Ganbaru (頑張る lit., stand firm), also romanized as gambaru, is a ubiquitous Japanese word which roughly means to slog on tenaciously through tough times.
Ganbaru means "to commit oneself fully to a task and to bring that task to an end." It can be translated to mean persistence, tenacity, doggedness and hard work. The term has a unique importance in Japanese culture.
The New York Times said of Shoichi Yokoi, the Japanese holdout who surrendered in Guam in January 1972, that in Japan "even those embarrassed by his constant references to the Emperor felt a measure of admiration at his determination and ganbaru spirit." After the 1995 Kobe earthquake, the slogan "Gambaro Kobe" was used to encourage the people of the disaster region as they worked to rebuild their city and their lives. After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, "gambaru" was one of the most commonly heard expressions.
Gambaru focuses attention on the importance of finishing a task and never stopping until a goal is achieved. The continuing effort to overcome obstacles (even if not successful) is an important concept in Japan.
- Kristoff, Nicholas. "Shoichi Yokoi, 82, Is Dead; Japan Soldier Hid 27 Years," New York Times (US). September 26, 1997.
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- "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, it cannot be helped, which expresses a sense of fatalism ...."
- 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."
- Allison, p. 120., p. 120, at Google Books
- Albach, Horst. (1994). Culture and Technical Innovation: a Cross-Cultural Analysis and Policy Recommendations. Berlin: de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110139471; OCLC 231577854
- Allison, Anne. (1994). Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226014852; ISBN 9780226014876; OCLC 243801089
|Look up ganbaru in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Matsuoka, R., Smith, I., & Uchimura, M. (2011). Discourse analysis of encouragement in healthcare manga. Journal of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, 15(1), 49-66.