Suki, Daisuki, Aishiteru: Like or Love?

kyn

Senior Member
Vietnamese
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"?
 
  • 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.
     

    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!"
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    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のこと好きなんでしょ。
    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.
     

    samanthalee

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    suki has more romantic connotations than daisuki.
    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".
     

    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.
     

    Harvey Alycass

    New Member
    English-UK
    Okay so the boy I like asked me if I knew what daisuki, aishiteiru, haishiteru mean. I know the first two but not the third what does it mean he won't tell me. I don't know why he's acting like this. It's weird he's never like this. Is it because of what the word means? If so what's its meaning and what is the meaning of his bizarre behavior? I need help asap.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Haishiteru is usually spelt aishiteru. It's no different from aishiteiru in meaning but aishiteiru is slightly more formal (but the edge is subtle). If the boy prefers aishiteru, maybe it feels closer to the heart for him.
     
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