The best way to tell someone “I like you” in Japanese is to use either the casual 好き (suki) or the formal 好きです (suki desu).
It’s important to know that the distinction between “I like you” and “I love you” in Japanese is a little blurred, compared to English.
Although saying “I love you” in Japanese could be better expressed through 大好き (daisuki) or 愛している (aishiteru), sometimes it can be felt through 好き (suki) as well.
That’s why the context and the way you say 好き (suki) will determine whether you tell someone you like them or love them.
However, there are ways to explicitly emphasise that you like someone as a friend in Japanese to avoid misunderstanding.
Furthermore, there are plenty of ways to generally complement a particular feature or part of someone by telling them you like them in Japanese too. This includes ways of describing someone as being a very likeable person.
It’s important to know that the best way to address someone as “you” in Japanese is to call them by their actual name, even when you’re talking to that person directly. Therefore the following entries will have [name] as a placeholder. This also means you can use these entries to talk about [name] to someone else entirely. No need to fuss over pronoun usage here!
Each entry is accompanied by an audio clip with a native Japanese speaker for your reference.
Table of Contents
I Like You in Japanese
- I like you.
The best way to tell someone that you like them in Japanese is to use 好き (suki). You can use 好き (suki) just like that, as a standalone without any pronouns. This is because you don’t need to use pronouns when speaking in Japanese. This makes everything really easy to understand!
Therefore if you were to say to someone: 好き (suki), you are saying “I like you” to them in Japanese. Although 好き (suki) doesn’t explicitly mean “I love you”, it can be interpreted as a confession if you were to randomly blurt it out.
There are other ways you can use 好き (suki) to tell someone you like them to avoid confusion.
Confessing You Like Someone in Japanese
The first is to be much more direct with the intention and meaning behind your words. To achieve this, use 好きだ (suki da) with the inclusion of だ (da).
- I like you.
When you tell someone 好きだ (suki da), you’re emphasising the finality in your speech. This is because だ (da) functions as a kind of final-sentence marker that expresses the certainty in your words. This means that when you tell someone 好きだ (suki da), they will 100% assume that you are confessing to them that you like them as more than just a friend.
It is a very direct way that ensures the person knows that you like them.
Another way to express that you like them as more than a friend is to say:
- [name] のことが好き。
[name] no koto ga suki.
I like you.
As the most natural way to address the person you’re talking with is to use their name rather than using “you” in Japanese, simply replace the above [name] with the person’s actual name.
When you use the above phrase, you’re telling the person that you like them and who they are. This is because of こと (koto). When paired with の (no) the possessive grammar particle, you express that you like the person for who they are.
Literally speaking, こと (koto) means an “intangible thing” in Japanese. Therefore you’re quite literally telling them that you like things about them.
I Like You As a Friend in Japanese
The second way is to emphasise slightly more that you like a person in general. You can do this with 好きだよ (suki da yo) which mellows down the confession-like feeling depending on the context.
For instance, imagine someone asks you if you like someone in general. You could reply:
- その人？ うん、普通に好きだよ。
sono hito? un, futsuu ni suki da yo.
That person? Yeah, I like them.
When spoken like this, the emphasis on liking someone romantically is lessened. You’re not implying that you like them in a romantic way, as opposed to simply saying 好き (suki). You can be even more specific though, and completely friendzone someone by telling them:
tomodachi toshite suki da yo.
I like you as a friend.
Note that the sentence above can be interpreted as “I like you as a friend”, or “I like them as a friend” depending on the context. It is also the most direct way to safely confirm that you like someone strictly as a friend.
The first word that appears is 友達 (tomodachi), which means “friend” in Japanese. Next is として (toshite), a grammar point that can be paired with any Japanese noun to express “as”. Lastly is 好きだよ (suki da yo) which we have confirmed to mean “like you”.
Combined together the complete phrase is literally the exact same as the translation. You can’t go wrong with accidentally confusing someone with this phrase!
The Kanji for Like
The kanji for “like” in Japanese is 好. It can be associated with other meanings such as “fondness” or “pleasing”.
It does appear in other words, however, the most common is 好き (suki).
It’s also worth remembering that although simply saying 好き (suki) is enough to express your fondness of someone despite the lack of pronouns, 好き (suki) can also be used to refer to objects.
For instance, if someone were to ask you if you like sushi, you could reply with 好き (suki), which means “I like it”.
Formal Way to say I Like You in Japanese
- I like you (formal speech).
It’s important to adjust your speech depending on whom you are talking with. This is because Japanese is an honorific language with different styles of speech to express different levels of politeness.
When speaking with those who are of a higher social status than yourself, such as a manager, a teacher, or even a stranger you need to speak with increased politeness by using Keigo.
Although you most likely won’t be telling a stranger “I like you” in Japanese, you may however express those words to someone who is older than you. Especially in a school or work setting, addressing your upperclassmen, known as 先輩 (senpai), or superiors with polite speech is important.
To express that you like someone formally in Japanese, simply attach です (desu) to 好き (suki), making 好きです (suki desu).
Similar to how 好き (suki) functions when on its own (explained above), 好きです(suki desu) can also be used to say that you like someone (or something) in general, or as someone more than a friend.
Using the phrase 好きです (suki desu) has the implication of being a confession. Whereas, 好きですよ (suki desu yo) is a much lighter expression that conveys implications of just liking someone in general.
Despite this, it ultimately comes down to the context beforehand. To ensure clarity, you could always say:
tomodachi toshite suki desu yo.
I like you as a friend (formal).
This way, even in polite speech you can ensure no misunderstandings will happen.
I Like You Too in Japanese
- I like you too.
watashi mo suki da yo.
If someone tells you that they like you, and you also like them too, you can reply with 私も好きだよ (watashi mo suki da yo).
Similar to English, telling someone directly that you like them too as a response can be interpreted as a confession on your end.
This phrase is made up of three parts. Firstly, 私 (watashi) is the word for “I” in Japanese. Although you should omit pronouns where possible to sound more natural, you need to include “I” this time. This is because the following word is も (mo) a Japanese particle that means “also” and sentences in Japanese do not start with particles.
The last part is 好きだよ (suki da yo) which we’ve already established to mean “like” in Japanese.
Unlike the pronoun for “I”, you can omit the pronoun for “you” in this sentence if you are talking to the person directly.
Specifying Who You Like Too – Pronouns
If you need to specify who it is that you also like, you can do so by referring to the person by their name, even if you are speaking to them directly.
In the case that you are speaking with that very person, calling them by their name functions the exact way as “you” does in English.
This means that the best way to call someone “you” in Japanese is to use their actual name. You can use the following sentence structure:
- [name] のことも好きだよ。
[name] no koto mo suki.
I like you/[name] too.
The biggest difference with this sentence is the inclusion of も (mo) to emphasise the “also” or “too”.
To make this formal, simply change 好きだよ (suki da yo), to 好きですよ (suki desu yo). This makes it 私も好きですよ (watashi mo suki desu yo).
The complete phrase is understood as a confession, so it can be seen as the most complete way to express your feelings for someone in Japanese.
Asking Someone Out in Japanese
When confessing in Japanese, you may also wish to ask the person out. You can do this in polite or casual speech depending on who you’re talking with.
If you’re looking to take your relationship to the next level with your friend, you can say:
Will you go out with me?
For anyone with whom you have a relationship with that’s a little different to just friends, such as a co-worker or upperclassman, known as 先輩 (senpai), you’ll want to say:
Please go out with me.
Both expressions share 付き合って (tsukiatte), the te-form of the verb 付き合う (tsukiau), with means “to go out with” in English.
The te-form has many uses, however, in this case, it enables the sentence to continue, as Japanese sentences typically end in verbs.
The main difference between the two expressions after 付き合って (tsukiatte) is that the casual variant ends with くれる (kureru), whereas, the formal ends with ください (kudasai).
Firstly, the くれる (kureru) in 付き合ってくれる？ (tsukiatte kureru) emphasises the expression as a question. くれる (kureru) is typically attached to the end of te-form verbs to add a nuance of “for me” to the expression.
It is necessary here as you’re the one asking if someone could accept your proposal and go out with you, and くれる (kureru) emphasises that.
Secondly, the formal 付き合ってください (tsukiatte kudasai) features ください (kudasai), which is a polite way of saying “please” in Japanese.
Another function of the te-form is that it emphasises a request. ください (kudasai) is also typically attached to the end of te-form verbs, which transforms the phrase into a polite request.
With 付き合ってください (tsukiatte kudasai), you’re making a formal request to go out with someone.
We Are Dating in Japanese
If you end up together, you can say:
watashitachi ha tsukiwatteiru.
We are dating.
The word 付き合っている (tsukiatteiru) is the present progressive form of the verb 付き合う (tsukiau), meaning to go out with. This form is used to describe an action that is ongoing. Similar to how verbs end in “ing” in English. In this case, 付き合っている (tsukiatteiru) means “dating”.
私 (watashi) is the pronoun “I” in Japanese, and たち (tachi) is the suffix that makes it plural. This means that 私たち (watashitachi) means “we”.
You can use 私たちは付き合っている (watashitachi ha tsukiatteiru) to state that you two are couple and are currently dating.
The Japanese word for Confession
The word for confession in Japanese is:
You may want to express to your friends how you’ve been confessed to.
To do this, you can say:
kare ni kokuhaku sareta!
He confessed to me!
Or perhaps you are the one doing the confessing!
saki kokuhaku shita!
I just confessed!
Asking Do You Like Me? in Japanese
Perhaps you have a suspicion that someone likes you, or maybe you’re just curious and want to know. To ask this question, you can say:
- Do you like me?
watashi no koto ga suki?
It’s important to know that when you use this expression, you’re asking specifically if the other person likes you as more than a friend.
私の (watashi no) consists of 私 (watashi), meaning “I”, and の (no), the Japanese possessive particle. When this particle is combined with 私 (watashi), the meaning changes to “my”.
Literally speaking, こと (koto) is referred to as “intangible things”. However, when talking about the こと (koto) of a person, you refer to the very elements, the features that make them who they are.
が (ga) is another Japanese particle that defines the subject of the sentence. The speaker is asking if they are liked by someone, so the speaker themselves are the subject.
We know that 好き (suki) means “like”, therefore when you ask someone 私のことが好き？ (watashi no koto ga suki), you are really asking them if they like you.
You can use 好き (suki) to say what you like specifically like about someone in Japanese. Complimenting someone on their appearance or personality for example is similar to English in that it does not always have romantic connotations.
With that said, it entirely depends on the context, the situation, and your relationship with that person.
In this section, we’ll cover all the ways to express what it is you like about someone in particular.
It’s important to note that in the following entries, pronouns are not required. Simply replace [name] with the person’s actual name.
Even when talking with the person directly, you should use their name. This is the most natural way to address someone in Japanese.
This means that you can take any of the following expressions, replace [name] with the person’s actual name, and it’ll function the same as saying “you” specifically.
You can also use any of the expressions below to say what you like about someone to someone else. This is because there are no pronouns, making these expressions extremely flexible.
I Like Your Personality in Japanese
- I like your personality.
[name] no hitogara ga suki.
The most natural way to say personality in Japanese is 人柄 (hitogara). This word is a noun that has the meaning of one’s “personality”, “character”, or “personal appearance”.
人柄 (hitogara) has two kanji. The first is 人, which means “person” in Japanese. Secondly, 柄 has a few meanings such as “design” or “pattern”, however, it can also mean “essential qualities”, “character” or “one’s nature”.
This means when you use 人柄 (hitogara) you’re referring to one’s character and their nature as a whole.
You can also describe what it is you like about their personality, by saying how it’s beautiful for instance.
To make this expression formal, attach です (desu) to the end of 好き (suki), making it 好きです (suki desu).
I Like Your Fashion Sense in Japanese
- I like your fashion sense.
[name] no fasshon sensu ga suki.
The word for fashion sense in Japanese is ファッションセンス (fasshon sensu). It is a word that has been borrowed from English, referred to as a “loan word”. For more information on katakana and loan words, refer to this ultimate guide.
The word ファッションセンス (fasshon sensu) has the same meaning as “fashion sense” does in English. The challenging part though is to adopt a correct pronunciation. Refer to the audio clip above, as it is pronounced slightly different to that of English.
It’s also possible to drop the ファッション (fasshon) part and just compliment someone on their sense.
- [name] のセンスが好き。
[name] no sensu ga suki.
I like your taste (in things).
Although we probably wouldn’t express to someone how much we like their “sense” in English, in Japanese it’s possible to do. For instance, if you like someone’s overall taste in things, their style and character, you can refer to it all as センス (sensu).
Attach です (desu) to the end of the sentence to make it formal.
I Like Your Sense of Humour in Japanese
There are a few ways to express that you like someone’s sense of humour in Japanese. The first is to say it directly, by saying:
- I like your sense of humour.
[name] no yu-moa no sensu ga suki.
The word ユーモアのセンス (yu-moa no sensu) is, like the entry above, borrowed from English and is known as a “load word”. The の (no) which appears in the centre of the word is the possessive grammar particle. You use it to connect nouns together. In this case, it functions similarly to the English “of”, with the complete meaning being “sense of humour”.
The word ユーモア directly translates to the English word ” humour” and センス translates as “sense”.
Another way to express that you find someone funny is to simply say:
- [name] は面白い！
[name] ha omoshiroi!
The word 面白い (omoshiroi) is an i-adjective that can mean both “funny” and “interesting” in Japanese. Which meaning you want to use depends on the context of the situation.
But generally, if you’re laughing and showing a degree of happiness, telling someone that they’re 面白い (omoshiroi) would mean that you’re telling them that you think they’re funny.
It is also possible to simply shout out 面白い (omoshiroi) in Japanese. When you say 面白い (omoshiroi) by itself, you infer that you think the other person is funny or interesting.
To make any of these expressions formal, simply attachです (desu) to the end. For example, the casual 面白い (omoshiroi)! would become the formal 面白いです (omoshiroi desu)
I Like Your Kindness in Japanese
- I like how kind you are.
[name] no yasashisa ga suki.
The word you can use to talk about “kindness” in Japanese is 優しさ (yasashisa).
優しさ originates from the i-adjective やさしい (yasashii), meaning “kind”. It has been conjugated into the sa-form which essentially adds the nuance of “ness” to the word.
This means that by conjugating the adjective from 優しい (yasashii) to the sa-form it becomes 優しさ (yasashisa), and the meaning changes from “kind” to “kindness”.
Another function of the sa-form is that it also transforms adjectives into nouns. Therefore, we can express that we like it.
The kanji that appears here is 優, which means “tenderness” “excel” or “gentleness”.
I Like Spending Time With You in Japanese
- I like to spend time with you.
[name] to sugosu jikan ga suki.
To express that you like spending time with someone in Japanese, say their name followed by the sentence と過ごす時間が好き (to sugosu jikan ga suki). Attaching です (desu) after 好き (suki) will make it formal.
When you say と (to) straight after saying the person’s name, you’re saying “with you” in Japanese. This is because you can use と (to) to connect nouns, or in this case, two people together. Essentially と (to) functions as “with”.
The word 過ごす (sugosu) is a verb that means “to spend” in Japanese. You will mostly pair this word with the word for “time”, which is the next word that follows. Time in Japanese is 時間 (jikan).
When 過ごす (sugosu) and 時間 (jikan) and paired together, you create the meaning “spend time”.
As 時間 (jikan) is a noun, we can attach the final part of the phrase が好き (ga suki) without making any modifications.
Which completes the expression as [name]と過ごす時間が好き ([name]to sugosu jikan ga suki).
I Think I Like You in Japanese
- I think I like you.
[name] ga suki ni natta mitai.
Just like the above entries, to address someone as “you” in Japanese, you have to refer to them by their actual name, even if you’re talking with them directly.
You can use this phrase to express how you think you like someone in Japanese. Just like in English, when telling someone that you think you like them, you’re also arguably confessing to them.
Simply saying the first part of this expression [name] が好き ([name] ga suki), you’re already telling the person you like them. We covered this in the first entry!
The rest of the phrase can be understood as two parts. The first is the section that follows immediately after 好き (suki). These words are になった (ni natta).
The word なった (natta) is the past tense of the verb なる (naru) which means “to become”. Therefore, なった (natta) means “became”.
The preceding に (ni) is the grammar particle that always accompanies なる (naru) to connect it to a preceding non-verb.
If you were to say the sentence up to this point, excluding the last part みたい (mitai), the meaning would be:
- [name] が好きになった。
[name] ga suki ni natta.
I’ve come/started to like you.
Expressing “I think”
The final part of this phrase is みたい (mitai).
When you end a sentence with みたい (mitai), you add the nuance of “seeming” to the entire phrase. Therefore the complete phrase can be understood literally as “it seems I’ve started to like you”.
If you were to express this phrase to someone in Japanese, they would most likely take it as a confession!
I Don’t Like You in Japanese
- I don’t like you.
[name] ga suki dehanai.
After saying the person’s name plus が (ga), take the word “to like”, 好き (suki) and attach ではない (dehanai) to express that you dislike someone in Japanese.
ではない (dehanai) is the negative form of だ (da), which is the casual, or plain form of です (desu). The ではない (dehanai) is needed here to transform the affirmative phrase into a negative one.
A reminder that you should address the person by their name even if you’re speaking with the person in question directly!
If you truly despise someone, you can express your hatred by using the word 嫌い (kirai), a na-adjective that means “hate” in Japanese.
- [name] が嫌い。
[name] ga kirai.
I hate you.
The kanji for “hate” in Japanese is 嫌 which can mean “disagreeable” or “detestable”. This means that when you say 嫌い (kirai) you’re really telling someone that you detest them! Ouch!
It’s also worth knowing that simply saying 嫌い (kirai) by itself translates to “I hate it” in Japanese. For instance, if someone were to ask you if you like chocolate (and you despite it), you could say:
Nope, I hate it.
The いや (iya) here is optional is a way to say “no” in Japanese.
Related: How to say No in Japanese [Ultimate Guide]
If you are asked by anyone such as your teacher, co-worker, manager or a stranger, you should reply in polite speech. To do this, attach です (desu) to the end of the phrase. This makes it 嫌いです (kirai desu).
I am Attracted To You in Japanese
- I am attracted to you.
[name] ni hikareteiru.
Perhaps one of the most expressive ways to tell someone you like them is to say that you find them attractive.
To say that you’re attracted to someone in Japanese, you first need to address the person’s name, even if you are speaking with them directly. You do not need to use the pronoun “you” but instead, the person in question’s actual name.
Coming secondly is the grammar particle に (ni), which in this case translates as “into”.
Lastly is the word 惹かれている (hikareteiru), which is the progressive form of the verb 惹かれる (hikareru), which means “to be charmed by”, or “to be attracted to” in Japanese.
As 惹かれている (hikareteiru) is a progressive form verb, it conveys that the verb is in a constant, continuous state. This means that when you use 惹かれている (hikareteiru), you’re saying that you are already attracted to the person, and are continuing to be attracted to them at this very moment.
Therefore, by combing the entire phrase together you get [name]に惹かれている ([name] ni hikareteiru), which is how you express that you’re attracted to someone in Japanese.
Here’s how to say you’re attracted to someone in polite speech:
[name] ni hikareteimasu.
I am attracted to you. (formal).
The only difference is that you conjugate the main verb 惹かれている (hikareteiru) into the polite/masu-form. This makes it 惹かれています (hikareteimasu).
Likeable Person in Japanese
- You are a likeable person.
[name] ha kisaku na hito da.
Referring to someone as a 気さくな人 (kisaku na hito) is the best way to call someone a “likeable person” in Japanese.
The word 気さくな (kisaku na) is a na-adjective that means “friendly”, “openhearted”, “willing” and “amicable”. All the stuff that qualifies someone to be generally likeable.
Next, 気さくな (kisaku na) is followed by 人 (hito), which means “person” in Japanese.
Therefore, 気さくな人 (kisaku na hito) connotes someone who’s easy to get along with, makes you feel comfortable, doesn’t make anyone feel nervous – a likeable person.
By using the complete phrase, you can express how you think someone, in particular, is a likeable person in casual Japanese.
The most commonly used word for “like” in Japanese is 好き (suki).
You can simply say 好き (suki) to anyone and you’ll convey the message of “I like you” in Japanese.
There are multiple ways to emphasise that you like someone specifically as a friend or more than that.
One of the ways to express you like someone in the form of a confession is to say 好きだ (sukida).
A few of the ways to say that you like someone in general in Japanese are:
- to call them a likeable person 気さくな人 (kisaku na hito)
- to state explicitly that you only like them as a friend: 友達として好きだよ (tomodachi toshite suki da yo).
It is also possible to use 好き (suki) in conjunction with other words to specify what it is that you like about someone. Perhaps you like their personality, for instance, you can say: [name]の人柄が好きだよ ([name] no hitogara ga suki da yo).
This guide is part of a collection of Ultimate How-To Japanese guides.
How to say Happy in Japanese [Ultimate Guide]
How to say Good Job in Japanese [Ultimate Guide]
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