What Is “I Miss You” In Japanese?

We’ve all felt that longing to see someone whom we care deeply about. Maybe it’s a family member, perhaps a significant other, or a long time friend. Perhaps you want to tell them how you feel? What is “I miss you” in Japanese?

Well as it turns out, there’s not an exact Japanese equivalent to this phrase.

But there are a couple of ways to express the same basic emotion of wanting to see someone again.

I’m going to go over the two most common ways now and then provide you with some other ways that are possible to use, but I personally don’t see them that often.

I Miss You In Japanese

The first way that you can say that you miss someone is to rephrase is slightly and instead say that you want to see them.

When you think about it, that’s kind of what the English phrase means. That you desire to spend time together with them because you haven’t been able to for a while.

Here’s the Japanese phrase now:

  • 会いたい!
  • aitai!
  • I miss you!
  • I want to see you!

This comes from the word 会う (au) which means “to meet” someone, but when its changed into the tai-form like in the above example, it means “want to meet” or as we would say in English “want to see you” and then spend time together.

If you’re talking to that special person you like, then this is the phrase to use.

I’ve also seen this phrase used in a slightly different format before. It was when a girl reunited with her old friend in a manga and she ran over to them while yelling:

  • ずっと会いたかった!
  • zutto aitakatta!
  • I’ve missed you so much!
  • I’ve wanted to see you for so long!

This is basically the same thing, but the emphasis is stronger than the first phrase since it emphasizes the past and an emotion that has been held for an extended duration.

Another Way To Say It

The other common way to say that you miss someone in Japanese is to flip things around and instead of talking about a forward-looking emotion (i.e. wanting to see them) you talk about a backward looking feeling.

In this case, it centers around the word 寂しい (sabishii) which means “lonely.”

A lot of times Japanese people will use this word as a way of saying that they are lonely because they aren’t with the other person.

Again, this is very similar to the English phrase “I miss you” because you usually feel some sadness and lonely feelings when you can’t spend time with the one you care about.

Perhaps a longer phrase that utilized this new word can help illustrate it further.

  • 君がいなくてとても寂しい。
  • kimi ga inakute totemo sabishii.
  • I miss you very much.
  • You’re not here, and I feel very lonely.


Another common reading of the word for lonely is さみしい (samishii). This is nearly identical to the version we’ve been using so far, but instead of a び (bi) we use a み (mi) in its place.

There is also an alternative kanji for this word, but I almost never see it used. It is 淋しい and means the same thing, so just keep that in mind in case you encounter it.

Alright, let’s go onto the next part.

An English-y Way To Say It

If you try to find the phrase “I miss you” in an online Japanese dictionary like Jisho, then you might be presented with it spelled entirely in katakana.

If so, it will be アイ・ミス・ユー (ai misu yuu) which is literally just the English phrase transferred directly into the Japanese language.

What the heck, man!?

Now, I’ve never personally seen this one used so I’m not sure how common it is. Perhaps it’s just used in English class, or as the title to some sort of artistic work like an album or a book.

I’m not sure, but if any of you have every seen it used, please let me know in the comments section below.

I am genuinely curious.

A New Word For Me Too

That last word that I wanted to share with you is one that I am just learning how to use myself as well.

The word itself is 恋しい (koishii) which is an i-adjective which means “yearned for; longed for; missed.”

Honestly, I can’t for the life of me remember ever running into it while reading or listening to Japanese, so I had to do some research on it to see what I could find.

When looking at Japanese websites that teach people English, they used it in the following example:

  • 孤独だよ。君のことが恋しいよ!
  • kodoku da yo. kimi no koto ga koishii yo!
  • I’m lonely. I miss you!


OK, so we can get an idea of how to use it from this phrase. When you’re talking to someone you can use their name or a pronoun plus のこと (nokoto) in combination with 恋しい to say that you miss them and everything about them.

Another way that I like to learn about new words it to see what their Japanese definitions are, since they tend to paint a much more complete picture than the Japanese to English dictionaries do.

If we hop on over to goo and type it in, we get the following definition for 恋しい:

  • 離れている人や場所、また事物などに強く心を引かれるさま。

A rough English translation of this would be something along the lines of:

  • The state of being strongly attracted by people, places, or things that one is separated from.

This is in line with what we’ve gone over so far, but I think that one of the interesting parts is the emphasis on the “being separate” part of it.

Because of that, I think the English words “longing” and “yearning” are more apt than “miss” when it comes to understanding it.

Now I Want To Hear From You

That’s all for today’s lesson on letting people know that you miss them in Japanese.

Hopefully you’ve found the information both useful and easy to understand.

If you’ve got any questions on anything that I went over, let me know by leaving it down below.


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