How to express longing in Japanese?

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

It is not just Portuguese that has some uniqueness, 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 “Sentir Missor ou saudade”.

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

How to express longing in Japanese?

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

恋しい - Koishii

This is an expression that shows longing, desire, and a feeling of absence, but it should be used with caution, since the kanji 恋 means love and passion. It may seem more common to use 恋しい with your girlfriend or wife. However, it's normal to use koishii with other people you haven't seen in a long time, or even with food and objects, but it's not common, as there are other words for it. Koishii it could 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 American pizza;
How to express longing in Japanese?

会いたい - Aitai

This may be the most common expression to say that you miss or miss someone. But its literal translation is 'I want to meet you' or 'I want to see you'. One thing I noticed is that ai (会い) also means love only written with kanji , so even though it's a homonym, it's as if you're expressing a feeling of love as the word saudade is unsaid. aitai.

It is easy to notice that many Japanese words and kanji with the same pronunciation have similar or related meanings and roots. Of course, there is no direct reference in the Japanese language regarding 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;
How to express longing in Japanese?


The word 寂しい - sabishii literally means "alone, lonely, desolate", but the Japanese use it a lot to indicate that you are alone because you miss or miss you. It's actually easier to find the word sabishii in sentences 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 you miss someone, use the 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。
  • I miss you;
  • 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 so much if you leave Japan;
How to express longing in Japanese?

The article is still halfway through, but we recommend also reading:

懐かしい - Natsukashii

The expression natsukashii can be literally translated as something dear, nostalgic, desired and forgotten. It is often used to say that you are missing something, a time in the past, old times, a trip or something like that. However, it is also used to say that you miss a person, 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 o kiitara, anata ni tsuite omotte, natsukashimu nda;
  • When I hear this song, I think of you and I 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 such as defeat in a soccer match, and also missing several examples of use. I hope this little article will help you understand how to express that you miss or miss someone or something.

Read also: Death Wall - A Gambling Anime

Read more articles from our website

Thanks for reading! But we would be happy if you take a look at other articles below:

Read our most popular articles:

Do you know this anime?