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How come Japanese couples don't say "I love you" to each other as often as their Western counterparts?

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Easier to say it and not mean it, than to mean it and not say it. I give it away like free kittens and it's like abaracadabara pudy in my hands.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ok. first of all. Hi, Japanese i am. how about a lesson from the sorce ey?

How come Japanese couples don't say "I love you" to each other as often as their Western counterparts?: good question. here, (Generally) relationships are not supposed to be treated like an experimental thing. they are serious. Marriage is even more serious than that, so, emotions are treated more delicately. un. and, our societal views on things are supposed to be (and generally are) homogenous, so doing things to stick out (dressing differently, acting differently showing different emotions openly is frowned upon) - here in Japan and over in Korea, saying/doing intimate things in public is very rude.

(Reckless) because they don't love each other,,, marriage in Japan is a burden and a duty. : No. no, and no. Marriage is not considered a burden, even for those in arranged marriages. our culture is more against remaining single. perhaps not provide your opinion as an answer.

SabrageMAR. Because English is difficult. They may say it in Japanese. : Very funny. and true. but, english is a required language in all schools. the english "I Love You" is used between friends to express a liking equivilant to the american "u rock." If you are older than high school and/or male, please don't say tho. (Su Ki (desu))すき(です)- i like you (is still love but not as intense, like 'love ya'. (Daisuki) 大好き-i love you

a

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Everyone just needs to remember that japanese girls are the same as american girls

No

except that most japanese guys are inconsiderate and shy towards women

No

Well that was an interesting tangent i went on... Helps to hush stereotypes though.

By stating some?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My girlfriend and i always say i love you and 愛してる to eachother once or twice sometimes even thrice a day. She is from fukuoka and came to canada just 1 and a half years ago. I am caucasian north american and i was under the impression that you dont say i love you much to your japanese partner, until less than 2 months in the relationship she said i love you and said she was waiting for ME to say it, and i told her i thought japanese people didnt say that much... Since then we tell eachother all the time we love eachother.

Everyone just needs to remember that japanese girls are the same as american girls, except that most japanese guys are inconsiderate and shy towards women (or that is what she told me they are like, i think she over exaggerates it) So just be a gentleman and treat them right and they will love you just the same as an american girl could.

Well that was an interesting tangent i went on... Helps to hush stereotypes though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

2 words:

Non-verbal communication. It's a cultural thing.

I also agree with Knox's comment above - Just look at "love" scenes on Japanese TV - it's excruciatingly awkward. Look on the streets - a lot of men are girlier then their female counterparts! Where's the 'macho', guys?! This has led to guys becoming too 'beta', thus they're not the ones to take charge in a relationship.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes Knoxx Harrington! it does feel good and not only that you get the feeling of being wanted, so you feel secured, safe and above all loved...our anniversary is this June, 35 years of marriage..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JoiceRojo - thanks for the answer.

I guess my meaning with the alternatives to just the standard "I love you" line, was that words can and do play an important part for many people when showing their love and affection.

Some on here have implied that it is false, or insincere or not necessary. I said all relationships are different and those that choose to use words often to express feelings of love may actually have - Shock, Horror - feelings of love.

And thanks for the info on your cultural background. Always interesting to hear such.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A large part of it has to be language. To say Japanese or Westerners love their partners any more, or less, is silly. People are people and love is love.

From what I know, there just isn't an equivalent word in Japanese for how Westerners use the word "love". Americans in particular like single syllable words they can load up with huge amounts of meaning, variable on inflection, that can also be casually delivered. This doesn't mean the sentiment is casual; it's just shorthand for a whole bunch of stuff.

It seems to me that suki, daisuki, or aishteiru aren't the same ready expressions as the Western "love", not because they aren't equally loaded, or don't mean love, but because casual delivery isn't comfortably accomplished. Of course, we can argue forever over whether or not, Japanese culture even allows for this kind of glib communication. For example, If it needed an expression, there would be one.

One of the primary reasons Westerners say "love you" so much is to quickly touch base; it's a ping. It's also an incremental acknowledgment and reinforcement, and that's not nothing. Even if it's second nature. But if that's not part of one's cultural imperatives, then so what?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hear westerners (or I should say people from English speaking countries) say I love you when they hung up the phone but it doesn't sound any more than "talk to you later".. it's something they say all the time but for many people it's a habit. There ARE people who say it a lot and they mean it each and every time, but I haven't seen many of those people in real life.

And what's wrong with that? Aren't you describing LOVE as a habit? Isn't it wonderful to be loved in a way by someone that it is a foundation of your life? Habitual? Trust me: I'll take it! Love as natural as "see you later" Wow. How amazing. That's a habit to be treasured. Who wants love that only comes out for show on special occasions? Give me every day every time.

Just because you haven't seen it (or perhaps made an assumption and faulty judgement based on what you have seen) doesn't mean you're right.

Just ask the person whose last words ever from a beloved one were "I love you."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

browny, sorry, i have failed to see your point about my commentary, maybe i didn't express myself right.

as for your questions:

Does frequency of use diminish the impact of an apologetic utterance?

I don't know in Japan, but in Latin America it does, it is enough to say "I'm sorry" once or twice, because what turns to be important is the reason why or the assurance it will never happen again. The other day I was watching a rehearsal between Ishihara Satomi and Satoh Takeru for "Romeo and Juliet" the director put a situation where "the boyfriend" cheated on "The girlfriend" and he had to apologize and convinced her to get back together, all that Satoh did was repeating over and over again "I´m sorry" and finally he convinced her but I was left that the feeling that it wasn't enough...

Does frequency of use diminish the impact of greetings?

Maybe not, but we Latin people are very expressive, we do say "buenos días" (good morning) out of politeness but our faces reveal anyway if they are good, bad or indifferent anyway, but nevertheless it is said because it's common courtesy or good manners.

As for "I care for you" - Now that's real Nerdsville! Really, since I'm a proud nerd I don't fell that offended you know

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My ex wife and I often said it to each other. Irony is she was often having affairs and it was likely a cover. But she did often say it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But seriously... I think this "Oh we are Japanese so we don't say "I love you"' mentality is a conceit invented by Japanese guys.

I think many Japanese women would like to be more affectionate and say "I love you" quite often, but we have this male-dominated society with guys having to portray this fake machismo so for hundreds of years saying "I love you" has been stamped on and derided and women have meekly gone along with that.

I want to say to Japanese women... If you want to say "I love you"' just say it! Forget all this cr@pola about "I am Japanese so I don't say "I love you"'... You can say any darned thing you want...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JoiceRo-

How about - "I really like you" , "I like you heaps" , "I'm crazy about you", etc etc So many expressions without saying the Love word.

And There is also a multitude of ways to say "I love you" - " I really love you", "I love you so much", "I love you to pieces", "I wuv you", "Love you darling", etc etc etc

Words have meaning if said with heart & intent.

Tons of ways to say sorry in Japanese, but I wouldn't want to suggest that they are meaningless shallow expressions or throw-away lines with out feeling ( unless uttered by politicians, tepco execs, company worms and other slimy types.)

Does frequency of use diminish the impact of an apologetic utterance?

Does frequency of use diminish the impact of greetings? Should I stop saying "Good Morning" when I couldn't care if it's good, bad or indifferent!!!

As for "I care for you" - Now that's real Nerdsville!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Action speaks louder than words? At least the Japanese seem to practice more fidelity than western counterparts.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I used to brush off the expression "ki o tsukete" until I heard my wife say it. It sounded like she really meant it when she said it. I asked her once, and she said "of course I mean it sincerely every time I say it."

That's sweet.

When my wife says "ki o tsukete" it sounds like she hopes I fall flat on my face...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just the fact that most people use daisuki instead of aishiteru is telling of how low status feelings of love has in Japan. It's pretty sad, really...

That's not so!!!! It's the difference because In the U.S. they use "i love you " either for a family member, a friend or a lover, so it is more common because there is no different word, some use "I like you" which is interpreted as "daisuki" but of course "I like you" doesn't have enough weight.

In Spanish there is a difference, "I love you" means "Yo te amo" whereas "I Like you" means "Me gustas" but we also use "te quiero" which is closer to "daisuki" and it is blurry in English because the closest one is "I care for you", and "the quiero" is used either for a family member, a friend or a lover in the early stages, "Te amo" has the same "force" as "Ai shiteru" and it is only used when they really mean it and barring some shallow people, the people really IN LOVE would use it very little, because the word has real meaning to them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let me tell you all a little story about words, it's not about love, it's about words... I am a dude, but I, as I am sure most of you guys here, feel extremely good when I get positive words thrown at me (thanks Patric). If someone would argue that words are unimportant, I call BS, because that's what I see. To hear 'I love you' from a loved one feels fecking good, let me tell you. We could all benefit from some of this stuff on a daily basis. Say it. Don't be shy.

But more than that, show some goddamn affection. Towards coworkers, towards your kids, towards yourself. We are not here to gaman we are here to have the best time we can. Saying I love you to some one ine too many times ain't gonna hurt. I have been here for a while but I constantly see people whose comments are level headed and inspiring. Thanks. I love you for it.

Marilita,

Feels good, doesn't it?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In Japan if its not a money maker its meaningless to say "I LOVE YOU" the only time those words are probably spoken by couples are Christmas Day or "LOVERS DAY, Valentines and White Day!!! Other than any other day its meaningless because this is the only time they can truly show their feelings instead of just saying them. Action speaks louder than words. In other words its just about the Yen and the Sack!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I can't believe there are so many cynical people here, throwing around statements that Japanese people are basically unemotional robots. From my experience that's BS. I've had 2 long term relationships with Japanese women and in both cases my partners have been very expressive about their feelings - positive and negative. My relationships ended because of external issues, nothing to do with the expression of love. It's why I'm still friends with them.

Just because we like to express our feelings openly and in some cases expecting a similar response to convince ourselves we're not in a one-sided relationship... doesn't mean everyone else does. Coupled with that, you have some westerners who only say what the ladies want to hear in order to get what they want - using their charm and confidence to lure ladies to love hotels so they can add another conquest to their belts.

I just think some people have been spurned and are venting their spleens.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Shouldn't the question be "why do Westerners need to hear 'I love you' all the time?" Is it that they are so insecure or mistrustful that their partner might suddenly stop loving them? Sounds a bit immature, regardless of cultural differences.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

They don't say it because the women don't really love the men (men are supposed to be out there working hard doing and making money for her, no need to lie to them about loving them to keep them going), and the men don't say it to the women because they've figured out that women really don't care about them, and saying it to them would be pretty stupid.

Incidentally, scientific studies show that women are more likely than men to lie about their feelings with "I love you" if they ever say it, and if a man says it to her, she loses respect for the said man. Once a woman has captured a man's heart, she has completed her conjugal goal and further interactions seem pointless to her, so she loses interest. I need to dig out the references, but they are out there.

Besides, the Japanese are non-primitive, highly civilized, highly rational and highly pragmatic. They are beyond most primitive outbursts of emotion.... except when drunk ;)

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Looks like I struck a nerve with many of the "users" of Japanese women . Sadly this is too often true in Japan, but I don't like it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My husband says i love you often than I do and he's a true blooded Japanese from Tohoku!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Knox is spot on. Only a few have the gift to see reality as such. Knox, find me, add me. I don't care if you're a dude :)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I guess my (ex) Japanese husband believed in the expression "When in Rome, do as Rome does" because we met in France and he often said "Je t'aime"... Married here in Japan, the words suddenly seemed to have completely "disappeared"...

My Franco-Danish parents certainly knew how to make us feel wanted and loved - even when they punished us for being naughty !

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's no love.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I seee the cynics are out in force today.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Because it is understood.

Thats also why private property here doesnt have "keep out" signs... Lol

And if it does... It has tiny Japanese words, but HUGE English words ;)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Many good insights here.

As we are all here to comment, I do believe words are very important. Amirite?

I fully believe humans want to interact and talk to each other and not just sensing feelings of affection everywhere. I know some of you here have bought into the Japanese magic of feeling things without uttering words but I think that's BS. Everybody gets happy from spoken words of affection as well as unspoken actions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

'they don't believe in that sort of public superficiality and artificiality'

Since when are we talking about 'in public'? I don't like people crawling all over each other in public either but that's not the point. Bizarre reasoning from some posters here. Actions speak louder than words....ok, but can't we have both? I haven't met too many people, Japanese or not, telling me they are sick of their partner saying 'I love you' too much. My wife bought me some English beer and a pack of wasabi senbei from Seiyu for Valentine's Day and told me that she loved and appreciated me. I loved the sincere gesture and the sincere words. Is it just 'westerners' who appreciate those words?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Just wrote a long comment but it disappeared into the ether - so to be succinct.

Re - actions speak louder than words - how does Actions & Words vs Actions play?

All relationships are different.

Because some partners choose to regularly use affectionate words and expressions does not mean they do so lightly.

If you choose not to show affection by words, then by all means continue to do so. I for one would never begin to judge a relationship on whether one expresses love or not. And those that do, perhaps are band-aiding something within their own.

And anecdotally - many of my wife's female friends and work associates appear to be envious of the open shows and expressions of affection in our relationshiip. It's just natural for us and i believe brings us closer. They decry the lack of love and affection shown by their husbands altho their husbands may actually love them.

Kibousha - Your story re a husband helping his injured wife should be not viewed solely as an expression of love, but also just common decency, manners and courtesy. Heaven forbid if all our simple daily actions have to be ranked on a love scale.

And culture aside - humans I believe are engineered fo rboth physical warmth, touch and intimacy as well as spoken through eons of language development.

But each to their own. I'll stick with my shows of love - spoken & unspoken, acted & unacted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How does the person that came up with this question know for a fact that Japanese couples don't say I love you compared to other western countries? Was a survey conducted? Street interviews? Or was it simply just a rehash of Japanese stereotypes?

At any rate, why SOME Japanese couples don't freely say I love you's unlike couples in other countries is simple. It's because they don't believe in that sort of public superficiality and artificiality. What counts more than words, is actions.

Like the recent article on the Japanese man that took up diving to search for his missing wife after the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami of 2011. He didn't say in the interviews that he loved his wife or any of the sort. He did however say that he misses her, and the fact that three years later, he took up diving in order to search for her remains, knowing very well that he may never find them, speaks volumes.

Actions speak louder than words my friends.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

For many Westerners, "I Iove you" simply means, "I lust for you." Take it as you may.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

So, if you say "I love you" often you don't mean it but if you never or rarely say it you mean it more? How about, you mean it if you mean it no matter if you say it every day or once every ten years? I'm talking about saying it to a spouse or partner, not tossing it out randomly at someone you barely know. As Jimizo said, it's nice to hear. As others have said, actions speak louder than words. Both are true and are not mutually exclusive. If it's lost meaning for you and your loved one then there may be something else going on there but it's not up to you to presume the significance of the words to others in their relationships.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I believe it is fortunate when a person (male or female) expresses their love in both actions and words. My mom taught me to always hug your children and loved ones (which she learned from someone else) and tell them that you love them as well. It is better if you have sincerity in your heart when you say it as well because that meaning will come out even in words.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm not so sure about the cultural difference idea here. Almost all English women I've met compare English men unfavourably with men from cultures who are more comfortable expressing their emotions and saying how they feel. My wife's Japanese friends, most of them in their thirties, say something similar. Some said they can't remember as much as a compliment from their partners. To balance things up, I found Spanish women more affectionate and open and less inclined towards the 'too cool' attitude of women from more emotionally frigid cultures such as my own. I remember Spanish men telling me they found women from the UK as cold as the UK climate. I agree that actions can speak louder than words, but I'd argue many or even most would like their partners to be able to express their feelings naturally through words. It's nice to hear it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Just because they say I love you often, that doesn't mean their marriages are better - more than often I hear westerners (or I should say people from English speaking countries) say I love you when they hung up the phone but it doesn't sound any more than "talk to you later".. it's something they say all the time but for many people it's a habit. There ARE people who say it a lot and they mean it each and every time, but I haven't seen many of those people in real life.

And for Japanese people who do not say I love you, that doesn't mean they don't love each other - in many western countries, people say you don't understand if you don't say it, but in Japan, you understand even if you don't say it -- see the different attitudes towards understanding each other?

take one example from Bicultural's post - the word "ki o tsukete" doesn't literally mean I love you, but when it is said with love and care, it actually means love. if it's said like "take it easy", like English speakers say casually when saying good-bye and it actually means see you later.. then it's a whole different story.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that it is not the actual term they use but what they mean is the important part.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Words are nothing. Actions are everything. If you need to tell someone you love them for them to understand that, then your words are empty as you aren't backing them up with actions

In a society where actions are backed up by words (or vice versa), they are both mutually important.

In western countries...

Come on. It can't possibly be 'western countries' vs. Japan. Are all 'western' countries the same?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Maybe actions speak louder than words.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Words are nothing. Actions are everything. If you need to tell someone you love them for them to understand that, then your words are empty as you aren't backing them up with actions. In western countries, we've used the words so much the words have lost all meaning. I've heard people tell new friends how much they love them a few days after first meeting. If you can love someone a few days after meeting them, then how do you differentiate your spouse from someone you just met?The Japanese do not say I love you enough. But westerners overuse the term. I myself say it to my wife once or twice a year on special occasions, but I try to show her every day.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

kibousha: Say "I love you" too often, the phrase loses its weight, saying it become an everyday occurrences, nothing special about it.

My husband tells me he loves me all the time and the words have yet to lose their importance to me. Certain things like "have a nice day", "that's a lovely ....", "thank you" and "I love you" when said with sincerity don't have to lose their meaning over time. If you think they do then perhaps you're either saying them without sincerity or having them said to you without sincerity.

Analogous, if everyone has super power, then no one is special.

Not exactly. We're talking about words with actual meanings, not comic books. But having said that, if everyone had a different super power, a' la Heroes, than we'd all certainly still be special according to your definition.

When asked why, he said "didn't you hurt your hands ? I thought I'd do the housework until you're healed". Actions and considerations.

Nice story but why did he have to wait until she hurt her hand to help her out a bit?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

What's pretty sad is how people like knox fail to understand how love is portrayed in other ways. Just one example : I used to brush off the expression "ki o tsukete" until I heard my wife say it. It sounded like she really meant it when she said it. I asked her once, and she said "of course I mean it sincerely every time I say it." She may not say "I love you," but she shows it in her words and actions every day. It also helps that when I say "I love you" she says "me too."

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Knox: Ever consider the cultural weight of the word "daisuki" or are you just projecting the concept what you know as "love" onto a culture expecting it to fit nicely into your frame of understanding? Plus, saying it oten makes it meaningless.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

My English partner often complained that English men are emotionally stunted. I'm glad we lived in Japan to show we her we are certainly not alone. Hats off to Japanese men.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan is a pretty unromantic place, I'd say. That's probably why. Everything is so practical and pragmatic, very few people ever seem to act according to their feeling or beliefs without first considering the consequences. The words 'I love you' when said on certain occasions are not only words, as some of you here seem to think. They are just the wordly version of strong emotions. Sadly, I feel Japan has very little of those emotions. Love here seems to equal a deeto (at some mall or at Disneyland), perhaps dinner and then on to the rabuho to do the sex. After marriage is taken care of, it's into productive mode, making kids, work and buy more stuff. Happiness.

Just the fact that most people use daisuki instead of aishiteru is telling of how low status feelings of love has in Japan. It's pretty sad, really...

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Better show that you love the person than just saying it. And when you say it better make sure you really mean it. Saying it just becuase, is close to telling a lie.

As for why Japanese don't say it so often, most are not as warm as other cultures when showing affection.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

People don't really say "I love you" a lot. Rather they say hon, honey, darling, sweetie, sweetheart, babe, mi amor, corazon, etc.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well, the topic in itself is just another generalization - what can you expect as answers from such a topic? There are exceptions on both sides.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

To the Westerners "I love you" has lost its real meaning, to the Japanese it does not mean anything...so what difference does it make anyway!

I know many exceptions to both of those.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

My Italian grandmother never spared showing her love. I feel sorry for Japanese kids with cold, frigid parents, and there are kids like that in the US too. You should note that in a highly emotional and family oriented society like Mexico there is much less mental illness and suicide as in frigid, keep silent, Japan and South Korea.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Love, or the outward appearance of it, is something for wedding days and TV shows - rabu rabu. It doesn't really exist in Japan. Just marriage and children. And the children go on to feel nothing, just the same.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Whats the point of saying I love you if its not real or sincere?

9 ( +13 / -4 )

To the Westerners "I love you" has lost its real meaning, to the Japanese it does not mean anything...so what difference does it make anyway!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

To Westerners even say "I love you" that much? I don't think I've heard any of my friends say it, at least not in public.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It is cultural. Nothing says "I love you" more than actions. Japanese or most Asians were raised with the "show don't talk" mentality, many don't like to say empty words. Say "I love you" too often, the phrase loses its weight, saying it become an everyday occurrences, nothing special about it. Analogous, if everyone has super power, then no one is special.

Actions on the other hand speak louder. A female Japanese friend said that her husband suddenly came home from work early and help out around the house. When asked why, he said "didn't you hurt your hands ? I thought I'd do the housework until you're healed". Actions and considerations.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

because they don't love each other,,, marriage in Japan is a burden and a duty.

Pretty much spot on there.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Because English is difficult. They may say it in Japanese.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

because they don't love each other,,, marriage in Japan is a burden and a duty.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

Cultural differences.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

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