The meaning of kawaii desu ne (可愛いですね) in Japanese

Kawaii desu ne means "it's cute isn't it?" in Japanese.

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese phrase kawaii desu ne, including its Japanese definition and translation, usage, example sentences, and more!

What does kawaii desu ne mean?

The Japanese phrase kawaii desu ne (可愛いですね、かわいいですね) means “cute isn’t it?”. The word kawaii means cute, pretty or adorable. Kawaii is one of the most popular words among young Japanese girls and women of all ages. You might even say that kawaii is an important part of modern Japanese culture!

There’s no direct English equivalent for desu, but think of it as a polite form of is or are. The letter ‘u’ at the end of desu is not voiced, so it actually sounds more like dess.

Meanwhile, the Japanese particle ne is the equivalent of something like “isn’t it?” or “right?” in English. It’s another word that is tough to translate into English, but you would basically use ne to see if someone agrees with what you’re saying.

It’s cute? She’s cute? You’re cute? Which one is it?

Kawaii desu ne might be any number of things in English, including it’s cute (isn’t it), the puppy is cute, you’re cute, she’s cute, and so on!

This is because Japanese doesn’t always include subject. For example, the word “you” is rarely used.

As a language, Japanese relies heavily on the context, so you will usually know which thing is being talked about from the situation itself.

How to write it

Kawaii can be written in either its kanji (可愛い) or as hiragana (かわいい)。Desu ne always appears in the hiragana ですね。So the whole phrase written out is either 可愛いですね or かわいいですね。

What about kawaii desu without the “ne”? Is it different?

At its core, kawaii desu means basically the same thing as kawaii desu ne: It’s cute.

However, it sounds just a tad stronger in tone, as you’re expressing your opinion as a fact rather than asking the other person what they think.

We can therefore state that the added ne particle makes the phrase both softer and friendlier.

What’s the more casual way to say this?

As we have noted, desu is a fairly word that you use when speaking with older people or strangers. When you’re talking to friends, family, or people younger than you, you drop the desu and simply say kawaii ne.

By the way, drawing out the “ne” as a longer “neeee” makes the phrase sound cuter (and girly)!

Below, we look at some example sentences using kawaii desu ne and kawaii ne in Japanese.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji on the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last. I have also highlighted the new phrase in bold.

Examples using kawaii desu ne (polite)

Sono inu wa kawaii desu ne!
That dog is cute isn’t it!

Kimi wa hontou ni kawaii desu ne.
You are really cute.

Akai doresu wa sugoku kawaii desu ne!
The red dress is really cute isn’t it!

Examples using kawaii ne (casual)

Sono ko wa dare? Kawaii ne.
Who is that girl? She’s cute.

Obasan nano ni mada kawaii ne!
She’s still pretty even though she’s a little older!

Aka chan wa taihen dakedo, kawaii ne.
Having kids is tough, but they’re cute aren’t they?