Love in Japanese + 50 ways to say I love you

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Have you ever wondered how the Japanese express their feelings? Did you know that in Japan there are several ways to do this? In this article we’ll explain the different ways to say love or I love you in Japanese, and see the difference between there, koi and suki.

One of the most important words in any language is “love“. In Japanese there are 3 main ways to say you love a person: there [愛], suki [好き] and koi [恋], in addition, several variations and conjugations are used to express this feeling.

Japan is made up of 47 provinces, each with different customs and dialects, so basically we can guarantee that there are more than 100 ways to express love and affection with words in the Japanese language.

How to say love in Japanese?

There are 3 main ways to say love or I love you in Japanese. The most common and generic is suki, there is a more intimate call koi and another more powerful one called there. Shall we see the difference between each one?

Ai - 愛 - It literally means "Love". Along with “shiteru”愛してる, you are saying that you love the person in a more intimate way. Aishiteru it is most used when you are in a serious relationship, married or engaged.

Suki - 好き - It literally means "Like". It is the most common way of saying that you love or like something, be it a person, food or something else. Sometimes it is common to add the word dai (大) to express that you really like or have a great love for someone or something. 大好きです (So Suki Desu).

Koi - 恋 - Used in the same way as 愛, it has the same meaning, but in a more romantic, intense and ardent way. It can be translated as passion, it is used between people in an extremely intimate way a true love.

Love in Japanese - how to say I love you in Japanese

The most used is Suki Desu. Use suki rather than Aishiteru or Koishiteru it doesn't mean that you love that person less. We don't say neko wo aishiteru but yes Neko ga suki or Dai suki. So culturally we must take into account that the value of the word "Suki" has the same value as loving in Portuguese.

Japanese people, especially young people, also use ラブ (rabu - love), a word originated from English to speak love. When a romantic mood is happening people use the onomatopoeia raburabu [ラブラブ].

Did you know? O crane bird or famous tsuru of Japanese origami symbolizes the conjugal love and the faithfulness?

In short - I love you in Japanese can be:

  • Aishiteru - 愛してる - I love you in Japanese (super intimate, between couples);
  • Koishiteru - 恋してる - I love you in Japanese (I'm starting to fall in love with you);
  • Suki desu - 好きです - I like you in Japanese;
  • Dai suki desu - 大好きです - I like you very much in Japanese;
Love in Japanese - how to say I love you in Japanese

The love present in Japanese ideograms

Realize that the ideogram of there [愛] and koi [恋] have within it the radical (part of kokoro [心] which means heart. This shows us that the Japanese language itself in its writing is able to show that this feeling of love is linked to the heart.

The other way of expressing feelings (好 - suki) is composed with the ideograms of woman [女] and child [子] showing once again a mother's strong love for her son and vice versa. It is interesting to know how feelings are expressed in the word itself.

Other expressions of affection in kanji, the Japanese ideograms are:

  • 色 - Even the simple colored kanji can be related to love, lust and sensuality;
  • 情 - Kanji present in some words related to love that can indicate feelings, emotion, passion, affection and affection;
  • - Follow, idolize, love, adore, admire, have affection, desire;
  • 挑 - excitement, stimulation, provocation;
  • 参 - This ideogram means confused, but it can portray the feelings of being in love, defeated, being madly in love;

Did you know that there is a Japanese word called aiaigasa [相合傘] which means sharing the umbrella, but its true meaning refers to love because of the ayay that resembles [愛愛]. Read our article on aiaigasa.

Other words related to love in Japanese

There are many other words that express love, but you need to be careful because each one has a different idea. Below we will list some words related to love in Japanese.

  • 恋愛 - renai - It means love, affections, making love, passion and falling in love;
  • 愛好 - pissed - It means worship;
  • 情け - nasake - Sympathy, mercy, affection and love;
  • 恋慕 - renbo - tender emotions, passion and love;
  • 片思い - kataomoi - Unrequited love;
Love in Japanese - how to say I love you in Japanese

Below we will see some more Japanese words that Kanji of love has:

Words with “Ai (愛)”Words with “Koi (恋)”
愛読書 aidokusho
Favorite book
初恋 hatsukoi
First love
愛人 aijin
Lover
悲恋 hiren
tragic love, sad love, ruined
愛情 aijou
Love, affection
恋人 koibito
Boyfriend
愛犬家 aikenka
dog lover
恋文 koibumi
Love letter
愛国心 aikokushin
Patriotism
恋敵 koigataki
Rival in love
愛車 aisha
Favorite car
恋に落ちる koi ni ochiru
fall in love, fall in love
愛用する aiyousuru
Favored, usual
恋する koisuru
be in love with
母性愛 boseiai
Maternal love
恋愛 renai
romantic love
Uai hakuai
philanthropy
失恋 shitsuren
disappointing love

Here are some interesting words involving romance and marriage:

  • Renai-kekkon [恋愛結婚] - A marriage for love;
  • Miai-kekkon [見合い結婚] - Arranged marriage;
  • Renai-shousetsu [恋愛小説] - A love story or romance;
Love in Japanese - how to say I love you in Japanese

Japanese Sayings about Love and Passion

Below are some Japanese sayings that use the word koi:

恋に師匠なし
Koi ni shishou nashi
Love does not need teaching.
恋に上下の隔てなし
Koi ni jouge no hedate nashi
Love makes all men equal.
恋は思案のほか
Koi wa shian no hoka
Love is without reason.
恋は盲目
Koi wa moumoku.
Love is blind.
恋は熱しやすく冷めやすい.
Koi wa nesshi yasuku same yasui
Love goes deep easily, but it cools quickly.

Love in Japanese Tattoo and Gaara

A very common act is to get a love tattoo in Japanese [愛], even Gaara from the anime Naruto has this tattoo in red on his forehead. Without a doubt, if you want to tattoo love in Japanese the ideogram there [愛] is the most suitable. If you want, you can also tattoo the passion character koi [恋] or a mix like [恋愛].

Using koto to say I love you in Japanese

You may have noticed that in Japanese culture, the expression koto [事] when someone expresses their feelings saying I love you as in the expression: anata no koto ga dai suki desu [あなたのことが大好きです]

Why do Japanese people use koto in this expression? How important is it to add this? As the koto literally means figurative things, we can say that the koto [こと] in the sentence more encompasses the object (you).

It would be like saying I love everything about you, or everything about you. This expression makes it clear that you love the person in a romantic way, rather than simply saying that you like the person as someone.

It is quite essential, especially when we use the expression suki desu. We will be showing a genuine love, which focuses on the quality and the interior of the person, on things not seen. Koto I conveyed the depth of his love for the person. 

To learn more about the meaning of the word koto read our article on koto and mono.  

Love in Japanese - how to say I love you in Japanese

Kokuhaku and Tsukiatte Kudasai - Declaring feelings

The act of declaring and exposing your feelings in Japanese even has an expression that is kokuhaku [告白]. This word literally means to confess or declare feelings. Japanese people usually do this alone.

Right after saying expressions like I love you (suki desu) the person needs to apply for dating. This dating request is made using the expression tsukiatte kudasai [付き合ってください] which literally means go out with me or date me.

These two steps to declare your feelings and start a relationship, even if it is with a simple and first date, is something very exciting and romantic that is highlighted in Japanese anime and dramas.

Love in Japanese - how to say I love you in Japanese

Tsuki ga Kirei [月がきれい] - The moon is beautiful

A poetic way of saying I love you in Japanese is the expression “The moon is beautiful” meaning Tsuki Ga Kirei [月がきれい]. It all started with famous writer Soukeki Natsumi (1867-1916) who answered the question How is I Love You Translated into Japanese?

This writer is so famous that his face is stamped on the 1000 yen note. This expression also makes perfect sense, especially for those who cannot easily confess their love, and uses expressions like this.

It has appeared in several animes, there is even an anime with that name that represents the meaning of this expression. The complete sentence to say is tsuki ga kirei desu ne [月がきれいですね] that transmits a dialogue between a couple.

It is very likely that this expression was chosen because of the similarity between the word tsuki [月] and suki [好き], not to mention the use of the word beautiful and beautiful, along with the Moon which is a very romantic symbol.

Love in Japanese - how to say I love you in Japanese

Ki ni naru and Ki ni itteiru - Like Someone

Although Suki [好き] is commonly translated as liking, it is usually used to show real romantic feelings for the person. And when are we just starting to like or like someone? There are other expressions for this purpose.

  • ki ni itteru [気に入ってる] = You are enjoying it, enjoying it;
  • ki ni naru [気になる] = Starting to like or enjoy;

An expression widely used by young people, especially in Reality Shows. Its use can also be used on things and objects. Even the like button on the internet is written using similar ideograms.

Japanese Expressions and Love Phrases

Below we will leave a table with some phrases and expressions of affection in Japanese, so you can express your feelings with other beautiful words. We have an article that shows more romantic phrases and phrases.

JapaneseRomajiPortuguese
あそびにいこう!asobiniikou!Let's go out together!
あなたがいないと 寂しanata ga inaito, sabishiI feel alone without you
あなたが恋しいですanata ga koishii desuMiss you
カップルです。kappuru desuWe are a couple
キスしたいkisushitaiI want to kiss you
キスしようkisushyouLet's kiss
さわっていい?sawatteii?Can I touch you?
ずっと一 緒にいたいzutto Issho ni ItaiI always want to be with you
だきしめたいdakishimetaiI want to hug you
デートに行こう!deeto ni ikouLet's meet
ハグしようhagu shiyouLet's hug
一緒にいると楽しい!issho ni Iru to tanoshiiI have fun when I'm with you
二人で行こう!ikou futariLet's go together
大事にしたいdaijini shitaiI value you
守りたいmamoritaiI want to protect you
手をつなごうよte wo tsunagou yoLet's hold hands
私と付き合ってください。watashi to tsukiatte kudasaiDate me
結婚しようkekkonshyoumarry me
I love you
Ashi たしは、あなたを愛しています Watashi wa, note the aishiteimasu
Love is like the wind, you cannot see it but you can feel it.
愛は風のよう、あなたはそれを見ることはできませんが、それを感じるとがができます。 wa wa がで an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an an
Love is just love, it can never be explained!
Ai 愛」はただ単に「愛」である。説明なんてできない。“ Ai ”wa tada tan ni“ ai ”de aru. Setsumei nante dekinai.

Suki Desu in 47 different dialects

Before we talk about dialects of love in Japanese, we want to share a video that we made summarizing this article. Let's leave a list below with the 47 ways to say I love you in Japanese according to dialects of the 47 provinces of Japan:

  1. Aichi: Dera suki ya ni
  2. Akita: Suttage suki da
  3. Aomori: Tange da ba daisuki da yo
  4. Chiba: Daisuki
  5. Ehime: Daisuki yakken
  6. Fukui: Daisuki ya za
  7. Fukuoka: Bari suitoo yo
  8. Fukushima: Suki da
  9. Gifu: Meccha suki ya yo
  10. Gunma: Nakkara daisuki nan sa ne
  11. Hiroshima: Bari daisuki jake
  12. Hokkaido: Namara suki dassho
  13. Hyogo: Meccha suki ya de
  14. Ibaraki: Shaanme Daisuki
  15. Ishikawa: Suki ya yo
  16. Iwate: Zutto daisugi da sukai
  17. Kagawa: Suitoru ken
  18. Kagoshima: Wazzee soiled
  19. Kanagawa: Daisuki
  20. Kochi: Kojanto suki yaki
  21. Kumamoto: Daisuki bai
  22. Kyoto: Honma ni suki ya de
  23. Mie: Meccha suki ya de
  24. Miyagi: Suki desu
  25. Miyazaki: Tege suki yaccha ken
  26. Nagano: Daisuki da yo
  27. Nagasaki: Suki bai
  28. Nara: Honma ni suki ya de
  29. Niigata: Daisuki da kan na
  30. Oita: Zutto zutto daisuki bai
  31. Okayama: Deeree suki jaken
  32. Okinawa: Deeji daisuki saa
  33. Osaka: Meccha daisuki ya de
  34. Saga: Gabai suitoo yo
  35. Saitama: Eree suki nan yo
  36. Shiga: Daisuki ya de
  37. Shimane: Daisuki by ken
  38. Shizuoka: Bakka suki da
  39. Tochigi: Honto daisuki da yo
  40. Tokushima: Honma ni daisuki ya ken
  41. Tokyo: Daisuki
  42. Tottori: Meccha suki
  43. Toyama: Suki ya cha
  44. Wakayama: Meccha suki ya de
  45. Yamagata: Honten daisuki da kan na
  46. Yamaguchi: Buchi suki jakee
  47. Yamanashi: Daisukkitsukon

Maybe you have a friend who is too lazy to read this giant article, the video can help with that:

Everyone knows that in a language there are dialects, slang and accents. In Japan this is even greater because the country is divided into 47 states, it has existed for thousands of years and also has a complexity in the pronunciation of the language due to the various readings of its ideograms.

For these and other reasons there are thousands of ways to say I love you and even variations in the pronouncements of declaring yourself saying Suki Desu. Finally, we will leave some videos showing how to say suki desu in some dialects of Japan.

Now have you learned to say I love you in Japanese? Do you know how to express love? I hope you enjoyed the article, thanks for the shares and comments. We also recommend reading:

Hitomebore [一目惚れ] - Love at first sight in Japanese

Love at first sight is a common trope in Western literature, in which a person, character or speaker feels romantic attraction to a stranger as soon as he sees him. Described by poets and critics from the Greek world onwards, it has become one of the most powerful tropes of Western fiction.

The Japanese word for love at first sight is hitomebore [一目惚れ] which means something like literally at first sight. It is usually written without the ideogram [惚] but it makes sense of the expression bore.

The ideogram [惚] means to fall in love, admire, be enchanted or literally fall in love. Even if you repeat the expression borebore we have a kind of onomatopoeia that means with affection; with admiration; with fascination; with adoration; with enchantment.

Koi No Yokan [恋の予感] - Love at Second Sight

Koi No Yokan [恋の予感] is one of those Japanese sayings for which there is no real equivalent in Portuguese. It is not about love at first sight, but some translate it as love at Second sight.

It is a confidence in the inevitability of love when you meet someone or a hunch. There is no implication that the feeling of love exists, only that the union is inexorable.

First, we have the ideogram of passion and love. followed by the ideogram [予感] which means something like a hunch; premonition; guess. So will we be completely sure if we see the person again? Is that why it's called love at second sight?

Using Love as a Nickname?

In Brazil we have affectionate nicknames to use with the partner as love. And if I want to say for example Goodnight love In japanese? Well, in Japan the most common nicknames used by lovers are derived from the English Darling and Honey.

Of course, there are many other loving ways to call your boyfriend in Japanese. If you want to know more loving ways to refer to love in Japanese read our article on Japanese Surnames.

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