Express Your Love 💖 How to Say I Love You in Japanese

I Love You in Japanese // A Hearty Guide (Including Flashcards)

Today we open our hearts and teach you how to express you love in Japanese – welcome to our guide on how to say I love you in Japanese.

I Love You in Japanese

But first, get this…

What if I tell you, it’s not very common to say “I Love You” in Japan!

What? How is that possible?

Have you ever come across the term high context culture and low context culture?

Here, let me explain.

High-context culture and low-context culture are based on how explicit the messages exchanged in a culture are and how important the context is in communication. 

Let’s give you some background before teaching you the all important Japanese words and phrases related to love in Japanese.

I Love You in Japanese | High and Low Context Culture

I Love You in Japanese | Telling Someone You Love Them

I Love You in Japanese | Telling Someone You Like Them

I Love You in Japanese | What Next?

I Love You in Japanese | Final Tips

I Love You in Japanese | FAQ’s

Learn Japanese Online

I Love You in Japanese | High and Low Context Culture

Let’s first give you a couple of key definitions before getting into the good stuff.

High Context Culture

Cultures and communication in which the context of the message is of great importance are referred to as high context.

In high-context cultures, utilising gestures, relations, body language, verbal messages, or non-verbal messages are preferred.

Low Context Culture

In low context, a persons communication must be more explicit, direct, and elaborate because individuals are not expected to have knowledge of each other’s histories or background. 

Why Do I Need To Know This?

According to the results of some case studies, in high-context cultures, such as Japan, China and Korea, people appear to be “more socially oriented, less confrontational, and more complacent with existing ways of living” compared to people from low-context cultures, like America or Germany. 

Don’t forget about culture differences the next time you interact with people from different cultures.

So, as expected, there are only a few times when the term I Love You is used directly while showing affection in Japanese.

In general, it’s very rare to use such an expression among friends and family. 

That’s just the way things are. But, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

I Love You in Japanese | Expressing Your Love

If you want the direct translation…

“I love you” in Japanese is あなたを愛しています。(あなたをあいしています anata-o-aishiteimasu)  Or commonly, 愛してる (Aishiteru). 

But, as I mentioned earlier, in Japanese culture, expressing love and affection through direct verbal communication isn’t very common.

This phrase may be said only a handful of times between a husband and a wife during their entire life (usually during a proposal or marriage). 

愛してる is considered a very “heavy” sentiment, almost too intense and dramatic. 

DID YOU KNOW | The Kanji for love is 爱 (あい) which is pronounced ai, the same as Mandarin Chinese!

Now, what if you like the other person and want to convey your feelings but probably don’t want to be so intense just yet.

What can you do?

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Dating in Japan 💘 Everything You Need to Know

Want to know what it’s like dating in Japan? Japanese dating is a very different experience to that of the west so it’s important to follow certain rules.

I Love You in Japanese | Expressing You Like Someone

To tell someone you like someone in Japanese is simple!

It’s always safer to go with 好きです (suki-desu) // I like you. 

It is a less intense way and can be used for hinting at your feelings.

It can also be used to express that you like to spend time with someone. 

I Like You in Japanese

Keep in mind, this phrase is also a way to show liking for anything. For example,

  • 日本が好きです。
    • Nihon-ga-suki-desu
    • I like Japan.
  • 犬が好きです。
    • Inu-ga-suki-desu
    • I like dogs.
  • 猫が好きです。
    • Neko-ga-suki-desu
    • I like cats.

If you are interested in other person a lot, and now just can’t contain these feelings anymore, you might consider using 大好きです (daisuki-desu)This translates to I like you a lot.

I Like You in Japanese

If you are in a relationship and want to let the other person know about your sincerity, a more formal version of this would be…

私はあなたが大好きです (watashiwa-anataga-daisuki-desu)。This also translates to I like you a lot but is a more formal than the previous example.

☢️ WARNING☢️ In fact this phrase is THE most formal way to express that you like the other person, this isn’t appropriate to use until you’re seriously romantically involved with someone.

Use this sentence when you’re in love with someone and want them to know.

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Japanese Pick Up Lines 😉 28 Ways To Raise Your Japanese Rizz

Let’s learn some Japanese pick up lines together. We have a huge total of 28 Japanese chat up lines that will break the ice with your crush! Let’s discover.

I Love You in Japanese | What Next?

Now that you have dropped the L bomb, you would want to know other person’s thoughts on the matter, wouldn’t you?

Or let’s just say you want to confirm that both are on the same page after your confession.

  • 僕/私のこと好きですか?
    • Boku / Watashi-no-koto-suki-desuka?
    • Do you like me?

僕 (ぼく) is generally used by males and 私 (わたし) by females, so the form depends on the speaker.

The phrasing here is more childlike and playful, and it can be perceived based on the context of situation.

It might be a child asking if you love them, someone you’ve been dating playfully picking on you or in our case, you have a crush on someone and want to know if they like you back.

Is Luck On Your Side?

Let’s hope luck is on your side.

The person you like actually likes you back… Congratulations!!

Now, these phrases would be your go to if you want to start making a move:

  • 今度一緒にデートしない?
    • Kondo issho ni de-to shinai?
    • Would you like to go on a date next time?
  • 付き合ってください。
    • Tsukiatte kudasai?
    • Will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend? Literally this translates to “Please associate with (only) me.”
Will You Marry Me in Japanese

And the big one…

  • 結婚してくれる?
    • Kekkon shite kureru
    • Will you marry me?

Want to hear a native Japanese speaker show you how to pronounce a few of these phrases?

Check out the excellent JapanesePod101 channel.

I Love You in Japanese | Final Tips

Just some final words to leave you with before you go confessing your love in Japanese!

IMPORTANT | As we’ve discussed, talking love in Japanese is very different to the west. Always air on the side of caution, don’t go full on, all guns blazing.

Although you might feel you want to, it’s important to respect Japanese culture. Going too fast too soon might change everything

Love in Japanese

PRONOUNS | You may have noticed the distinct lack of pronouns used in the examples above and that’s because they are not really used in Japanese much at all.

In fact, Japanese almost take offence when you use pronouns, especially if you know them.

So it wouldn’t bode well if a potential husband or wife here’s you refer to them as “you”.

Use their name, the same goes for friends and other people you know in Japan.

There is a reason for this, and that’s because subjects and often objects are normally implied in Japanese.

RELAX | If all the above examples have left your head in a spin – take a step back and relax. The fact you are researching this and taking the time to discover what to do and what not to do will be hugely appreciated!

If in doubt, play it simple with 好きです (suki-desu), but also be honest and open, and you’ll always shine through.

顽张ってください !!


Want to learn more about love in Asian languages?

Why not check out our guides to expressing love in Chinese and Vietnamese whilst you’re here!

Don’t forget, you can learn Japanese (or plenty of other languages) 24/7 with live, native speaking teachers with Flexi Classes, check it out, we’ll even throw you a few free lessons to get you going.

I Love You in Japanese | FAQ’s

How do you say I Love You in Japanese?

Love isn’t commonly expressed in Japanese interestingly.

However, when you are ready to drop the L-Bomb…

I love you in Japanese is あなたを愛しています。(あなたをあいしていますanata-o-aishiteimasu) 

Commonly, 愛してる (Aishiteru) is used. 

How do you say Will You Marry Me in Japanese?

結婚してくれる kekkon shite kureru

How do I tell someone I like them in Japanese?

It’s always safer to go with 好きです (suki-desu).

This simply translates to I like you. 

How can I ask someone to be my boyfriend/girlfriend in Japanese?

You can use this phrase:

付き合ってください tsukiatte kudasai?

Literally this translates to “Please associate with (only) me.”

How can I tell someone I like them to a strong degree in Japanese?

If you are interested in other person a lot, and now just can’t contain these feelings anymore, you might consider using 大好きです (daisuki-desu)。

This translates to I like you a lot.

Want More From LTL?

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