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Ganbaru (頑張る, lit., stand firm), also romanized as gambaru, is a widely-used Japanese cultural concept.[1] It roughly means to slog on or stick to it through tough times.[2] Ganbaru implies a kind of hard work which is defined by Japanese culture.

The word Ganbaru is often translated to mean "doing one’s best". In practice, it means doing more than one's best.[3] The word emphasizes working with continued effort despite difficulties, failure, or distraction.[4] The term means "toughing it out".[5]

Ganbaru means to commit fully to a task and to bring that task to an end.[6]

Ganbaru means an active process of doing something. It contrasts with a passive process.[7]

History[change | change source]

The term ganbaru developed from the related concept of gaman.[8]

After the 1995 Kobe earthquake, the slogan "Gambaro Kobe" was used to encourage the people of the Kobe region.[9]

After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, ganbaru was one of the most commonly heard expressions.[10]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Allison, Anne. (1994). Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club, p. 119.
  2. Kristoff, Nicholas. "Shoichi Yokoi, 82, Is Dead; Japan Soldier Hid 27 Years," New York Times (US). September 26, 1997; retrieved 2012-3-28.
  3. Frühstück, Sabine. (1998). The Culture of Japan as seen through its Leisure, p. 104.
  4. Zeng, Kangmin. (1998). Dragon gate: Competitive Examinations and Their Consequences, p. 224.
  5. Kristoff, Nicholas D. "A Japanese Generation Haunted by Its Past,: New York Times (US). January 22, 1997; retrieved 2012-3-28.
  6. Albach, Horst. (1994). Culture and Technical Innovation: a Cross-Cultural Analysis and Policy Recommendations, p. 388.
  7. Haghirian, Parissa. "Mastering The Basics," Archived 2011-07-09 at the Wayback Machine American Chamber of Commerce in Japan Archived 2011-03-30 at the Wayback Machine (ACCJ), 15 February 2011; excerpt, "Where ganbaru is an active process and requires people to do something to achieve their goals, gaman is passive and focuses more on enduring and not complaining."
  8. Hanabusa, George. (2003). Second Chances Gospel, p. 40.
  9. Davies, Roger J. et al. (2001). The Japanese Mind: Understanding Contemporary Japanese Culture, p. 84.
  10. "U.S. donations not rushing to Japan," 11Alive News (US). March 17, 2011; excerpt, "Devin Stewart, a senior director at the Japan Society in New York City, said, "Suffering and persevering is a type of virtue in Japan ... the ability to persevere and remain calm under difficult situations. Among the most commonly heard expressions there, are gaman, to persevere or tough it out; gambaru, to do your best, to be strong; and shoganai (shikata ga nai), it cannot be helped, which expresses a sense of fatalism ...."