5 Different Ways To Say I Love You In Japanese

how to say i love you in japanese

Wanna know how the Japanese express their love? Read on to find out the different ways to say I love you in Japanese!

Expressing love in Japanese is an art of nuance and context, with a variety of phrases to convey the depth of one’s feelings.

From the subtle to the profound, each expression offers a unique shade of emotion, reflecting the complexity and sincerity of love.

Let’s explore the different ways to say “I love you” in the Japanese language.

Different Ways To Say I Love You In Japanese 

Words That Mean Love In Japanese

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Before we get into the ways of saying I Love You in Japanese let’s take a look at some words that mean love in Japanese. 

These words can come in handy when you want to be more creative while confessing your love to your crush, or significant other or even when showing affection to a friend or family member. 

There are multiple words that can mean love in the Japanese language, however, these words must be used carefully by considering which context and scenarios they would fit in. 

Ways To Say I Love You In Japanese

The most common word that means love in Japanese is “Aiwhich is written in kanji characters as . The word Ai means love which involves giving more than receiving. 

One of the best examples of Ai is the mother’s love because we all know that mothers love their children without expecting anything in return.

The word Ai can also be used when expressing the love that’s selfless and innocent such as platonic love, love towards a family member, and even one-sided love or crush. In most of these scenarios, love is always given without any expectations.

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Another popular Japanese word that means love is “Koi, ” written in Japanese kanji letters as . Koi is an ideal word that can be used to express love toward the opposite gender, in other words, romantic love. 

The word Koi is mostly used in contexts that involve selfish love which means the person expects love or any form of affection in return which is why it’s mostly used by couples to express their love.

Although both the words Ai and Koi mean love, it’s their subtle nuances that make them ideal for different circumstances and contexts. Furthermore, both Ai and Koi must be accompanied by a few other words to confess your love to a special person.

How To Use Ai () Japanese?

Now that we know the slight subtlety between Ai and Koi let’s learn how these words can be used in the most suitable contexts. 

How To Use Ai: 

Since Ai is used to express love in general, you can use it to show your love towards a friend, a pet, a close family member, or any living or nonliving thing you prefer. Let’s take a look at some of the words and phrases which use the word Ai to represent love below.

Japanese Words And Phrases That Use AiEnglish Translations
Aijin (愛人)Lover 
Haha no ai (母の愛)Mother’s love
Aijin (愛人)Lover 
Watashi wa watashi no inu ga daisuki (私は私の犬が大好き)I love my dog
Aisha (愛車)Favorite Car
Aijo (愛情)Affection, Love
Watashi wa basukettobōru o suru no ga dai suki desu (私はバスケットボールをするのが大好きです)I love to play basketball
Aikoku Sha (愛国者)Patriot 

How To Use Koi () in Japanese?

Koi is the Japanese word that’s predominantly used to refer to romantic or passionate love. Therefore, Koi is commonly used by couples to express their feelings toward each other. Below we’ve some popular phrases and words that use Koi to portray love. 

Japanese Words And Phrases That Use KoiEnglish Translations
Koiniochiru (恋に落ちる)Fall in love
Koibito (恋人)Lover 
Watashi wa koishite iru (私は恋している)I’m in love
Hatsukoi (初恋)First love
Moto Koibito (元恋人)Ex-lover
Koibumi (恋文)Love letter
Koigataki (恋敵)Love rival

Different Ways To Say I Love You In Japanese

Now let’s learn the different ways to say I Love You in Japanese. Keep in mind that love is not expressed only between couples but also between friends and other family members as well. So let’s take a look at the ways how I Love You should be expressed in different scenarios.

Use Daisuki (大好き) to express your love to a close family member

Let’s start off by saying that verbally expressing love isn’t a followed practice in Japan even with family members. 

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The Japanese people believe that actions speak louder than words hence they focus more on expressing love by doing acts that impress the other person.

However, if there’s a need to express their love verbally the Japanese people might tell “Daisuki” (大好き) which means “I really like you” in English. The word “like” here is a connotation for love hence it’s one of the ideal ways to say I love you to a family member.

For example, you can say, “Daisuki dayo mom” (大好きだよ、ママ) which means “I love you mom”.

Say ‘Tomodachi to shite suki desu’ (友達として好きです) to express your love to your freinds

Letting a friend know you like them or love them in Japanese is similar to saying I love you to a family member. The Japanese word used to express love to a friend is Daisuki as well. 

You can tell your friend that you like them by saying “Tomodachi to shite suki desu” (友達として好きです) which means “I love you as a friend”. 

If you wish to express your love to your close friend circle then you can tell them “Anatatachi daisuki dayo” (あなた達だい好きだよ) which means “I love you guys”.

Say “Aishiteru” (愛してる)  if you want to confess your love to your romantic partner 

Confessing love to a romantic partner such as a wife or husband or lover is way distinct from expressing your love to a friend. 

I love you in Japanese is said as “Aishiteru” (愛してる) but it isn’t popularly used to confess love since it’s deemed to be an intense word that’s only used for unrealistic contexts such as in anime, manga, and Japanese music.

The popular Japanese phrase for I love you is “Sukidayo” (好きだよ) which means “I like you”. Although the word “Like” is literally the English translation for Sukidayo, the phrase in Japanese is actually used to express romantic love towards someone. 

Other Ways To Confess Your Love In Japanese

Confessing love doesn’t only limit to the iconic three words “I Love You”, in fact, there are other creative and unique ways the Japanese people follow to express their love for someone special. 

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Some of these ways aren’t too direct when it comes to confessing love but the Japanese people make sure to deliver them in a catchy tone to ensure their significant other understands what’s being said. 

The following phrases are frequently used by Japanese people to confess their love:

Japanese Love ConfessionsEnglish Translations
僕の名字に変えてもらえませんか?Boku no myōji ni kaete moraemasen ka?Will you change your surname to mine?
結婚して下さい?Kekkon shite kudasai?Will you marry me?
私と家族を始めませんか?Watashi to kazoku o hajimemasen ka?Would you like to start a family with me?
毎日私に食べ物を作ってくれますか?Mainichi watashi ni tabemono o tsukutte kuremasu ka?Will you make me food every day?

Do Japanese People Say I Love You?

Love is conveyed distinctly in various cultures and traditions. Some traditions are conservative when it comes to expressing various acts of love and affection and some traditions are very open. 

And Japan definitely falls under the conservative category when it comes to expressing love.

The Japanese people rarely ever say “I Love You” or any Japanese words that are similar to I love you. 

But this doesn’t mean the Japanese are incapable of loving, it’s just the ingrained Japanese tradition that most Japanese people display their love by actions rather than words. 

For instance, it’s quite common for a Japanese man to help his wife do chores, teach her something new, or buy a gift as a sign of showing love and they strongly believe that such acts help to elevate the love between each other. 

This can also apply to other scenarios between a mother and her child/children and even between friends. Doing certain acts that impress your loved ones are considered to be one of the most forward ways in Japanese culture to tell them how much you love them.

Furthermore, the Japanese consider openly confessing love to someone to be too dramatic and sentimental. 

However, there may be quite a couple of occasions where expressing love verbally is followed such as during weddings, anniversaries, etc. 

Furthermore, the practice of verbally expressing love is more popular with the younger generation in Japan than the older generations.

You can learn how to say I love you in Japanese by watching the video below:

Ways To Say I Love You In Japanese: FAQs

How do you say I love you in Japanese?

The most popular phrase for I Love You in Japanese is “Aishiteru” which is written in kanji characters as 愛してる. The phrase “Aishiteru” is only ideal to be used between romantic partners. When expressing love towards a friend or family member the most commonly used phrase is “Daisuki” (大好き) which means “I like you”.

What do Japanese people say instead of I love you?

Japanese people aren’t known for verbally expressing their love by using words such as I love you. The most formal and common way the Japanese people confess their feelings to someone is by saying “Daisuki” (大好き) which means “I like you”. Phrases that mean I love you in Japanese like “Aishiteru” aren’t used regularly because they seem too intense and dramatic.

How do the Japanese express their love?

The Japanese people are quite conservative hence they don’t express their love in words quite often. They believe that actions that prove your love for someone are sufficient to express how much you love them. However, a popular Japanese phrase to express love is “Daisuki” which means “I like you”.

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