How can I say "I love you" in Japanese?

Courtesan reading a love letter
by Utamaro

In dictionaries "love" may be given as aisuru (愛する). Ai shite iru (愛している) may be how "I love you" is translated in foreign films, but this phrase is not really used much in normal Japanese speech.

There have been two traditional answers for how to say "I love you".

  1. You don't. (you don't say it; you show it.)
  2. Various forms such as Dialect versions include

Words for lover include koibito (恋人) "girl/boyfriend", kareshi (彼氏), "boyfriend", kanojo (彼女) "girlfriend". Koibumi (恋文) means "love letter". Katakana raburetaa (ラブレター) is also used. Other words for love are kesou-suru (懸想する), shibo-suru (思慕する), renbo-suru (恋慕する), and ren-ai (恋愛).


Edited from posts by Tanaka Tomoyuki.

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