'Koi No Yokan:' the uncanny and untranslatable Japanese expression that foretells of love

·1-min read
The pre-love feeling has a name in Japanese.

The Japanese have a surprising phrase that refers to a kind of premonition of love. When you feel "Koi No Yokan" after meeting a stranger, you know that you will eventually fall in love with this person. While it may seem similar, this feeling isn't exactly the same as what is conveyed by the English expression "love at first sight."

It's not love at first sight -- the Japanese have another term for that, "hitomebore" -- nor is it friendship. "Koi No Yokan" is something else. This sensation that the Japanese have coined a name for refers to the irresistible and delectable feeling that you are going to fall in love with the person you just met. An inevitability.

While for previous generations in the Land of the Rising Sun, relationships mainly took shape in a path to marriage, for young Japanese people, who have grown up on manga, this expression has gained in significance. Interviewed by the BBC , a young Japanese woman explains that her grandparents "were not really allowed to decide who they wanted to be with forever."

If you thought that verbal expressions of love essentially came down to "I love you" and had never heard of this Japanese term before, you may be interested to know that Professor Tim Lomas, from the University of East London, has identified no fewer than 600 words in 50 languages that express a state related to love, which he refers to as "forms or flavors" of love.

Mylène Bertaux

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