How to Say “I Hate You, But I Love You” in Japanese

Learning how to express complicated emotions in different languages can be a fascinating journey. When it comes to conveying contradictory feelings like “I hate you, but I love you” in Japanese, it’s important to understand the nuances and cultural context surrounding these expressions. In this guide, we will explore various formal and informal ways to express this sentiment in Japanese, providing tips, examples, and even regional variations if necessary.

Formal Expressions

In formal situations, it’s essential to choose your words carefully. It’s often best to use more indirect and polite expressions, paying attention to the levels of politeness depending on the person’s status or your relationship with them. Here are a few examples:


Gomen nasai ga, kirai desu ga, aishite imasu.

Translation: “I’m sorry, but I hate you, yet I love you.”


Anata wa watashi ni totte tokubetsu na sonzai de, toki niwa kirai ni narinaru mama mo, douji ni aishite imasu.

Translation: “You are a special presence to me, and even though I sometimes hate you, I also love you at the same time.”

Informal Expressions

Informal language allows for a more direct and casual expression of your emotions. However, it is still crucial to be mindful of the context and your relationship with the person. Here are a couple of informal examples:


Kirai na noni suki da yo.

Translation: “Even though I hate you, I still love you.”


Suki nanoni kirai da nante, watashitte kawatteru yo ne.

Translation: “It’s strange how even though I like you, I also hate you.”

Tips for Expressing Complex Emotions in Japanese

Understand Cultural Context

Emotions and their expressions can vary across cultures, so it’s crucial to understand the Japanese cultural context. In Japan, expressions of extreme emotions, like love or hate, are generally considered private and are not openly expressed in public.

Use Appropriate Politeness Levels

Be aware of the appropriate politeness levels when expressing your emotions in different situations. Japanese culture places great importance on maintaining face and respect, so it’s important to adjust your language accordingly, especially with superiors, elders, or people you are not close to.

Non-Verbal Cues

In Japanese culture, non-verbal cues can often convey the underlying meaning of a spoken statement. Pay attention to facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language when expressing complex emotions.

Regional Variations

Japanese is spoken across different regions of Japan, which can lead to slight variations in expressions. However, when it comes to expressing love and hate, the fundamental emotions remain the same across the country.


Expressing contradictory feelings like “I hate you, but I love you” in Japanese requires a nuanced understanding of the language and culture. Whether you choose to use a formal or informal expression, always be mindful of the context and your relationship with the person you are addressing. Remember that politeness, cultural context, and non-verbal cues play significant roles in conveying your true emotions accurately. Use the examples provided as a starting point, and adapt them to suit your specific situation. Enjoy exploring the rich and complex world of Japanese language and emotions!

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