Suki, Daisuki, Aishiteru: Like or Love?

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by kyn, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. kyn

    kyn Senior Member

    Hanoi, Vietnam
    Is it true that in Japanese, "suki" means both "like" and "love"? Then both "I like
    you" and "I love you" would be "kimi ga sukida". How can you tell when it's
    "like" and when "love"?
  2. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    suki = like
    daisuki = like very much
    aishiteiru = love

    daisuki is as far as Japanese will go to declare their love. You tell when it's "like" and when it's "love" based on context. Discussion on usage of "love" and "like" in Japanese can be found in this thread.
  3. Mugi Senior Member

    NZ English
    As samanthalee has pointed out, you tell from the context.
    "Kimi ga suki da" is kind of formal in its grammar, so it could mean either "I like you" or "I love you", depending on the situation. If you're with a bunch of friends and you compliment someone on the way they look and they reply "Kimi ga suki da", then it would be being used in the sense of "like" - in this situation a natural English translation would probably be "Thanks!" or "Wow, you're so nice."
    But if you're holding hands at a movie and your partner leans over and says "Kimi ga suki da", then it would be being used in the sense of "love".

    But if one person says simply "suki" to another, then it would almost always be the equivalent of "I love you."

    "Daisuki" on the other hand, is often used a little jokingly, and would usually actually be less meaningful than a simple "suki".

    "Ai shite(i)ru" is seldom used - it's a direct translation of the English "I love you". I think I've read somewhere that it only came into the vernacular in the Meiji period (or possibly even later) after contact with the West.

    When the terms "suki" and "daisuki" are used in reference to a non-human subject however, the meanings are as samanthalee has noted, although you would probably still often use "love" in colloquial English. E.g. "Aisukuriimu ga daisuki!" = "I love icecream!"
  4. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    A small footnote to what samanthalee and Mugi have mentioned about suki vs. daisuki;
    They both mean "to like" when the referent is a non-human subject but, when applied to humans, suki has more romantic connotations than daisuki. For instance,
    X-nokoto sukinandesho?
    X-humanAccusative likeQuestion
    You love X, don't you?

    I find that this sentence loses considerable amorous implication if suki is substituted by daisuki.
  5. Mugi Senior Member

    NZ English
    Thank you Flaminus, that was one of the things I was trying to say. :)
  6. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    Thanks Mugi and Flaminius. I didn't know that. So a Japanese wife will more likely say "suki da yo" then "daisuki da yo"? I'm asking this because I've come across 2 non-Japanese forumers (not from WR forums) that told us their Japanese wives use "daisuki".
  7. Mugi Senior Member

    NZ English
    It depends what kind of emotion she wants to convey. If I give my wife a bunch of flowers, she is likely to say "daisuki". If, somewhat out of the blue, she wants to say she loves me, she'll simply say "suki". "Suki" expresses emotion/affection at a more base level and is often used in a spontaneous situation. "Daisuki" will usually be used as a reaction to something you've done for the other person.
  8. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    ああ、そうか 。Thank you for clarifying.:)

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