K Is For “Koi No Yokan”

Couple in love on a bench

I know, it’s quite a mouthful. But bear with me, here.

Koi No Yokan is a Japanese phrase which has no direct English translation. It describes the sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.

I write YA books, and my YA books have an element of romance. Koi No Yokan is figuring prominently into two different projects I’m working on. One, because one of the main characters is so absolutely sure about it, and another because the protagonist definitely felt Koi No Yokan, but argues herself out of it for a myriad of reasons.

I think it adds a wonderful element when at least one character knows from the beginning that this is it. The real thing.

It’s also equally wonderful when we, the readers know two people are destined for each other, but it becomes hellishly wonderful as the author makes them work for it, and makes us wait and anticipate. You know, like Mamihlapinatapai (from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego). It’s a word that describes the special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want.

It just serves to illustrate that no matter how foreign the language, we all know that feeling.

We just maybe don’t have a word for it over here.




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