Aishiteru and Suki desu: What’s the difference? The difference in Love and Like : When people learn a new language, the first few key phrases learned are usually how to introduce yourself, a few bad words, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, phrases relating to love! We for one, think this is a very important topic as it may make or break your chances with your Japanese beloved. Don’t worry though, we here at bondlingo got you.

Cultural Background
Cultural Background
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Cultural Background –Aishiteru and Suki desu

Firstly, one must consider the huge difference in cultural backgrounds depending on how you were brought up to where you actually are. There is a high possibility that Japanese culture or cultural norms in Japan are very different– especially when it comes to expressing love. For most western cultures, throwing around the word “love” and “like” is pretty common and might not mean as deep as it’s intended to be. We say we love our parents and say we love burgers. Same phrase, different depths.

For Japanese people, expressing love is a bit tricky. You’ll be surprised to know that some married couples might not have said I love you to each other…ever! Even saying I love you to a very close family member isn’t all that common in Japan as Japanese people are more likely to show their love through actions rather than words. Saying “I like/love you” is more common with younger people amongst lover and friends. We’re not saying that saying “I love you” is a faux pas in Japan or forbidden in any sense, but it really depends on who you’re saying it to, what stage of the relationship you are in, and what that person thinks about you as well. It’s all in the context!

Aishiteru versus Sukidesu

Aishiteru (愛してる) and Suki desu (好きです) are probably included in the first few phrases you learn in Japanese, or at least heard of. If you are someone interested in learning Japanese, there is a high possibility that you have heard of these phrases in songs, anime, movies or any form of popular media. They are however, both used in a romantic setting or a setting where feelings of love are involved. Although in the same spectrum, there are different levels to these two phrases and similarly enough to how we speak in our own language, the meaning itself changes depending on the context! 

Suki desu (好きです) I like you ?

This is a more common phrase used when expressing or confessing to someone you’re romantically interested in. If you watch anime or read manga, you’ve probably come across situations where the hero confesses or gets confessed to using this phrase! It translates to “I like you” in a casual sense. It expresses a feeling of being fond of someone and well, liking them. In the case that you really REALLY like someone(maybe even love!), simply add -dai(大:big) before suki, enhancing its meaning to “I like you VERY much” or “I REALLY like you”.

Ai shiteru (愛してる)
Ai shiteru (愛してる)

Ai shiteru (愛してる) I love you ?

This phrase when translated means “I love you”. This phrase has a very earnest, deep, and serious meaning. It is actually very rarely used and said out loud due to the deep meaning behind it. It can be used with someone who you are romantically involved with and also a close family member like your parents or siblings. Because of how deep and serious it is, it can even sound like a final “goodbye” from or to someone that you care very deeply about.

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Different ways to say I like you(sukidesu)/ I love you(aishiteru) in Japanese

Looking at what we have discussed so far, one can say that you really do need to be careful when telling your beloved what you feel. Please find below a summary of what we have discussed so far and of course, a few more phrases that you can use at your own disposal.

EnglishJapaneseWhen do I use it?
I like you 好きです・好きだよ・好きSukidesu/ Sukidayo/ SukiWhen you like someone 
I like you a lot大好きです・大好きだよ・大好きDaisuki desu/ daisuki dayo/ daisukiWhen you like someone deeply that it can be considered as love–it’s closer to “I love you” in English!
I still like youまだ好きです・まだ好きMada suki desu/ mada sukiWhen you want to tell someone that you STILL like them
I’m crazy about youあなたに夢中ですAnata ni muchuu desuWhen you are dating someone and want to express how crazy you are about them! –definitely used during the “honeymoon” phase.
I love you愛してます・愛してるAshitemasu/ AshiteruRarely ever used but does mean “I deeply love you” 

*adding “-desu” makes the phrase more polite

*adding “-dayo” to a phrase is equivalent to  “___, you know” (ie “I love you, you know”)in English

Other need to know phrases about love
Other need to know phrases about love

Other need to know phrases about love

Well, I doubt the language of love can be taught in one blog but we’d like to help you out the best we can. Here are a few more examples of phrases that you might need to woo your Japanese lover or well, for future reference!

You are so cute/pretty/handsome/cool____です(かわいい・キレイ・かっこいい)(Adjective) desu. (kawaii/kirei/hansamu/kakkoii)
I want to kiss/hug you__したい(キス・ハグ)(verb) shitai. (kisu/hagu)
Are you dating someone?/Are you in a relationship?___さん、すみませんですが、つきあっているひとがいますか?(name) san, sumimasen desu ga, tsuki atteiru hito ga imasu ka?
Do you like me (romantically)?私のこと好きですか?Watashi no koto suki desu ka?
Will you be my gf/bf? / Please be my gf/bf.付き合ってくださいTsuki atte kudasai.
Will you marry me?/ Please marry me.結婚してください。Kekkon shite kudasai.

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