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I've looked through various dictionary sites and they translate it to affection/love. So how does it relate to 愛 and 恋? To suki and daisuki? There seem to be a lot of ways to say love...

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慈しみ (or 慈愛) is a kind of unconditional love that is given to weak beings. Typically 慈しみ is given from parents to their children, from a master to their pet, from a young person to an old/sick person, from God to their people, etc.

慈しみ has nothing to do with romance, so, 慈しみ is basically closer to 愛 than 恋. Unlike 愛, 慈しみ is usually not used for someone greater than you. In addition, 慈しみ is much more literary than 愛, and it's typically used in religious contexts or moral classes. I think most adults occasionally use 愛 but do not use 慈しみ at all in daily conversations. For the difference between 愛 and 恋, see the following questions:

  • I saw 慈しみ合う in a book. What does it mean? Usually, 合う means that it's mutual, but it seems 慈愛 cannot be mutual because it implies superiority from one over another. – Bryan Tan Mar 25 '18 at 2:58
  • Without context, all I can say is it's "mutual 慈しみ", it sounds like the two are taking care of each other. – naruto Mar 25 '18 at 3:01
  • Full sentence is 慈しみ合う心が ヒトを家族たらしめるのです. From my understanding its "A family is made of people with hearts who care for each other" – Bryan Tan Mar 25 '18 at 3:03
  • Okay, so it's taking care of one another among human beings. Someone may be stronger than others, but a stronger one always needs 慈しみ, or they may become a tyrant. – naruto Mar 25 '18 at 3:06
  • Thanks, one more thing. 慈愛 is jiai right? If "itsukushimi" were using the 愛 kanji it would be "愛しむ" – Bryan Tan Mar 25 '18 at 3:34

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