It’s time for Word of the Week again! Last week we looked at a Japanese word or phrase beginning with ‘ke’ (け), and focussed on the phrase けっこう (kekkou), which means ‘no thank you’, among other things. This week I’m looking for a word or phrase beginning with ‘ko’ (こ). A big thank you to those who joined in with suggestions this week:
lovelycomplex22 suggested ‘koi’ (恋い / こい), ‘love’; zoomingjapan suggested ‘kossori’ (こっそり), ‘stealthily’, ‘secretly’; and Japan Australia suggested ‘konnichiwa’ (こんにちは), ‘hello’; and ‘koi suru’ (恋する), ‘to be in love with’.
Taking inspiration from two of the suggestions above, this week I have decided to write about…
(koi no yokan)
Let’s start with ‘koi’ (恋 / こい). Many of you will know that the word for ‘love’ in Japanese is ‘ai’ (愛 / あい) and that ‘to love’ is ‘ai suru’ (愛する), but did you know that there is another word for ‘love’ – ‘koi’ (恋). First, take a look at the kanji in these two words:
Both characters contain the kanji for ‘heart’ – 心 (kokoro):
However, the words ‘ai’ and ‘koi’ have different nuances. They say, “Koi is always wanting. Ai is always loving.” (source), but basically ‘koi’ seems to be about passion and sexual attraction, whereas ‘ai’ is about true love. All love starts with ‘koi’, but only some becomes ‘ai’.
Interestingly, when you do a Google image search for these two kanji you get very different results…
I think these pictures speak louder than words when trying to explain the difference between ‘ai’ and ‘koi’!
So, what does 恋の予感 (koi no yokan) mean?
Basically, ‘koi no yokan’ is similar to ‘love at first sight’, except with less soppy sentiment. Rather than a feeling of instant love, ‘koi no yokan’ expresses the feeling upon meeting someone for the first time that love is on the cards; a future prospect for love, if you will. The feeling is based on attraction and some kind of ‘spark’, but without necessarily falling head over heels on the spot. Translated literally, ‘koi no yokan’ means ‘premonition of love’.
Here’s a great video I found that illustrates ‘koi no yokan’ quite nicely:
Have you ever experienced ‘koi no yokan’?
Next week’s post will be about a word or phrase beginning with ‘sa’ (さ), so please leave your suggestions below. The word can be a verb, adjective or expression, but no nouns please! For example, ‘saboru’ (さぼる) meaning ‘to play truant’ would be acceptable, but ‘saru’ (さる), ‘monkey’, would not. I look forward to reading your ideas! (*^_^)v
Great post as usual and very informative. Thanks for taking inspiration from our suggestions. A few for next week are:
Samui (寒い) Cold
Sayonara (さようなら) Goodbye
Sanzan (さんざん) Have a hard time
Great ideas, and thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂
Another great and informative article. I really like this series. ^^
And I’m sure it’s beneficial for people who’re studying Japanese.
I’m so glad you like the series! Thanks for your suggestions for next week! 🙂
Nice post, I especially liked how you use the google image search to get background context for ai vs koi.
My vote for next weeks word is 散々
Thanks! And thanks for the suggestion! 🙂
Great post! I feel like I’ve learned something new 🙂