Why Japanese men can't say, "I love you"

Good morning everyone,

Whew! Isn't it supposed to get cooler after obon? It's getting hotter! They're calling for a high of 37C today and highs between 34C and 35C all week. Try to keep cool! I will...

Earlier this year a Japanese dating site conducted an online survey asking 165 bachelors in their teens and twenties to provide reasons why they don’t say ai shiteru to their girlfriends. Based on the results, they were able to compile a list of nine common reasons that prevent men from saying ai shiteru. If you’re dating a Japanese man and have yet to hear the fabled words, you may find yourself in one of the situations below! With the exception of #4, these are the exact same excuses/reasons that men from any country would use. 

1) “I don’t want to use it lightly”

Men who provided this reason mentioned that they only want to use this saying in very specific, formal cases. It packs a lot of weight and formality and is not something to be said carelessly. Therefore, men are waiting for the right time and place so that it will have that much more meaning to it. Rriigghhtt...<--this means I don't believe them...ha ha!

2) “I’m too shy to say it”

Japanese men tend to be on the shy side compared to men in other countries. That means that they may have a harder time directly expressing their feelings, especially when it comes to declarations of love. As one man on the survey wrote: “It’s just, well, I’m too shy to say it!” Fair enough. It's tough to throw yourself out there, especially when you don't know what her reaction is going to be...

3) “It’s too soon”

Even if everything is going smoothly, men may hesitate to say such a loaded statement if it’s only been a few weeks since you started dating. A few weeks?! Do women really expect men to say, "I love you" after a few weeks?! If I had a girlfriend who told me she loved me after only a few weeks, I'd run away as fast as I could! Ha ha!


4) “Suki da feels more natural”

Suki da suits Japanese men better for expressing their feelings. Of all the excuses on this list, this is the only one I find believable. If men didn't grow up hearing their parents say, "I love you", it's harder for them to do so.

5) “Cool guys don’t fall in love”

Certain types of men, such as the three Bs (band members, bartenders, and hair stylists [biyoushi]), may not want to shed their cool guy image by falling hopelessly in love and proclaiming their feelings to the world. This would make perfect sense if the guys who took this survey were 13...

6) “What is love?”

Some men who took the survey, especially the younger ones, felt too inexperienced to know whether what they felt was really love or not. Again, I'll give them some slack on this one...but if you're not sure, it's probably not love at the moment. However, love may take time and if you don't let the woman know how you feel, she may not stick around till you're sure...

7) “I don’t want to flatter her too much”

Again, this excuse is perfect for a teenager! What does it even mean? When we were in highschool, we didn't want to be the one to say it first, but c'mon, let's be adults about it...

8) “It would be a lie”

This reason may seem a bit harsh, but there’s no point in lying if the man honestly doesn’t harbor feelings of love. If this is the case for you, you might want to talk about the future direction of your relationship…if you think it may grow into love, it's worth waiting around, but if not...

9) “There’s no reason for me to say it out loud”

Last but not least, many men on the survey responded by saying that they feel no pressure to say ai shiteru because they believe their girl already knows it in her heart! But still, it might be nice to verbalize those feelings every once in a while…

▼”Really, do I have to spell it out for you?”


These excuses are not unique to Japanese men at all-they're the same excuses you can find in any woman's magazine back home as well. Let's face it-saying, "I love you" is hard for men-regardless of which culture you're from.

Have a great day!

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