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The word Ganbatte

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Translating Japanese words

There are some words in Japanese that are difficult to translate into another language. One of the most often used words in Japanese manga and anime, "Ganbatte!" is one of these words.

It can have a different meaning depending on the situation and the person saying it.

In this blog for Japanese language learners, by Japanese teacher Kumiko Yatabe deals with these meanings.

Listen to Yatabe sensei reading the blog herself. You can also learn new vocabulary by reading the blog and checking the vocabulary list.

The word Ganbatte


By YATABE Kumiko





 他の人が辛い状況にいるとき「頑張ってね」と言うのは「応援しているよ」という意味ですが、言われた側は「もう頑張ってるよ! これ以上頑張れない」と思う場合もあるので、なかなか難しいですね。英語のGood luck みたいな言葉があったらいいのになあとよく思います。

To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.





 他の人が辛(つら)い状況(じょうきょう)にいるとき「頑張ってね」と言うのは「応援しているよ」という意味ですが、言われた側(がわ)は「もう頑張ってるよ! これ以上(いじょう)頑張れない」と思う場合もあるので、なかなか難(むずか)しいですね。英語のGood luck みたいな言葉があったらいいのになあとよく思います。

The word Ganbatte

As I am sure you all know, Japanese people often use the word "Ganbatte", right? I think when you use this word in relation to yourself or when you use it to other people, the meaning changes.

"I will 'Ganbarimasu' in my new job" or "I will 'Ganbatte' to study" or in similar instances when you are talking about yourself, it means "try as hard as I can".

But when we use it towards other people, for example we say to someone, "Ganbatte ne!" or "Ganbatte kudasai", in most cases it does not mean "try as hard as you can". Here it means something like, "I will pray for your success" or "I hope it goes well for you", as an expression of support for the other person. The 'te form' sounds like it is an imperative form but actually, I think that it shows your feeling.

When another person is in a tough situation, and you say "Ganbatte ne!" it means that, "I am supporting you", but sometimes it can be difficult, like if the other person misunderstands and replies, "I am trying as hard as I can! I cannot try any harder than this!" I often think I wish there was a word like the English phrase 'Good Luck' in Japanese.

一生懸命(いっしょうけんめい) as hard as one can

努力(どりょく)する make an effort

成功(せいこう)する success, go well

祈(いの)る wish, pray

応援(おうえん)する cheer, support

表現(ひょうげん)する express

命令形(めいれいけい) imperative form

辛(つら)い painful, difficult, tough

状況(じょうきょう) situation


Konnichiwa. My name is Kumiko Yatabe. I live in Saitama, just North of Tokyo.

The best way to learn to speak a foreign language is to talk with a person from that country.

Books and CD learning materials as well as movies and music from that country are good learning tools. But unfortunately they do not talk back to you or correct your mistakes.

Please pop into the classroom. If you are aiming to talk fluent Japanese just like a native, or are interested in enjoying to study in a leisurely manner, I am really looking forward to meeting you and many types of students and help you in your quest to master the language. If you don't understand something, please feel free to ask. I will try to make the lessons as easy to understand for everyone.

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