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15 Love and Romance Words in Japanese to Flirt, Flatter, and Date

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Poppy has been living in Japan for over six years. She likes to read novels, write, and play video games.

Hoping to flirt and maybe get a date while you’re in Japan? This article has fifteen useful words and phrases to express your feelings and make your girlfriend or boyfriend happy!


1. Suki (好き)

This is a confession of affection and literally means “I like you.” You can add “desu” or “dayo” (informal) to the end Desu is more formal and da or dayo is less formal. Which one you decide to choose depends on the situation.

2. Daisuki (大好き)

Literally meaning “big like,” this is a stronger way of saying “I like you” or “I love you.” You can add the person’s name (which is still fine to use instead of “you” in Japanese even when talking to someone) by saying “(name) ga daisuki.

3. Ai shiteiru (愛している)

Only use this one if you’re serious! Ai literally means “love” and is a confession of deep affection. Don’t say this to someone you’re trying to date, but feel free to say it to someone you’ve been with for a while and are serious about!

Asking someone to go steady is an exciting time

Asking someone to go steady is an exciting time

4. Tsukiatte kudasai (付き合ってください)

This means “will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend?” Use this when you’d like to be an item with someone!

5. Kawaii (可愛い)

Though also used for clothes, animals, and any other number of cute things, kawaii can also be used to describe a girl to say she’s pretty. You can use the word by itself when expressing how cute she is (“what you just did/said was so cute!”) or you can add her name, “(name) wa kawaii ne!

6. Kakkoii (かっこいい)

This means “cool,” “attractive,” or “handsome” and can be used in the same way as kawaii to talk about men. Kakkoii can also be used to describe something awesome or sexy, like a motorbike, trendy clothes, or epic music. A kakkoii guy is handsome, well dressed, and/or makes you want to date him!

7. Ki ni natta (気になった)

This is a way of saying that someone has caught your eye, literally meaning to “notice” someone. This it the moment when you realise that you like someone. You can say it about a person you like or to their face, telling them that you’ve developed a crush on them. Add yo (よ) at the end for emphasis.

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8. Zutto issho ni itai (ずっと一緒にいたい)

This means “I always want to be with you” (zutto = always, issho ni = together, itai = want to be).

9. Kareshi (彼氏)

This means “boyfriend!” Use it when telling people about your partner.

10. Kanojo (彼女)

This means “girlfriend,” though it’s sometimes used to say “she/her” as well. Context will usually tell speakers which meaning you’re referring to!


11. Kirei dayo (きれいだよ)

This means “you’re beautiful.” Kirei can also be used to mean “clean” (as in a clean room) or other beautiful things, such as flowers, art, or nature.

12. Daiji ni shitai (大事にしたい)

This might sound a little strange in English (I want to cherish you) but it’s closer to the meaning “I cherish you and I want you to feel cherished,” sort of like asking permission to feel this way. This is a romantic way of saying you want to protect your loved one.

13. Dakishimetai (抱きしめたい)

Use this when you’re far away from your kareshi or kanojo and would like to say how much you want to hug them! Dakishimeru means to embrace someone and hold them tight. Using the suffix ~tai (like with #8’s issho ni itai #12’s daiji ni shitai) expresses desire.

14. Mamoritai (守りたい)

This means “I want to protect you” and is similar to daiji ni shitai. Tell someone you’d like to take care of this sweet phrase!


15. Kekkon shiyou (結婚しよう)

Ready to settle down? This phrase means “Let’s get married!” Only say it if you mean it!

With these phrases, you’ll be making people giggle and blush in no time. As with any language and culture, be sure to be respectful at all times and understand people’s boundaries. Is there anyone on whom you’d like to try these words and phrases out?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Poppy

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