where the writers are
Subject and Object
a corner in San Dimas

I forgot to mention in my last blog that most of the times, we don’t use subjects or objects.  For example,

 

I love you.

 愛しています。In a neutral and a bit formal voice: aishiteimasu

 

The above Japanese sentence has no subject or object.  If you want to say this to a man or woman, you are usually in an intimate situation.  Right?  So I and you are understood.  So we don’t need them. 

 

Further, the word “love” came from a western culture.   (And Japanese written language was originated from Chinese.)  So, the kanji character, 愛, was created by Chinese when Christianity was brought to China, and the phrase “love of god” needed to be translated.  I noticed though that most Japanese do not know this fact, especially young people.  But if you are Japanese and sensitive to language, you’ll smell foreignness in the word愛.  If you see closely, this kanji is constructed by two characters, 心(heart) and 受(receive).  By looking at the character, I imagine a scene that a Christian minister tries to explain to a Chinese translator what love is by touching his heart and then raising both his hands.

 

I never heard my folks or any ordinary Japanese in Japan say “I love you” unless jokingly or in songs, television or movies.  But nowadays, some young Japanese brides demand their husbands to say “愛してるよ”and perhaps twenty years from now, they might demand a subject and object in the sentence as follows.

 

僕は君を愛しているよ。    Male voice     “bokuwa kimio aishiteiruyo”

私はあなたを愛しています。Female voice   “watashiwa anatao aishiteimasu”

 

I think even today most Japanese still do not say the above sentences.  It sounds awkward.  But our tender feelings are in our hearts.