Can "みたい" mean "want to see", or does it always mean "looks like"/"seems like"? If not, how would "want to see" be expressed?

Specifically, assuming it has both uses, it would seem ambiguous to me here: なんだか違う映画みたいだなあ

Would that be "I want to see a somewhat different movie", or "That seems like a somewhat different movie"?

1 Answer 1


"That seems like a somewhat different movie" would be


Whereas "I want to see a different movie" would be


So to answer your question directly, yes, "を見たい" means "want to see" -- and you'd use the kanji "見たい", in most general cases. (There's no だ after みたい in this case.)

When you want to say "is like", you'd say "みたい" without a particle in front, and without kanji.

Though "見たい" is the most general kanji for "want to see/look", you can use more specific ones:

"診たい" -- want to examine, as in examine a patient.

"観たい" -- want to watch, as in sightseeing or watching a movie.

"看たい" -- want to look after, as in looking after a patient, from 看病 (かんびょう) -- not too common.

  • 【視る】を忘れないように...
    – istrasci
    Jul 3, 2011 at 22:50
  • 7
    one trick is that typically verb-like grammatical structures in japanese are written in hiragana. Jul 4, 2011 at 0:55
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    Yes, I think that usage dictates that normal verbs are in kanji, while auxiliaries have to be in hiragana. So, "違う映画みたい" and "違う映画を観たい". Same goes for "〜てくる"、"〜ていく", "〜ておく"…
    – Axioplase
    Jul 4, 2011 at 2:27
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    Many Japanese like to write 見たい/観たい/視たい as just みたい when writing short messages because they don't know which kanji is appropriate (though in case of 映画, all three can be used), so this may confuse beginners especially if を is omitted.
    – syockit
    Jul 4, 2011 at 4:03
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    @h4xnoodle みたい as in みたいだ is not a noun. If anything it's a な-adjective.
    – ジョン
    Apr 14, 2012 at 11:41

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