How to express longing in Japanese?


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Some people brag because they think Portuguese is the only language that has the word saudade. And really if we take most translations of saudade into other languages we will find more words that mean absence, nostalgia or missing. Even so, this word does not exist only in Portuguese, it originated from Latin and is found in several Romance languages but sometimes with other meanings.

It is not only Portuguese that has some exclusives, Japanese is full of verbs, expressions and words that cannot be literally translated into other languages, but unfortunately there is not a single word to say "To miss or miss you".

If there is literally no word to indicate the feeling of longing in other languages, how can you say that you miss someone in Japanese? There are several ways to express this in Japanese, in this article we will see some of them.

Como expressar saudade em japonês?

Japanese is quite complete in terms of showing feelings, so much so that there are many ways to say you love or like something or someone. The same thing happens when trying to demonstrate the feeling of longing or missing. Japanese uses verbs a lot to form others, and many verbs also have different meanings, and this can even be confusing.

恋しい - Koishii

This is an expression that shows nostalgia, desire and lack of feeling, but it must be used with care, since kanji 恋 means love and passion. It may seem more common to use 恋しい with your girlfriend or wife. However, it is normal to use koishii with other people that you have not seen for a long time, or even with food and objects, but it is not common, since there are other words for that. Koishii it can indicate that you have an intimate relationship or something.


  • 私は恋しい - watashi wa koishii - I miss you;
  • 私はあなたが恋しい - watashi wa anata ga koishii - I miss you;
  • あなたが恋しい - anata ga koishii - I miss you;
  • 私もあなたが恋しいです - watashi mo anata ga koishii desu - I miss you too;
  • アメリカのピザが恋しいな~ - amerika no piza ga koishiina - I miss the American pizza;
Como expressar saudade em japonês?

会いたい - Aitai

This may be the most common expression for saying that you miss or miss someone. However, its literal translation is 'I want to meet you' or 'I want to see you'. One thing I noticed is that there (会い) it also means love but writing with kanji , so even though you’re a homonymous person, it’s as if you’re expressing a feeling of love like the word longing to say aitai.

It is easy to notice that many Japanese words and kanji with equal pronunciations have similar or related meanings and radicals. Of course, there is no direct reference in the Japanese language with respect to these 2 words.

  • 久美子さんにすっごく会いたいよ。
  • Kumiko-san ni suggoku aitaiyo;
  • I really want to see you Kumiko;
  • I miss you so much Kumiko;
  • すっごく can be translated as very, immensely, terrible;
Como expressar saudade em japonês?

寂しい - sabishii / samishii

The word 寂しい - sabishii it literally means "alone, lonely, desolate", but the Japanese use it a lot to indicate that he is alone because he misses or misses him. In reality it is easier to find the word sabishii in phrases that express I miss you or miss you than aitai.

The word sabishii it is also written with the character 淋 (淋しい), in which case you are saying that your loneliness is more serious. So if you just want to say that you miss someone, use kanji 寂.

  • 彼女は彼がいなくて寂しい。
  • Kanojo wa kare ga inakute sabishii;
  • She misses him;

  • 君がいなくて寂しいよ。
  • Kimi ga inakute sabishī yo;
  • Miss you;
  • I miss you;

  • あなたが日本を離れたら、私たちはとてもさびしく思うでしょう。
  • Anata ga Nihon o hanaretara, watashitachi wa totemo sabishiku omoudeshou;
  • We will miss you very much if you leave Japan;
Como expressar saudade em japonês?

懐かしい - Natsukashii

The expression natsukashii it can be literally translated as something dear, nostalgic, desired and forgotten. It is often used to say that you miss something, a time in the past, old times, a trip or something like that. But it is also used to say that you miss someone, see example sentences below:

  • この歌を聞いたら、あなたについて思って、懐かしむんだ。
  • Kono uta kiitara, anata ni tsuite omotte, natsukashimu nda;
  • When I hear that song, I think of you and miss you;

  • 小学校の先生達のことが懐かしい。
  • Shōgakkō no sensei-tachi no koto ga natsukashī;
  • I miss my primary school teachers;
  • Miss my elementary school teachers;

There must still be other expressions and words to demonstrate the feeling of lack or loss like defeat in a soccer match, and several usage examples were also lacking. I hope this short article serves to help you understand how to express that you miss or miss someone or something.

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