How to say love in japanese

November 20, 2010

One of the most popular phrases in any language is probably “I love you.” In Japanese, “love” is “ai (愛),” and the verb form “to love” is “aisuru (愛する).” “I love you” can be literally translated as “aishite imasu (愛しています)”. “Aishiteru (愛してる),” “aishiteru yo (愛してるよ)” or “aishiteru wa (愛してるわ, female speech)” is normally used in conversation. However, the Japanese don’t say “I love you” as often as Western people do, because of cultural differences.

There is another word to describe “love” which is “koi(恋).” The kanji character for “kokoro (心, heart)” is included as part of both kanji characters.

Both “ai (愛)” and “koi(恋)” can roughly be translated as “love” in English. However, they have a slightly different nuance. “Koi” is a love for the opposite sex, or a longing feeling for a specific person. It can be described as “romantic love” or “passionate love.” While “ai” has the same meaning as “koi,” it also has a definition of a general feeling of love. “Koi” can be selfish, but “ai” is a real love. Here are some lines that explain them well:
“Koi is always wanting. Ai is always giving.”

Author: Namiko Abe (Japanese language guide)
source: http://japanese.about.com

Free tattoos with the kanji for love on seiza.ro:

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