To say “I love you” in Japanese we have:
- The formal way: “Aishite imasu”
- The informal way: “Aishiteru”;
- to tell somebody we are in love with them:
- The formal way would be “Koishite imasu”
- The informal way is “Koishiteru”
Beside this we have other similar ways to say you like somebody, “aishimasu”, “suki”, “daisuki”, but this have different meanings as well, as they can talk about things, pets or activities.
To express our emotions in English, we can say “I love you”, “I like you” or “I’m in love with you”, every native English speaker can understand perfectly these three simple sentences and everything they imply, but with Japanese language things may be a little more complicated and the manners differ a lot.
If we had to translate these three sentences in Japanese, the equivalent would have two different variations: the formal and the informal way. In English language the word “you” is enough to refer and speak with anybody, works perfectly in a conversation with a handyman or the president as well, but being the Japanese people very respectful and with an awareness of hierarchy, they use different words to refer people they are close to them like friends and family members or important/respected people.