How To Write Love You In Japanese

Last Updated on July 29, 2023

Learn how to write love you in Japanese. The Japanese language is already quite beautiful when spoken and written, but when you learn how to express important aspects of your love life in this language, your words will be even more meaningful. Love is one of the most important things in life, so it should naturally be expressed through beautiful letters or cards that are read and reread on special dates.

Learn how to write Love you in Japanese characters with this complete tutorial. The illustration above shows the hiragana and katakana versions of the phrase.

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on how to write i love you in japanese language, how to write i love you in japanese kanji. Read on to learn more. We at have all the information that you need about how to write i love you in japanese katakana. Read on to learn more.

How To Write Love You In Japanese

Love is the most powerful and beautiful way one can express their emotions to another person. The Japanese language has a lot of different ways in which one can express love for another individual. In this article, we will share with you a number of different ways that you can say “I love you” in Japanese.

Declaring love by saying I love you in Japanese is not common among the locals even if they have been together for quite a time. In fact, they do not take the word lightly, and most people in a serious relationship mainly demonstrate their love through actions instead of verbalizing it. In this post, we will walk you through some of the most common ways to say I love you in the Japanese language, as well as the usual romantic phrases you can use with your special someone. If you are up for that, then let’s start learning!

Did you know that many Japanese people do not use universal Western lines like “please marry me?” or “will you spend the rest of your life with me?” Instead of using cheesy words, you might be surprised at some of the traditional expressions like the following:

Japanese ProposalPronunciation GuideMeaning
毎日味噌汁を作ってくださいMainichi misoshiru o tsukutte kudasaiWill you make me miso soup every day?
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?
いつ両親に挨拶する?Itsu ryōshin ni aisatsu suru?When do you wish to greet our parents? 
結婚してみる?Kekkon shite miru?Would you like to get married to me?
僕と同じ墓に入ってくださいBoku to onaji haka ni haitte kudasaiLet’s lie in the same grave

As you probably can notice from the table above, the Japanese people are not direct when it comes to expressing their feelings. This is because their culture puts a premium on emotional suppression to promote better relationships with the people around them. For this reason, it is common not to see the Japanese smile ear to ear or frown may they be at school, at work, or at home.

However, just because they are not used to expressing feelings does not mean that they are not good at expressing romantic love. In fact, they have some super sweet lines that will make it feel difficult for you to control the butterflies! Check on below to find out.

10 Ways To Say I Love You In Japanese

Whether you have a special someone in Japan or are merely trying to expand your vocabulary, learning how to express love and sincere affection in the most natural ways in Japanese culture can significantly help you out. But before we give you the translations, allow us to walk you through some of the cultural norms first.

  • In Japan, “love” is a word that is only reserved for couples or for your long-time partner. It is not common to hear the locals say “I love you” to their friends, pets, or family members.
  • Due to the influence of the Westerners on Japan, the younger Japanese people are now starting to say I love you more often, but they mainly use the casual form instead of the masu (ます)form.
  • Whether you are just on a date or already a couple, a Japanese partner will always have the acts-of-service or gifting as a love language.
  • If ever you say I love you in Japanese but did not get any response, please do not be offended since it is truly not natural to them to say it back right away.
  • The word love can be translated into two words, and these are 愛 (aior 恋 (koi). Ai refers to romantic love, while Koi describes the feeling of being in love.
  • The best time for a confession or 告白 (kokuhaku) is after the third official date with your special someone.
  • When chatting online, you might see Japanese people saying ドキドキ (dokidoki), and this translates to the sound of a fast-beating heart.

Now that we know the basics let’s discuss the 10 expressions you must master to say I love you like a native. For the expressions below, please note that most of these are casual, but if you want it to sound formal/polite, you can simply add the word desu or です. For instance, we can say suki desu or daisuki desu.

JapanesePronunciation GuideEnglish Translation
好き だ よSuki da yoI love you
あなたを愛し てい ますAnata o aishiteimasuI love you
愛 し て いるAi shiteru  I love you
好き や ねんSuki yanenI like you very much
好き / 好き ですSuki / suki desuI like you
大好き だ よDai suki da yoI love you so much
大好きDaisukiI really like you
恋しいですKoishii desuI yearn for you
好きだよSukidayoI love you (for boys)
私はあなたに夢中ですWatashi wa anatanimuchūdesuI am crazy for you

Expressing Love In Japanese Through Terms Of Endearment

I Love You In Japanese

Now that we know what each of those lovely phrases literally means in English, allow us to walk you through some of the common terms of endearment used by the locals to call their special person.

JapanesePronunciation GuideEnglish Translation
Name + ちゃんName + chan (ex: Annie Chan)A nickname to sound cute
おっとO ttoHusband
 あなたAnataThis literally means “you” but can be used to mean “dear”

As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to learn and that you’ll have the courage to say I love you in the Japanese language like a real pro. If you enjoyed this article, we highly recommend that you review our other language tips related to Japanese, like the basic greetings, the popular local foods to try out in Japanese, and three facts you do not know about the Japanese language.

But before you jump off, allow me to ask you a question… would you like to master the Japanese language and start speaking it the way locals do? Contrary to common belief, you do not have to spend on expensive books just to learn the basics because we’ve got a FREE language learning tool that will help you improve in Japanese and other foreign languages in no time. So read on below to find out!

how to write i love you in japanese language

Feeling romantic? Then perhaps you’re ready to say those three little words. But if you’re dating a Japanese person, expressing your love in Japanese can get pretty complicated. The reality is that there’s no simple way to say, “I love you,” in Japanese as there is in English. So what are your options?

In this article, we’ll explain why expressing your love verbally isn’t particularly common in Japanese society. We’ll then introduce four ways you can say, “I love you,” in Japanese and give you four key tips for appropriately expressing your love in Japanese.

Saying “I Love You” in Japanese: Cultural Background

Before we introduce the various ways to say, “I love you,” in Japanese, it’s important to understand the cultural background when it comes to expressing love in Japanese.

In truth, it’s not nearly as common to say, “I love you,” in Japanese as it is in English and the West more broadly. The English sentence “I love you” is thrown around a lot more often and a lot more casually than the equivalent Japanese phrase (if you can say there truly is one!). For example, in English, it’s perfectly normal to tell your partner that you love them every day, or to end a phone call with a quick but heartfelt “love ya”—but this is rarely done in Japanese.

In general, Japanese—and by extension Japanese culture—is much more subtle and indirect than English and Western culture. In other words, Japanese people tend to abide by the “show, don’t tell” rule when it comes to expressing their love.

It’s far more common for couples, families, and friends in Japan to demonstrate their love for one another through actions, rather than to verbally affirm it. This habit is especially true for Japanese men, who more often tend to avoid extremely direct expressions of love.

There is also speculation that some (perhaps most) Japanese people feel that using the phrase “I love you” too much will render it meaningless, which is why it’s far more important to show your love than it is to directly state it.

Finally, many people believe that the concept of love (particularly ai 愛) in Japanese is simply too abstract for ordinary people to be able to grasp. In this sense, love is almost like a poetic ideal instead of an actual feeling one can experience.

Nevertheless, Japanese people do occasionally say, “I love you,” in Japanese, so it is possible to directly express your love in Japanese, even if doing so is a lot less common.

4 Unique Ways to Express Your Love in Japanese

In this section, we take a look at four different ways you can say “I love you” in Japanese.


#1: Ai shiteru 愛してる = I Love You (Deeply)

The word ai shiteru 愛してる is essentially the default phrase for “I love you” in Japanese. It is also the one that arguably comes closest in meaning to the English expression “I love you.” The character 愛 ai literally translates to “love,” typically with the connotation of romantic love.

Of all the ways you can express your love in Japanese, ai shiteru is by far the heaviest, most deeply felt way of doing so. In fact, I would even translate the word more closely to something like “I love you deeply” or “I am deeply in love with you.” That’s how expressive this one word is!

Because of its heartfelt connotations—and because Japanese culture dictates that love should be expressed through actions and gestures rather than verbally through words—ai shiteru is rarely said aloud.

Normally, the word is used only between serious lifelong lovers or when confessing your love for someone for the first time. Even in these cases, however, you’ll want to be careful not to overuse the word. It’s truly not uncommon for married couples to never say, “Ai shiteru,” throughout their entire marriage!

Despite its weighty implications, you’ll often see ai shiteru used in media, such as TV dramas and pop songs, for dramatic effect.


Ai shiteru is pronounced AYE-shee-teh-roo.

Note that the second syllable (shee) is a lot shorter than it looks and sounds much more like just a quick “sh” sound. This means that the entire word sounds more like three syllables.

In addition, do not pronounce the “roo” sound as you would an English “r.” The Japanese “r” sound is more of a mix of the English “d,” “r,” and “l” sounds, similar to the way we pronounce the “d” sound in the word “ladder.”

The following YouTube video explains how to pronounce ai shiteru:



  • Most people simply say, “Ai shiteru,” but you could also say, “Ai shiteru yo 愛してるよ,” which translates to something more along the lines of “I love you, you know.” The yo ending adds emphasis and makes it a little more casual.
  • Ai shiteru is a casual, shortened form of the word ai shiteiru 愛している (or ai shiteimasu 愛しています), but neither of these forms is used often since they’re both more formal and sound less natural when expressing your love in Japanese.

#2: Suki da 好きだ = I Like You

The gender-neutral phrase suki da 好きだ is used a lot more commonly than ai shiteru. This phrase literally translates to “I like you,” but it can have heavier implications depending on the context, the person, and the way it’s said. As a result, it’s possible for a phrase as simple as suki da to mean “I love you” or something closer to the English expression (though not as deep as ai shiteru).

Generally speaking, suki da (or the more formal variation suki desu 好きです) is used to confess to somebody that you like them (and want to date them). For example, if you have a friend you’d really like to date, you might say, “Suki da yo,” to let them know you’re interested in them (I explain the use of yo here in detail below).

Because of the romantic connotations of saying, “Suki da,” to someone, you shouldn’t say this to a purely platonic friend or acquaintance, as it could imply you’d like to take your relationship to the next level. However, if you were to say, “Suki da,” to your romantic partner, this could very well be translated as “I love you,” despite the fact it literally means “I like you,” especially if it’s used in a more serious, heartfelt way.

Ultimately, it’s up to the two people in the situation in which suki da is being said to interpret its meaning.


Suki da is pronounced much like how it looks: soo-KEE-dah. However, note that the “u” sound after the initial “s” is very, very subtle—so much so that it’s often dropped completely, making the word sound more like the English word “ski” with a “dah” tagged onto the end.


  • As mentioned above, there are a couple of variations of suki da, including suki da yo 好きだよ and suki yo 好きよ. The former is a more masculine and more casual way of expressing your love for or interest in someone, whereas the latter one (without the “da”) is a highly feminine expression.
  • You could also use the phrase, “Suki desu 好きです,” which is simply a more formal way of saying you like someone (when directed at them).
  • It’s perfectly natural to use the adjective suki (like) to describe your general likes (and dislikes). For instance, you could say to someone, “Neko ga suki ネコが好き,” meaning, “I like cats.” There’s no implication here that you’re in love with cats or want to date animals (which would definitely be cause for concern!).

#3: Daisuki da 大好きだ = I Really Like You

This next way to say, “I love you,” in Japanese is pretty similar to the one we looked at above; the only difference is the addition of the character dai 大, meaning “big” or, in this case, “really (like).” Because of the presence of dai, daisuki da is a little stronger and more direct than suki da.

By saying the phrase, “Daisuki da (yo),” to someone, you’re essentially saying, “I really like you,” “I like you a lot,” or “I really like being with you.

But, as we discussed above with the adjective sukidaisuki da can also mean something deeper than just “like” and could be implied to mean something closer to the English phrase “I love you” depending on both the context and person.


Daisuki da is pronounced the same as suki da above, only this time you’ll be adding the syllable dai before it, which sounds almost identical to the English words “die” / “dye.” So the pronunciation is essentially DYE-ski-dah. Be sure to put more emphasis on the initial syllable dai.


  • Like suki da, there are some variations of daisuki da: daisuki da yo 大好きだよ and daisuki yo 大好きよ. The former is a more masculine and more casual way of saying that you (really) like and/or love someone, whereas the latter (without the “da”) is more feminine.
  • The phrase daisuki da or daisuki is not limited to romantic interests or people and can be used to express your passion for things such as food, objects, animals, activities, sports, etc. For instance, you could say, “Ryokō daisuki 旅行大好き,” meaning “I really like traveling” or “I love traveling.”

#4: Suki yanen 好きやねん = I Like Ya

This final way you can say, “I like you/I love you,” in Japanese is fun and slangy. The phrase suki yanen 好きやねん, which translates roughly into something like “I like ya!” is from the Kansai, or Osakan, dialect in Japanese, which is known for being bubbly, direct, and a little goofy.

Like the phrases suki da and daisuki da we explained above, you should only say, “Suki yanen,” to someone you’re romantically interested in or want to date; however, this phrase is certainly less serious and therefore makes for a much more lighthearted way of expressing your feelings for someone.


The pronunciation of suki yanen is pretty much how it looks, except with the suki part sounding more like the English “ski” (as explained above). Yanen is pronounced yah-nen.


  • If the person you’re interested in is from Osaka or the Kansai region in general, it’s a safe bet to use the phrase suki yanen, especially if you’d rather express your feelings in a less serious way.
  • Suki yanen is also the brand name of a popular ramen in Japan, so be aware that if someone is using this phrase, they might be talking about a type of noodle—not confessing their love for you!

4 Essential Tips for Saying, “I Love You,” in Japanese

Now that we’ve gone over the four main ways you can say, “I love you,” in Japanese, it’s time to give you some key tips on how to naturally express your love in this amazing language.

#1: When in Doubt, Use Suki da

Even though ai shiteru is arguably the word that is most similar to the English phrase “I love you,” it’s rarely, if ever, said in Japanese to someone and isn’t used on a casual, everyday basis.

This is why, in general, if you’re hoping to express your love or romantic interest in someone, it’s best to go with either suki da or daisuki da, since these phrases are used a lot more often and entail a range of emotions, from a small crush to a big, passionate love for someone.

So if you’re ever in doubt, use a variation of suki da—and use ai shiteru sparingly or not at all.

#2: Err on Casual

Japanese differs from English in that it has several levels of formality you can use depending on the situation, the speaker, and the listener.

When saying, “I love you,” in Japanese, you’ll likely be saying it to someone you know pretty well, so it makes sense to stick with the casual forms of the words above (all words are written in their casual forms already).

You’ll generally want to avoid using verbs in their masu ます form. It’s far more natural to say, “Ai shiteru,” than it is to say, “Ai shiteimasu,” or the slightly more formal version of “I love you.” The only time you might use this form would be when you’re asking someone to marry you.

#3: Don’t Worry About Pronouns

If you’re new to Japanese, you might be confused by the phrases above, which don’t contain any subjects, objects, or pronouns in them. The reason for this is that subjects and often objects are normally implied in the Japanese language. As a result, you don’t typically need to specify whom you love. As long as you’re looking at the person and saying the phrase directly, your intentions will be clear.

Even though Google Translate would literally translate the English phrase, “I love you” as “Watashi wa anata o ai shiteimasu 私はあなたを愛しています,” wherein watashi means “I” and anata means “you,” this is a very stiff, cluttered way of expressing your love in Japanese.

When it comes down to it, just focus on the verbs/adjectives, as these are what matter the most!

#4: Learn to Embrace Silence

As a final tip, remember that in Japanese culture—specifically when it comes to expressing feelings of love in Japanese—silence isn’t always bad. Often, it’s more natural than saying, “I love you.”

If you’re the shy type and don’t like the idea of declaring your love so directly, you might be more successful at showing your emotions through charitable, romantic, and thoughtful actions. This is a pretty “Japanese” way of expressing love, so it’s certainly not abnormal.

About the author

Study on Scholarship Today -- Check your eligibility for up to 100% scholarship.