Is there a term for "love-hate relationship" in Japanese?

Like my gf asked me "日本どう?" and I wanted to reply "I have a love-hate relationship with it".

(NOT ツンデレ!!! lol)


Came across the term「愛憎関係」, could this phrase be used in this scenario?

GF: 日本どう?

Me: 愛憎関係だね

(Would that sound wrong?)

3 Answers 3


愛憎関係 is not a common 四文字熟語; apparently only some English-Japanese dictionaries use this term as a literal translation of love-hate relationship. 愛憎 itself is a literary but common word. Seeing real-word examples of 愛憎, it often vaguely refers to complex human feelings regarding human relationships in general.

In stiff written documents you can say 愛憎相半ばする関係, 愛憎こもごもな関係 or 愛憎入り交じる関係.

In casual conversations, you can pick up one of these similar expressions, or you may have to describe it, for example, "好きでもあるし、嫌いでもある."

  • I don't know if ambivalent is the term I would use to describe a love-hate relationship...
    – Y12K
    Apr 11, 2017 at 8:02
  • Then could you describe it in another way? "I love and hate it at the same time" or "I love it but they hate me" or "I love it but don't clearly show my love (=ツンデレ)"? I'm not sure what 愛憎関係 exactly means in Japanese since it's not listed in monolingual dictionaries nor used in novels.
    – naruto
    Apr 11, 2017 at 8:25
  • "ambivalent" has an very indifferent (ambiguous) connotation, If I had said the opposite like "I neither love it, or hate it (don't care)" or "I could be here but don't care either way" then I would have used a term like ambivalent. A love-hate relationship is definitely a more intense feeling of both. I think if someone said "I'm ambivalent about it" I would think he/she didn't care about it.
    – Y12K
    Apr 11, 2017 at 8:34
  • see englishforums.com/English/Ambivalent/wdqqm/post.htm I think most English speakers would hear it in this way.
    – Y12K
    Apr 11, 2017 at 8:38
  • Okay then the problem is the English usage of ambivalent, which has little to do with the main issue. In Japanese アンビバレント never means "whichever is fine", by the way.
    – naruto
    Apr 11, 2017 at 10:08

No, I think that would not sound wrong. In fact I think 愛憎関係{あいぞうかんけい} is just what you are looking for.

If you look here for example you can see there are a few examples that should fit perfectly in your situation. Like this:


According to the same link, it seems that you could as well say 愛{あい}と葛藤{かっとう}:


  • I wonder who down-voted this and why...A comment would be appreciated.
    – Tommy
    Apr 11, 2017 at 0:10
  • 1
    I think it was probably down-voted because the question was about whether the term 愛憎関係 is applicable to situations where the person is referring to something besides an actual love-hate relationship between two people. The two examples you gave are about actual love-hate relationships, not about a metaphorical love-hate relationship.
    – TFlo83
    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:24
  • Well, he asked weather 愛憎関係 could be used in that situation and I answered that it could.. and I don't believe this is wrong. Thanks for pointing it out, there is a point there but doesn't seem to me enough for a down-vote. Anyway, is not that I care about the points I was just curious, so thanks again.
    – Tommy
    Apr 11, 2017 at 1:31
  • 1
    I wouldn't understand the word 愛憎関係 as "love-hate relationship" but "love-relationship and hate-relationship". It's not a singular relationship love and hate intermixed but a collection of affairs of loving and hating. Apr 11, 2017 at 15:54
  • I see, thanks for the explanation, although the difference seem to be very subtle. A "singular relationship of love and hate" can very well be seen itself as a "collection of affairs involving love and hate" (since in such relationship there is stuff you love, and stuff you hate).. You know what I mean? Anyway, thanks for the comment, it's a good point.
    – Tommy
    Apr 11, 2017 at 23:33

Probably 愛憎関係 is a good way to express love and hate, but if you'd like to sound more casual about it, you could try saying 好きか嫌いかあまりわからない (I don't really know whether I like it or hate it) or something to that effect.

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