How to Say I Love You in Japanese

Two Methods:Understanding the CultureChoosing Your Words

Saying "I love you" is exciting and scary--even more so if there are cultural differences between you and the object of your affection. These things are easy to sort out though. Read the steps below, and you'll feel more confident and at-ease saying "I love you" to your Japanese crush.

Method 1
Understanding the Culture

  1. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 01
    Love is a big deal. In Japanese culture and tradition, love is portrayed as a divine feeling bonded by god and torn only by death.[1] In Western culture, the term "love" is used more freely and in ways unrelated to a relationships. People may say that they "love" ice cream, their smart phone or a favorite sports team. Before saying "I love you," reflect on your true feelings and be clear about what you want to express.
  2. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 02
    Expressions of love are not common. While there's been a push in recent years for Japanese men to express their love more openly, words of love are not uttered regularly among the Japanese. Instead, they express their feelings through emotion.
    • Speak with your eyes. In one study, it was observed that Japanese people focus more on a person's eyes than on his mouth to determine emotion. Research has shown that the expressive muscles around the eyes provide key clues about a person’s genuine emotions, so the Japanese are good at perceiving a person's true feelings. [2]
    • Use tone of voice. In one study it was noted that Japanese participants paid more attention to a person's voice than to his face making the Japanese adept at listening for emotional cues.[3]
  3. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 03
    Family and friends are important. If you have an opportunity to get to know and make yourself liked by family members and friends, it could go a long way to helping secure the success of a relationship. Young Japanese men and women often go on group dates and value being part of a set.
    • You cannot necessarily gauge a Japanese woman's interest in you by the way she acts around her friends. Japanese women are often conservative in social groups but may be more open and flirty in more intimate situations.
    • A look at Japanese "happy ending" novels show that unlike their Western counterparts, it's not burning passion that clears the way for a couple to be together but rather friends, family and suitable circumstances. [4]
  4. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 04
    Money may matter. If your declaration of love is prelude to a journey that you hope will end with a Japanese woman as your wife, you may want to consider your finances. In Japan, marriage has traditionally been built, in part, around practical consideration--one of which is money. In a recent online survey of more than 500 Japanese women, 72% said they wouldn't want to marry without money. [5]
  5. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 05
    Love and sex do not have to go hand-in-hand. Attitudes among Japanese men and women about sex are fairly open, so if you feel as though you must utter the words "I love you" in order to initiate a physical relationship, that's not necessarily the case. Sex and sexuality is less frowned upon in Japan than it is in Western countries. Many Japanese consider physical interest as part of the attraction in a dating relationship.
  6. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 06
    Take advantage of Valentine's Day and White Day. On Valentine’s Day in Japan, women give gifts, especially chocolate, to men they love. Men return the favor on White Day, which takes place one month after Valentine's Day on March 14. Men give women gifts of various kinds, most commonly chocolate. [6]

Method 2
Choosing Your Words

  1. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 07
    suki desu 好きです. This expression actually means "to like" but it's the most commonly used form of expressing love. If you add "dai" to the beginning ("daisukidesu") it means "I really like you."
  2. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 08
    kimi wa ai shiteru A Iしてるの君. This is best used to convey true and committed feelings of love. Nothing about this expression speaks to friendship. Do not use it unless your feelings are strong.
  3. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 09
    taisetu 大切. This means "you are precious" and may be a preferred way to express your feelings if you're not quite ready for a committed relationship.
  4. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 10
    suki nan da 好きなんだ. This can be translated "Don't you know how much I love you?" Uttering this expression is a way to offer an explanation--"nan" is used when giving or asking for explanations.
  5. Image titled Say I Love You in Japanese Step 11
    koi no yokan. Those who perhaps are a bit too practical to believe in love at first sight, might talk about "koi no yokan," which refers to the feeling upon meeting someone that love is in the cards, in time. [7]


  • Saying "Watashi wa anata wo suki desu" can also mean I love you. Or you can say in short, "suki desu".
  • Although "suki desu" means I like you, it obscurely implicates that you love him/her. Obscurity is one of the Japanese culture.

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Categories: Japanese