A relative clause is when two phrases are joined into one sentence, rather than two individual sentences. The た (plain-past), or ている
(continuous) form of verbs are usually used.
Takashi-san is a man that lived in Tokyo.
The hamburger that you ate.
The coffee that Tanaka-san is drinking.
A dog that is sleeping on the road.
follow their regular conjugation rules when making a relative clause. In the first example, we can see that ‘Takashi-san is a man that lives in Tokyo’, is one sentence, rather than ‘Takashi-san is a man. He lives in Tokyo’. In English, words like ‘that’, and ‘which’ are used to create a relative clause. However, seeing as though these words do not exist in Japanese, the first phrase is simply attached to the noun.
The ます (polite) forms of verbs may not be used when making a relative clause.