Love confessions in Japanese: What to say to win them over

By Hilary Keyes

Kokuhaku. So much more than a simple word, this two-kanji phrase has the power to start a new exciting life for you — or, sadly, put a period to your hopes and dreams of getting that special someone’s interest. Kokuhaku (告白) in Japanese literally means a “confession,” but not the one you’d share with a priest. No, the other one you’d rather whisper into someone’s ear, preferably in a romantic setting. If you’ve lived in Japan for some time now or have watched enough movies and anime, you’d know that informing someone of your attraction to them before asking them out is a common thing here, even among adults.

 If you have a crush on someone yourself and can’t wait to break the news to them, here are some useful tips and expressions that will help you tell your Japanese dreamboat how you feel, and hopefully, get them to say the same!

Love takes time… and proper wording

The part of the whole confession-making process that makes most people (in any language) nervous is what words to use to convey your feelings. Let’s start with the basics.

Hitomebore (一目惚れ) means “to fall in love at first sight” and might sound like a proper way to express your feelings toward someone, especially if you’re actually honest about falling in love instantly. (Does this happen in real life?!) However, according to most of my Japanese male friends, it actually seems to have the opposite effect with the guys. I asked as many Japanese guys as I could (I lost count after 20), and the general consensus was that, unless you two had been friends for a while, this word feels cliché. It is not recommendable to use it when you’re first expressing your love to someone, but if you two get in a relationship, by all means, tell them this later. They will be happy to hear it!

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© Savvy Tokyo

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The most important opening line in Japan is お一人ですか?Are you alone?

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I thought the only way to confess your love in Japanese was to stand in the pouring rain and shout at the top of your voice.

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What to say to win them over

Kind of a creepily tone-deaf thing to say in the current climate, don't you think?

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Kind of a creepily tone-deaf thing to say in the current climate, don't you think?

I hope not. If we ever reach an age where romance and winning someone's heart, is not appropriate/allowed, then we've failed as a society.

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Following them home or staring from a distance usually works for me.

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What to say to win them over

"I have a big, fat wad." Usually works.

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the article is interesting but feels like an introduction. so, what are the right phrases and ways to confess?)

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I'd just stand in the middle of the intersection outside Shibuya Station and shout at the top of my voice "I want to marry you" and just point at some random woman.

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You might make it with the local female Koran cop doing that then...,,,

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