Daisuki is supposed to mean like/love

Aishiteru is used for husband/wife

However, I've encountered several cases in many anime where best friends (girls) say aishiteru to each other. They are straight, just date boys and eventually marry one. Why say aishiteru to their best friend?

3 Answers 3


The types of "like"/"love" I know in japanese are the following:

好き [suki] - To like (Just like in english).

大好き [daisuki] - To like a lot.

愛 [ai]: sacrificial, unconditional, love for the other person's sake (often parallels the Greek agape, but can extend into philos as sawa mentions)

恋 [koi]: selfish, conditional, love for one's own sake (often parallels the Greek eros).

For the last two I used this answer as source: Love in the air: 愛x恋 {あい vs こい} you shoudl check it out for a deeper insight on the matter.

Edit: For the case you mentioned, in my opnion it would mean that they love each other as friends in a true and ever lasting way, they way I see 愛してる (aishiteru) would be something you'd say to your wife after years together, so you know that's "true" love, that's how I feel. But if you feel you can say it to a friend, that's personal I guess.

  • Can you tell me your opinion about my last paragraph? Mar 13, 2017 at 16:27
  • Just did it, hope it helps Mar 13, 2017 at 16:30
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    In your link user 458 (who received many upvotes) explains it very well. Ai can refer to any kind of love as long as it's strong (including faith and family). That solves my doubts. Thanks. Mar 13, 2017 at 16:49
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    I wonder how japanese men say something like "I love you man" for a friend, in a way that doesn't sound corny or that could be misinterpreted Mar 15, 2017 at 20:00

Short Answer: It's probably a joke. Or, it's "fan service".

Long Answer: It's very tough to answer without actually seeing the scenes, but from what I understand, it would be natural for a female character in an anime to say 愛してる to her female friend only when she's joking or when they're actually in a romantic (yuri) relationship.

In general, you can use 愛している on anything if you truly love it. For example, ハンバーガーを愛している, アニメを愛している and so on are fine. But it's a very strong expression and it may sound even funny, perhaps almost like "I have fallen in love with hamburgers." As you know, ハンバーガーは大好き is the safer way to say "I love hamburgers."

An upbeat and carefree female character in anime might well casually say something like 「おおお、ありがとう○○ちゃん、愛してるよ~!」 to her female classmate. And that sounds like an innocent joke. To me, 愛している is not something a fictional girl would seriously say to her friend.

Some core anime fans enjoy imaginary romantic relationships between two characters (aka カップリング/shipping). So creators may intentionally insert such suggestive words to please some fans. I found a typical example here, where two close female friends suddenly said 愛してる to each other and it surprised the audience.

  • @DariusJahandarie ありがとうございます!
    – naruto
    Mar 13, 2017 at 20:16
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    @PaulinaJackson Could you tell us who are they, exactly? To me it looks like a typical case of the not-officially-yuri-but-anyone-can-feel-it type of relationship.
    – naruto
    Mar 14, 2017 at 4:02
  • I confused the facts in the detailed example I wrote as a comment in your answer so I deleted it (the facts in my question are correct, I'm talking about the particular case I gave you before and to which you just answered in your comment). Anyways, It isn't within the scope of cases shown in my question so forget about that one. And Thank you! I already got all the info I needed. Mar 14, 2017 at 20:44

First of all I will tell you (like other people already said) that aishiteru can be used for pretty much everything, unlike other forms of love.

愛 (ai): If you really love something you can use this term. You can use it on things, on activities, food, family, friendship, religion...

On the other hand other terms like 恋 (koi) can only be used towards someone you like because of your sexual orientation (so no family, friendship...)

So can aishiteru be used generally? Yes

Should you use it generally?:

  • Real life: No. People don't use it towards their friends or family because of how deep this love is. Basically A) people may misunderstand them B) They'd be too embarrassed to say it. Don't say that to your japanese friends.

  • Anime: I have seen it a few times myself in anime/japanese novels without any sexual connotations. As I said before the term can be used generally so if the situation is clear (and unlike real life anime can be very clear) there won't be any misunderstandings and it can be used to highlight deep bonds.

For example, I remember watching a scene where 2 female best friends must part (one goes to another country). They are straight, have a boyfriend and yet they use the word ai. It was supposed to be a touching moment, showing how deep their friendship was. There was no possible misunderstanding.

Another example, in the VN Sharin no Kuni Sacchi uses that term towards her friend Mana. They're not blood related and they haven't known each other for that long either. Sacchi just loves Kenichi (in a romantic way), no one else. Saying that to Mana was used to highlight Sacchi's love for Mana (a deep bond), but there was nothing sexual oriented.

So the answer can be yes. Anime can portray emotions as black and white. There are even anime where the whole world is straight. If 2 girls love their boyfriends very much and their sexual orientation is that of the other sex (they are straight) then there is little room for misunderstandings. It would be used either to show how deep their bond is or as a gag if for example they're just classmates.


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