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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.[1]

The word ganbaru is often translated as "doing one's best", but in practice, it means doing more than one's best.[2] The word emphasizes "working with perseverance"[3] or "toughing it out".[4]

Ganbaru means "to commit oneself fully to a task and to bring that task to an end".[5] It can be translated as persistence, tenacity, doggedness, and hard work. The term has a unique importance in Japanese culture.[6]

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".[1] 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.[7] After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, gambaru was one of the most commonly heard expressions.[8]