I'm finding several instances of 憧れる translate as "I wish I were like"; for example, in the first episode of 干物妹!うまるちゃん a character says to the main character 私 憧れちゃうよ, which is translated as "I wish I were like you".

On Jisho, 憧れる is given as "to long for; to yearn after; to admire; to be attracted by", while on Weblio as "理想とする物事や人物に強く心が引かれる。思い焦がれる", which seems to me close enough to Jisho's definition.

While I get why admiring and/or longing for someone could mean whishing to be (like) them, that's not a given, someone could admire a person without wishing to be like them, and in that episode while "I wish I were like you" it's not out of place, neither is "I really admire you"; so I was wondering: is "I wish to be like" a normal meaning/implication of 憧れる, or is it more neutral, a sentiment of admiration without necessarily the wish to be like the object of admiration, and that implication is read by the translator in the situation?

1 Answer 1


Xに憧れる sometimes implies "to wish to be like", depending on contexts. I think the particular case is within the spectrum of its meaning, so it is not particularly a translation matter.

At the bottom, Xに憧れる means "the subject thinks X is ideal". Whether or not the subject wants to be/have X depends on context.

For example assume 先輩 is a beautiful girl. If the speaker is a girl, 先輩に憧れる would usually means "I wish I could be like 先輩"; if the subject is a boy, it usually means "I long for 先輩". Both shares the basic "先輩 is an ideal woman".

Also, it could be the case that the speaker does not long for X thinking it is ideal. Continuing the above, a boy could say "先輩に憧れる" just meaning "I admire 先輩", that is, without any implication that he loves her.

Another example pair.

  • ヨーロッパで暮らすことに憧れる I long for living in Europe
  • ヨーロッパで暮らすことに憧れるけど、日本のほうが楽だ I think living in Europe would be nice, but being in Japan is easier.

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