Nihongo no Kokoro Part 119

Tsukiga kirei desune


“Tsukiga kirei desune.”

Literally, this phrase translates into, “The moon is beautiful (tonight).” But what it also means is, “I love you.” The latter apparently came about when Soseki Natsume, one of Japan’s most renown literary figures who lived about a hundred years ago, was teaching English and a student translated “I love you” to “Aishiteru.” Although not incorrect, Natsume told his student that a more subtle expression such as, “The moon is certainly beautiful,” is more suited for Japanese culture.

So what would be a good response to that? The most famous one is, “Shindemoiiwa,” which, if taken literally, basically means, “I can die happy.” According to an anecdote, this came from a literary master who translated the line “I am yours” from a Russian novel in an indirect manner in the past.