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Do Japanese say "I Love You"?

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Do Japanese say "I Love You"? 2004/5/9 13:59
Hi,
I am married to a Japanese woman here in the U.S. who has never told me ''I Love You''. She says that it is because Japanese don't say that and on other occations she says it is because there are no words in Japanese to say that. I was just wondering if this is actually true. Also, I was wondering if it is common for Japanese women to avoid meeting their husband's family and want him to sever ties with them. Trying to figure out if this is simply a cultural difference that I am unaware of or maybe something else. Any possible answers greatly appreciated ^_^
by droberts  

"I love you" 2004/5/10 08:53
This is a very common question.
The Japanese certainly have ways to say "I love you", namely "Aishite iru" and the more common "Daisuki". Having said that, though, I would agree that married couples in particular are far less likely to say this to each other than perhaps people in the west. Therefore, I wouldn't worry overly about this, provided you are both able to show affection for each other in other non-verbal ways.
Your second point about your wife's wanting to distance herself from your family sounds a bit more disturbing, and I don't think it is so easy to excuse this as simply a "cultural difference". Maybe your wife feels isolated from her own family in Japan and is therefore somehow jealous that you are in close contact with yours? While her demands do sound unreasonable, I would suggest you take the time to find out what the underlying problems are. The sense of isolation one experiences when living in a foreign country should not be underestimated.
Good luck, anyway.
by Dave rate this post as useful

Yes and No 2004/5/10 09:14
"She says that it is because Japanese don't say that"

That's true to a certain extent. While many people of the younger generation says "aishiteru ('I love you' in the most devoting way)", many married couples go on living happily ever after without saying it at all. They try to feel it, rather than to say it.

"and on other occations she says it is because there are no words in Japanese to say that."

Yes and no. When the Japanese want to express "I love you" in words, they often say things like "suki (I like you)", "dai-suki (I like you a lot", "taisetsu (you're precious)". The expression "aishiteru" can sound quite daring. It is often used in lyrics, but if people say it in public, it's quite astonishing (although not actually annoying). So I guess you can ask her to say "I love you" if it pleases you, but maybe it's hard for her to say it from the bottom of her heart even though she loves you without words.

"Also, I was wondering if it is common for Japanese women to avoid meeting their husband's family and want him to sever ties with them."

This is true to a certain extent too, but I wonder if this is cultural. "In-law" conflicts are heard of in any country. It doesn't surprise me to hear about any person in the world not wanting to be involved with in-laws, and I think we see those situations in western movies all the time. But there are people who gladly have severe ties with in-laws (my J aunt and her J daugher-in-law goes to theaters and dining all the time, just the two of them, and most Japanese find this as a pleasant surprise), so it depends both on the daught-in-law and parents-in-law, I guess. Personally, I think in-law relationships goes well best when we can meet each other about 2-3 times a year and have a great couple of days together.

"Trying to figure out if this is simply a cultural difference that I am unaware of or maybe something else."

Well, even though you can expect better situations with Japanese wives, I think your wife is fairly normal. I wouldn't take it personal. Don't you have a mutual Japanese friend you can talk to? Mutual friends really help in marriage relationships. There are lots of things you'd never find out about your spouse if it weren't for your friends.

Btw, Japanese married couples tend to hug and kiss less, and not all but some are not comfortable with recieving flowers all the time. A friend says she'd rather have the money saved than getting flowers from her European husband. But I like flowers, maybe because my Japanese husband hardly gives them to me.^_^

by Uco, Japanese wife and translator rate this post as useful

Severing family ties - don't! 2004/5/10 16:04
Also, I was wondering if it is common for Japanese women to avoid meeting their husband's family and want him to sever ties with them.
Seems that this happens in many countries, not so much to do with culture, as it has to do with the girl: my older brother's wife forced him not to come home. I hadn't seen my brother for 25 years but luckily after his divorce he came home again. However, my mother died before he came back and he feels very bad about that still.

From what my brother has told me, it is clear that he thinks now that he gave in to his wife too quickly about severing the family ties and he is sure that if he had the chance to do it over again, he would never have accepted that. I would suggest to you that you find a solution without severing your family ties for her.

by Kappa rate this post as useful

Sorry, I mis-read 2004/5/10 16:29
Please excuse me. I mis-read the part about her wanting to sever family ties. Wanting to avoid meeting parents may be normal, but sever sounds pretty harsh. I wonder what happened between your wife and her in-laws. I think you all need to talk.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Run! ^_^ 2004/5/10 17:56
First you cannot meet your family, then you cannot meet your mates. And when you meet a friend, you are only allowed to talk about things where she's part of. Run man, never give in to that kind of bullsh*t.

Seems like those kind of girls are jealous of your relations with other people. Probably they are very insecure...

by Jim rate this post as useful

Thanks ^_^ 2004/5/11 08:08
Wow! I never expected so many responses so soon! Thank you all for the advice, it has been quite helpful. I plan on posting again whenever something else happens to arise in the near future. I feel better now about the whole situation of her not saying "I Love You".
by droberts rate this post as useful

We are Japanese high school students 2004/6/4 15:23
Hi!
We are Japanese high school students, 15 or 16 years old.
There are 46 students in our class.(27boys and 19girls)
We have discussed your question ,'Do Japanese say "I love you"?', in our class.

First, 12 out of 46 students answered they would tell their boyfriend or girlfriend "I love you".
On the other hand, 34 out of 46 students answered they wouldn't say it. Because they feel embarrassed to express "I love you" directly. They expect girlfriend or boyfriend to understand their feelings without words. If they use "I love you" many times, the word is getting worthless. That is why they won't say "I love you".

Second, we also talked about meeting partner's family. 40 out of 46 students answered they would meet their partner's family after they gey married. Because they want to get along with their partner's family. On the other hand 6 out of 46 students don't want to meet their partner's family. Japanese women don't have a good impression against mother-in-law. Because she put her nose into couple's life. There are many dramas on TV about a conflict between wife and mother-in-law. They have another reason. They'll be attentive to treat their partner's family so if family often visits their home, they will feel stressful and get tired. That is why they won't meet their partner's family.

These are our answers against your question. We are sorry that we couldn't post our answers soon. Because we had mid-term exam, we were busy studying and didn't have enough time to discuss in our class.

droberts and anyone who finds our answers, please post any comments. We are English learners and tried to answer the question in English. We are so glad if anyone responds our comments. Thanks for reading. We are looking forward to any answers(^o^)

by Stars rate this post as useful

to stars 2004/6/4 21:52
Wow! It sounds like you really put alot of effort and research into your answer! My wife had given me answers similar to that you discovered...about how using the words "I Love You" too much would render it meaningless. She also had mentioned about the tension between "in-laws" and wives. (I think perhaps she watches too much T.V.) Your english grammar was very accurate as well. (better than my own I think! lol) Thank you very much for all of your effort and good luck with school! ^_^
by droberts rate this post as useful

yes 2004/6/9 02:01
yes japanese people do say i love it is just nnot as common . say to ur wife "watashi wa onatowa i seewa su" meaning i love u see ho she responds
by vbxc rate this post as useful

Love 2004/6/9 22:32
Id bet the ratio of who says I love you is higher. Put on the spot wiht a questionarre at school... thats super embarrasing for Japanese kids that go to photo club every day but run if you try to take their picture. Its about being on the spot.

Im also fond of the fad of Japanese people that dont know anything about their own culture but assume you know less. "Japanese people dont say I love you. Japanese people dont hug". Its your own race, and you dont realize people do different stuff???? Older generations that was true for MOST people, but now that is the minority. Im seriously considering trying to find a younger girlfriend because I cant tolerate the 'act like were strangers because were in public' thing.

by kieas rate this post as useful

NICE 2004/6/12 03:39
I think you did an awesome research project in english. Thanks for your statistical input. My wife mirrors the data you gave in the majority.
by Jimmie rate this post as useful

What? 2004/6/12 06:11
"watashi wa onatowa i seewa su"

What's that saying supposed to mean again? I read it like 4 times and still didn't make sense.

So I'm married to an awesome Canadian guy, and I'm Japanese. I've been teaching him little phrases in Japanese, and he asked me how to say "I love you" in Japanese, and I was like- "I have no idea!!" So this discussion makes me feel better. I grew up in a home where my parents didn't show any affection let alone any affectionate words to each other, so anyways- whatever.

Okay- regarding the family sever thing. I have my husband's family living in the same small town as we do, and my family still lives in Japan. We spend time with my husband's parents regularly, but here's my problem. I FEEL LIKE IT'S NOT FAIR THAT THEY GET TO SPEND TIME WITH US SO OFTEN, BUT MY PARENTS DON'T GET TO SEE US AT ALL. So every time they want to spend time with us, I'm resentful or I get upset because I don't get to spend time with my family- does that make sense? It's a horrible thing to feel, I know. I need to make the best of the time I have with my husband's parents because they're super nice.

But anyways- maybe that's how your wife is feeling, that if she can't spend time with her family at all, then why would you have the right tp spend time with yours? My opinion.

by YJA rate this post as useful

To High School Students 2004/6/17 21:11
My thanks for your research and for such an interesting answer! The cultural difference between UK/Japan is very wide here...
Over here, I am sure that words like "I love you" are just used *too* easily, and the power is lost by too easy speaking.
I agree, that just because it is not said,does not mean it is not there.It takes a deeper understanding,intuition perhaps.
I am already glad to join this site (only 1 day) to read such interesting comments on life!
by Talisker rate this post as useful

My friend 2004/7/10 14:21
My friend has a girl in japan that says she wants to day him, but she has never said she loves him in the 4 years they have known each other. She shows it, but won't say it, and when confronted about it she says it's a secret. So don't rely on hearing it, look how she treats you, if it is loving and trusting try to derive fulfillment in that.
by Aj rate this post as useful

I figured it out 2004/7/10 23:09
Well, now I know why she didn't say I love you...she left me 2 weeks ago, apparently she didn't love me at all, and when she found out that I had cancer again she didn't want to stick around to deal with it. My heart has been broken and I guess I have learned a lesson.
by droberts rate this post as useful

Well.... 2004/7/11 01:20
sometimes it's just too unbearable to see someone precious go through cancer. Maybe she did love you but life wasn't as easy as she thought. I hope you guys can work it out in one way or another so that you can be both happy at the end. Think of nice things and take care.
by Uco rate this post as useful

right 2004/7/11 06:14
I agree with Uco.

Once I met a short story about a guy.
He parted from her loved girlfriend cause he loved her more than himself. He said he cannot bear to love her more than himself. Is it selfishness? I do not know.
But that might be hard to feel.

by phoung rate this post as useful

hehe 2004/7/14 10:05
My wife says " I love you " in english but only a few times has she said " Ai shiteru " .. when I confronted her and asked why she said it's because "ai shiteru " has more of a meaning to her ( being in her native language ) ... so I go away thinking : Hmm so she doesn't really love me then.

Anyway , a few months later I catch her cheating on me. Such is life eh?

Be caucious!

by Azumi rate this post as useful

sorry to hear that :( 2004/7/14 10:32
Sometimes, our gut reaction can be the truest. My wife is still torturing me, calling me and giving me a slight glimmer of hope that we can work out our marriage and then dashing that hope to pieces. Last night she called and said that she didn't want to divorce but that she had no choice because she thinks my mother is "evil". This is really more than I can take because my mother is certainly NOT evil. And her reasons seem to fluctuate daily. All I know to do is to give her the divorce, which is killing me considering that I adore my wife and I DO love her very much. I still just wonder if she might have some kind of emotional disorder. I am also frustrated because I worked so hard getting her visa papers in order and sent in with all the proper documentation (without the aid of an attorney btw and not to mention the cost) and now she is just wanting to skip back to Japan. We had only been married for 6 months! If she waited, her green card would be ready in just a little while longer! I really don't know what kind of a point I am trying to make here people...I guess I am just hurting and crying out in the hope that someone will understand what I am going through. Thanks to anyone who is listening :)
by droberts rate this post as useful

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