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大好き (daisuki): Simply 大 (dai, meaning "big, great") added to 好き (suki), which is normally either an adjective ("liked, favorite") or a noun ("fondness, favor") but is also idiomatically used in a verb-like capacity to mean "(I) like (you)"; in the case of adjectival use, it would be followed by an appropiate particle to denote its grammatical position (most commonly な na). Typically, 大好き would be translated into English as "love".

But how is one supposed to translate a phrase where 大好き is used as a modifier to a noun that comes after said modifier (i.e. the order is "modifier-noun"), with no particles whatsoever? Or more specifically, a person's name?

For the specific example that brought me to consider this issue, I've recently encountered a Japanese comic with the title 大好きモーさん Daisuki Mō-san; with the premise being about how the eponymous "Mō-san" is in love with someone but does not have the courage to confess on the one hand, and a typical lack of any indication whether said someone reciprocates Mō-san's feelings on the other hand, it seemed to me that the title should be translated as "Mō-san in Love" or something to that effect. However, a few other people that I know argued that the title's structure is grammatically ambiguous enough that "Beloved Mō-san" is an equally valid translation. It is out of my confusion at the logic behind this alternate choice of translation that I come here to seek clarity about the issue.

2 Answers 2

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I would translate the title as

大好きモーさん
Mo-san who we love

Or in a bit more colloquial English,

The Mo-san we all love

If I wanted to say something about Mo-san loving someone else, let's say Ms. Tanaka, then I'd write

田中さんが大好きモーさん
Mo-san who loves Ms Tanaka

Afterthoughts

After some back and forth with @Sjiveru , I'm very torn about something here. Japanese grammar essentially wants to put a な between 大好き and モーさん. Obviously, there's something that works for a title of manga in 大好きモーさん. I wondered, and now Sjiveru makes me question even more, whether 田中が大好きモーさん parses well in Japanese at all. Grammar wants the な in there, so it may not even work as a title either.

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  • So "The Loving Mo-san" wouldn't work?
    – MarqFJA87
    Aug 13, 2017 at 22:49
  • no. to get that idea across you'd say something more like やさしいモーさん
    – A.Ellett
    Aug 13, 2017 at 22:52
  • But やさしい means "gentle", not "loving" (in the sense of romantic love, at least).
    – MarqFJA87
    Aug 13, 2017 at 22:54
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    You need な to make these grammatical as phrases. 大好きモーさん.
    – Sjiveru
    Aug 14, 2017 at 0:27
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    「大好きモーさん」だけ聞くと、「モーさん、大好き!」「大好きよ、モーさん!」(I love you, Mo san!)って意味かなーと思いますけど。。「チョコレート大好きモーさん」だったら「チョコレートが大好きなモーさん」(Mo san who loves chocolate)って意味かなーと思います。。
    – Chocolate
    Aug 14, 2017 at 3:54
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Also to me sounds like "The beloved Mō-san", or "Mō-san who we/I love".

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