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How to Say “I Love You” in Japanese: An Umbrella!

Thalia Harris

Thalia Harris

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A man and a woman sharing an umbrella on a rainy day, showing that they know how to say I love you in Japanese.

“I love you” can be said in many different ways in Japanese. “Aishitemasu” (愛しています) is what most people say. “Aiaigasa,” on the other hand, is when you share an umbrella with someone, especially someone important to you. As the weather gets warmer and rainy days get closer, aiaigasa is a great way to show people even more warmth.

History

The Japanese word aiaigasa (相合傘) means to share an umbrella with someone. The word has three kanji characters: “ai” (相), which means “relation,” “ai” (合), which means “to join” or “to fit together,” and “kasa” (傘)), which means “umbrella.”

Aiaigasa, or exchanging umbrellas, dates back to Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868). At this time, umbrellas were mainly a luxury item that only the wealthy could afford. Also, women could not go out publicly with men who were not related to them.

A woman lovingly looking at a man under an umbrella.
Aiaigasa means to share an umbrella with someone. Image via Shutterstock

The only time this was different was when it rained. If a woman was with her male sweetheart when it rained, he might let her use his umbrella to stay dry. People could stay dry together when it rained if they shared an umbrella. This act showed that they cared about each other and were willing to help.

Over time, sharing an umbrella became a sign of romantic love, and aiaigasa became a way for two people to show that they love and care for each other. People thought it was sweet to share an umbrella. A typical romantic scene in books, movies, and art is two people walking close together under an umbrella in the rain.

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How to say “I love you” in Japanese with Modern-Day Aiaigasa

In modern Japan, Aiaigasa is still a popular tradition, especially during the rainy season when the country gets a lot of rain. Sharing an umbrella is a kind and polite gesture, so it’s not unusual for a stranger to offer their umbrella to a stranger in the rain.

Aiaigasa is still a sign of love and closeness between a man and a woman. Many creatives still portray sharing an umbrella as a romantic thing to do between two people in popular media like anime, manga, and movies. When it’s raining, it’s common for couples to walk together under an umbrella and enjoy the closeness of the moment.

Umbrella aiaigasa graffiti etched into a telephone pole.
Aiaigasa is an essential part of Japanese culture. Image via Shutterstock

Aiaigasa is also a popular subject on Japanese goods. In Japan, you can buy many things with Aiaigasa on them, like keychains, phone straps, and even umbrellas with heart-shaped handles. People often buy these things as souvenirs or gifts for their loved ones to show how close they are to them and how much they love them.

Also, many Japanese are proud that they can share an umbrella. It’s a way to show that you care about other people. People respect those who offer to share their umbrella because they care about others. Sharing an umbrella isn’t just a way to stay dry in the rain and show care and concern for others. Therefore, it is a beautiful and meaningful tradition that will be part of Japanese culture for a long time.

Can everyone use Aiaigasa?

Aiaigasa is a sign that anyone can do, regardless of age, gender, or relationship status.
Even people who don’t know each other offer to share their umbrellas with people stuck in the rain without one. Many people appreciate this kind of act, and it helps build a sense of community and goodwill.

Aiaigasa isn’t just used in romantic relationships, either. People often think of couples walking under an umbrella together, but friends, family, and strangers can do so too! It is a simple action for those who don’t know how to say “I love you” in Japanese.

A woman hugs a man under an umbrella, most likely practicing how to say I love you in Japanese.
Sharing an umbrella with someone is a kind gesture! Image via Shutterstock

But because it has romantic roots, aiaigasa is often used to tease and make friends in Japan. Some kids will even write aiaigasa graffiti on their classmates if they think they are in a relationship.

Luckily, aiaigasa graffiti can also mean something good. Friends and couples sometimes write this graffiti on chalkboards, telephone poles, and especially on ema (wooden boards) at shrines! Some people even think it’s like casting a magic spell to strengthen relationships.

Ultimately, aiaigasa is still an essential part of Japanese culture and a highly valued tradition. It stands for love, closeness, kindness, compassion, and group participation.

Have you ever seen aiaigasa or done it with someone? What would you think if someone gave you their umbrella? Tell us in the comments section below.

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