Love in Japanese

Since it’s spring, I thought why not talk about love 😉

So how do you say love in Japanese? Well, when you begin to learn Japanese, one of the first words your learn is 好き (suki), which literally means “like”. So you may learn phrases such as 音楽が好きです (ongaku ga suki desu) – “I like music” – for example. But, if you watch anime, you’ll soon notice that suki can also be used towards a person in a “I like LIKE you” kind of way:

Then you have the word 愛 (ai), which actually translates as love. Ai encompasses all types of love, from the love of a mother to her child to the love between a couple. From what I’ve heard though, compared to suki, this is a really strong emotion. I guess it’s more the sort of Romeo and Juliette, can’t live without you type of love. So keep this in mind before you say 愛している (aishiteiru) to anyone!

Finally you have the word 恋 (koi), which again means love, but can also mean to yearn. So koi is often thought to be a passionate type of love. As opposed to ai, it is only used to refer to lovers. Also, koi is thought to be more selfish. It is often said that ai is always giving, and koi is always wanting. Love starts with koi, but koi may come to an end someday. Whereas ai is everlasting. But of course koi can turn into ai. Which leads me into my final word:  恋愛 (ren ai), meaning love. ren ai is composed of both koi and ai.

Whoever said love was complicated? 😉

Bonus words: 恋人 (koibito) meaning lover, boyfriend/girlfriend, and 愛人 (aijin) also meaning lover, as well as mistress. So careful when using these words! 😉


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