The Four Different Japanese Ways to Say "I Love You"


I'm in a romantic mood. Then maybe it's time to utter those three simple words. However, expressing your feelings for a Japanese partner can be challenging if you are not fluent in the language. The truth is that unlike the English language, there is no straightforward way to express feelings of love in Japanese. That being said, what are your choices?

This article will discuss why it is unusual for Japanese people to publicly declare their affection for one another. Then, we'll show you four different ways to say "I love you" in Japanese and give you some pointers on how to properly express your feelings in that language.

Cultural Context for the Japanese "I Love You"

Understanding the cultural context of Japanese expressions of love is essential before we introduce the various ways to say "I love you" in Japanese.

In reality, the phrase "I love you" is far less common in Japanese than it is in English and the Western world as a whole. The equivalent Japanese phrase (if there truly is one) to the English phrase "I love you" would be awkward to say in public and would be much less frequently used than the English version. ) It is not uncommon for an English speaker to end a phone call with a heartfelt "love ya" or "I love you," but in Japan, such expressions of affection are more rare.

Compared to English and Western culture in general, Japanese is, and by extension, Japanese culture, much more subtle and indirect. When it comes to expressing their affection for one another, Japanese people typically follow the "show, don't tell" rule.

Rather than expressing their affection verbally, Japanese people tend to show it through actions with their partners, their families, and their friends. The Japanese male culture generally avoids overt displays of romantic affection.

Some (or perhaps most) Japanese people may worry that saying "I love you" too often will dilute its meaning; as a result, demonstrating your affection is prioritized over simply saying the words.

In conclusion, many think that the Japanese concept of love (especially ai ) is too abstract for common people to understand. This makes love seem more like a poetic ideal than a real emotion.

The phrase "I love you" is not commonly used in Japanese, but it is possible to directly express your love in Japanese.

Here Are 4 Totally Original Japanese Ways to Say "I Love You"

Here are four different ways to express your affection in Japanese.


Ai shiteru means "I Love You" or "I Totally Adore You" in Japanese.

If you want to say "I love you" in Japanese, all you have to do is say "ai shiteru." Also, its meaning is arguably the most similar to the English phrase "I love you." The Japanese character ai has the connotation of romantic love and literally means "love."

With all the ways to say "I love you" in Japanese, ai shiteru is the most weighty and heartfelt. As a matter of fact, I think a better translation would be "I am deeply in love with you" or "I love you deeply." It's amazing how much can be conveyed with just one word.

Because of the depth of feeling it evokes, and because traditional Japanese culture stresses showing one's affection through deeds rather than words, ai shiteru is rarely spoken out loud.

The term is typically reserved for first-time love declarations or between committed long-term partners. However, even in these instances, you should be wary of overusing the word. Married couples may go their entire lives without ever exchanging an "Ai shiteru."

Despite its serious meaning, ai shiteru is frequently used for dramatic effect in media like TV shows and pop songs.


Pronounced aye-shee-teh-roo, ai shiteru is a common greeting in Japanese.

You should know that the second syllable (shee) is pronounced much more like a quick "sh" than you might think from looking at it. That's why it's easier to think of the whole word as having only three sounds.

It's also important to note that the "roo" sound should not be pronounced like an English "r." The "r" sound in Japanese is pronounced like the "d" in "ladder," with elements of the English "d," "r," and "l" sounds. "

Watch this video on YouTube to learn how to say "ai shiteru:"



  • Even though "Ai shiteru" is the more common form, "Ai shiteru yo " also exists and means "I love you, you know." I like how the yo ending makes it sound more casual and draws attention to the last word.
  • Ai shiteru is a colloquial shortening of the more formal ai shiteiru (or ai shiteimasu), which is not commonly used because it does not sound as natural when expressing love in Japanese.

Suki da = I Like You

Instead of the gendered ai shiteru, the gender-neutral suki da is typically used. Although it simply means "I like you" in English, depending on the situation, the recipient, and the speaker, the meaning behind the words can change significantly. Because of this, a relatively simple phrase like suki da can mean "I love you" or something close to the English expression (though not as profound as ai shiteru).

If you like someone and want to start dating them, you can say suki da (or the more formal suki desu ) to them. To express romantic interest in a friend (I will explain the use of yo in this context below), you might use the phrase "Suki da yo."

Because of the romantic overtones, "Suki da" should not be used with a purely platonic friend or acquaintance. While the phrase "Suki da" literally means "I like you," when used in a more serious, heartfelt context, it can also mean "I love you."

The meaning of suki da depends on the context in which it is said and the reactions of the two people involved.


Like its spelling, the pronunciation of suki da is soo-KEE-dah. Keep in mind, though, that the "u" sound that comes after the initial "s" is incredibly muted. to the point where it is often omitted entirely, making the word sound like "ski" with an extra "dah" added to the end in English.


  • Besides the two forms of suki da already mentioned, there are also suki yo and suki da yo. The former (with the "da") is a more masculine and relaxed way to express your affection for someone, while the latter (without the "da") is a very feminine expression of your feelings.
  • Another option is to simply say "Suki desu," which is a more formal way of saying "I like you."
  • The adverbial form suki (like) is perfectly acceptable. to give an account of your preferences in general F For example, "Neko ga suki " means "I like cats" in Japanese. Nothing here suggests you have a thing for feline companions or are interested in dating them (which would be very concerning)," )


Lastly, "Daisuki da" () means "I Really Like You" in Japanese.

Another fairly straightforward translation of "I love you" into Japanese, this one differs only in the inclusion of the character dai, which can be translated as "big" or, more specifically, "really (like)." " As a result of being surrounded by dai,   daisuki da  is   somewhat more forceful and forthright than   suki da

Daisuki da (yo) is a Japanese expression that means "I like you a lot" or "I enjoy being with you very much." "

However, depending on the context and the person, daisuki da can mean more than just "like" and can be interpreted as being closer to the English phrase "I love you."


Pronounce daisuki da as you would suki da, except this time, add the syllable dai in front of it, which is phonetically very close to the English words "die" and "dye." The correct pronunciation, then, is essentially DYE-ski-dah. In particular, stress the first syllable, dai.


  • Daisuki da, like suki da, has a few iterations: daisuki da yo and daisuki yo. When expressing your affection for another person, the former is the more masculine and casual choice, while the latter (without the "da") is more feminine.
  • The term daisuki da or daisuki can be used to express adoration for anything from a favorite dish to an animal to a hobby to a sport. To express your enthusiasm for travel, you could say something like "Ryok daisuki " in Japanese. "

Fourthly: Suki yanen = I Like Ya

This last option for saying "I like you" or "I love you" in Japanese is playful and slangy. Suki yanen, literally "I like you," is a common greeting in Japanese. The Kansai (Osakan) dialect of Japanese is known for its vivacious, forthright, and occasionally comical tone.

You should only say "Suki yanen" to someone you have romantic interest in or want to date, just like the more serious phrases suki da and daisuki da we explained above; however, this phrase is certainly less serious, and thus makes for a much more lighthearted way of expressing your feelings for someone.


The Japanese word suki yanen is pronounced very similarly to how it looks, with the exception of the suki part, which is pronounced more like the English word "ski" (see above). Pronunciation: yah nen


  • If you want to express your feelings in a lighthearted manner and the person you have your eye on is from Osaka or the Kansai region in general, you can't go wrong with the phrase suki yanen.
  • Keep in mind that the term "suki yanen" can refer to either a type of noodle or the brand name of a popular Japanese ramen. not telling you they love you


These 4 Easy Steps Will Teach You How to Say "I Love You" in Japanese

Now that you know the four most common ways to say "I love you" in Japanese, I'll show you how to say these words more naturally.

When in Doubt, Refer to Suki da

Although ai shiteru is the Japanese word closest in meaning to the English phrase "I love you," it is not commonly used in everyday conversation.

So, whether you're just starting to develop feelings for someone or have been together for a while, it's best to use the more common suki da or daisuki da to express your romantic interest. love that burns with intensity

That's why you should always resort to some form of suki da when you're unsure of what to say. Additionally, ai shiteru should be used judiciously, if at all.

Second, err on the side of informality

In contrast to English, Japanese has a variety of formalities that can be deployed depending on context, audience, and speaker.

Since you'll probably be using the above casual forms to express your affection for a close friend or partner, that's how they're written.

In general, you should stay away from the masu form of verbs. Saying "Ai shiteru," the informal version of "I love you," is much more common than the slightly more formal "Ai shiteimasu." Only in the context of a marriage proposal would this format be appropriate.

Don't Stress Over Pronouns

The aforementioned phrases don't have any subjects, objects, or pronouns, which can be confusing if you're new to Japanese. This is because subjects and objects are frequently implied in the Japanese language. Therefore, it's not necessary to name specific loved ones. As long as you look the person in the eye and say the phrase directly, they will understand what you mean.

Google Translate may render "I love you" in English as " Thank you very much; in Japanese, this is said as watashi wa anata o ai shiteimasu. This very formal and clumsy way of expressing your love in Japanese is "," where watashi means "I" and anata means "you."

In the end, it's the verbs and adjectives that are most important, so that's all you need to concentrate on.

#4 Adapt to the Sound of Silence

A final piece of advice: in Japanese culture, when it comes to expressing romantic feelings in Japanese Being quiet can be a good thing More often than not, it feels more natural than simply saying "I love you." "

You may be more comfortable expressing your feelings through acts of kindness, romance, and thoughtfulness than through a direct declaration of love if you're the reserved type. Certainly, this is not an out-of-the-ordinary method of showing affection in Japan.

Also, if your Japanese partner doesn't respond with "I love you, too" after you tell them you love them, try not to take it to heart. They may still love you despite their silence. I mean, they love you, but saying those words might not come easily to them.

The Next Steps

Trying to think of other ways to show your affection Learn the art of writing a romantic sonnet poem with the help of our collection of quotes about love in Spanish.

Need to ask more Japanese language questions? Master the Japanese language by learning how to say "Good morning!" and the other nine necessary greetings.

Have a desire to study Italian Check out our cheat sheet for the most frequently used Italian greetings.

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