How to Use Ganbare, Ganbatte, Ganbarimasu in Japanese: Give It Your Best!

Last Updated on 06.07.2022 by Coto Academy

Ganbare (頑張れ) or ganbatte (頑張って)is a Japanese phrase that means “Come on!” “Let’s go!” or “Go for it!” in English. It has the meaning of “Do your best” and it is can be used to cheer for your favorite team during a sporting event.

If you want to know more about how to use ganbatte and ganbare in Japanese, watch the youtube video that we have posted above.

Jump to:

The Spirit of Ganbare or Ganbatte in Japanese Culture

Although a seemingly simple term, ganbare, ganbatte or their other modifications root back in the Japanese culture and view on perseverance and determination. You’ll hear it chanted in sports competitions and anime series, mostly to encourage the other party to do their best and to never give up no matter how hard the challenge can be.

Saying ganbare or ganbatte isn’t just preserved for special occasions, though. From a young age, Japanese people are exposed to the concept of ganbatte through various mundane activities: doing homework, studying for a test or fighting with a friend.

At almost every stage in life in the Japanese community, the word ganbare is ingrained. As you grow old, you’ll be faced with even greater problems, like finding a job, overcoming a hard breakup or confronting a problem at work. In the end, the spirit of ganbatte is used to remind individuals in Japan that even in times of great hardship, you need to trust your own ability.

Japanese Kanji and Writing for Ganbare or Ganbatte

The Japanese word for ganbatte originated from the verb 頑張る (read as ganbaru), which means “to do your best” or “to work hard.” However, in a lot of social contexts, people tend to follow the first definition more. The Japanese kanji 頑 (gan) means “tough” or “stubborn”, while the last character 張る (haru) means “to be prominent”.

How did it turn to ganbare or ganbatte? The term ganbatte (頑張って) is actually the conjunctive form of 頑張る. Ganbatte is the shortened form of てください, which is to turn a plain Japanese verb into a polite command or request: “I would ask you to (verb).”

The longer version of ganbatte is ganbatte kudasai (頑張ってください), but this might sound a bit too formal if you’re speaking to your friends or close family members. This is why sometimes people just opt to say “ganbatte”. It can be written in kanji as 頑張って, in hiragana as がんばって, or in katakana as ガンバッテ.

You might wonder: ganbatte is not a loanword that the Japanese language takes, so why can we use katakana? This is because katakana is used for emphasis, especially on signs, advertisements or texts. Examples are gomi (ゴミ) and megane (メガネ), each meaning trash and glasses respectively. When you type ガンバッテ, it shows you want the reader to pay attention to your words of encouragement.

It may also be said as “ganbatte ne”( 頑張ってね) or “ganbatte yo” (頑張ってよ) for more emphasis on overcoming the task at hand.

You can also add ね or よ for more emphasis.

頑張ってね!
Ganbatte ne!

頑張ってよ!
Ganbatte yo!

Ganbare (がんばれ), on the other hand, is stemmed from the same verb, but it’s in a command form. The verb conjugation changes an action in strong commands, and it’s less polite than saying ganbatte kudasai (がんばってください),

The Best Time to Use Ganbare or Ganbatte

Ganbare has a positive connotation and because of this, you need to use it with empathy and without being flippant or using it in a joking way that could be seen as insensitive.

  • A coworker or friend is taking an exam or a test
  • A friend is playing in a sporting match or running a marathon
  • A friend is going to do something hard like asking someone to marry them.
  • A friend has expressed a worry about a big event or challenge that they have coming up.

Inappropriate Situations to Use Gabare or Ganbatte

Despite the versatility of ganbare and ganbatte, there are some situations where it’s far from appropriate to say it. Sometimes, the best thing to do is face your vulnerability. When someone is facing genuine trouble, read the room and show empathy. Saying “Let’s do our best!” to someone having a hard time can instead make us sound tone-deaf and insensitive.

Here are a couple of situations where saying ganbare or ganbatte is not advisable.

  • A friend has had something tragic happen to them or their family
  • A friend is expressing a deep level of sadness or worry

Video Transcript

頑張れ!頑張れ!
Ganbare! Ganbare!
Ganbare! Ganbare!

皆さん、「頑張れ」この言葉聞いたのことがあすか?
Minasan, “ganbare” koto kotoba kiita no koto ga arimasuka?
Hi everyone, have you heard the word “ganbare” before?

「頑張れ」は試合毛ていると応援する時に使う言葉です。
“ganbare” wa shiai geteiru to ouensuru toki ni tsukau kotoba desu
When people are at a sporting match and they are supporting their team, they will use this word!

例えば、野球の試合を呼びに行きます好きな選手が出ています。
Tatoeba, yakyuu no shiai o yobini ikimasu suki na senshu ga deteimasu
For example, next time you go to a baseball game and your favorite player appears,

「頑張れ!頑張れ!」
“ganbare! ganbare!”
You can scream “Ganbare! Ganbare!”

ラグビーやサッカーのワールドカップオリンピックでも「頑張れ頑張れ」と応援することができます。
Ragubi ya sakka no Warudokapu orinpikku demo “ganbare ganbare” to ouensuru koto ga dekimasu.
You can use the word to support your team at the Rugby and Soccer World Cup, and the Olympics.

「頑張れ」この言葉は「頑張って」や「頑張ってください」よりも
“ganbare” kono kotoba wa “ganbatte” ya “ganbatte kudasai” yori mo
The word “ganbare” is similar to “ganbatte” or “ganbatte kudasai.”

強いの言葉です。
tsuyoi no kotoba desu.
But it has a stronger meaning.

すこし、男っぽくて強い言葉なので試合を応援する時に使います。
Sukoshi, otokoppokute tsuyoi kotoba nano de shiai o ouensuru toki ni tsukaimasu.
It’s a very manly word that you can use to support your team during a sporting match.

試合はワクワクドキドキしますね、ですから女の人も試合の時は「頑張れ」と言ってもいです。
Shiai wa waku waku doki doki shimasune, desukara onna no hito mo shiai no toki wa “ganbare” to itte mo idesu.
When you get excited during a football match or a baseball game and you want to support your team, women can also use “ganbare”.

「頑張って」この言葉は色々なシチュエーションでいろことができます。
“Ganbatte” kono kotoba wa iro iro na tsuchinoeshion de iro koto ga dekimasu.
“Ganbatte” is a word that can be used in many different types of situations.

例えば、友達がこーいます「あ、明日試験があるんだ」
Tatoeba, tomodachi ga koiimasu : “a, ashita shiken ga arunda.”
For example, when your friend tells you: “Ugh, I have an exam tomorrow.”

「頑張って!」
“Ganbatte!”
“Do your best!”

「あ、明日彼女にプロポーズするんだ」
“a ashita kanojo ni puopozu surunda”
“I’m going to propose to my girlfriend tomorrow.”

「頑張って!」
“Ganbatte!”
“Do your best!”

「頑張って」はカジュアルの表現なので家族や恋人友達に使ってください。
“Ganbatte” wa casuaru no hyougen nanode kazoku ya koibito tomodachi ni tsukatte kudasai.
“Ganbatte” is a casual expression that you can use when talking to family and friends.

最後に、もう一つ「頑張ります」を紹介します。
Saigo ni, mou hitotsu “ganbarimasu” o shoukai shimasu.
Finally, we have one more word to introduce: “ganbarimasu.”

「頑張ります」はいつ使うのでしょうか?
“ganbarimasu” wa itsu tsukau no deshouka?
When should we use “ganbarimasu”?

そうれでは説明します。
Sourede wa setsumenshimasu.
Let’s break it down.

実は私来年の3月に東京マラソンに出ます。
Jitsu wa atashi rainen no sangatsu ni toukyou maranson ni temasu.
I will really be running the Tokyo marathon next year in March.

そのことを先輩や他の先生に言うと先輩や他の先生はこう言いました「え~すごいね。頑張ってね!」
Sono koto wo senpai ya hoka no sensei ni iyuto senpai ya hoka no sensei wa kouiimashita: “e~ sugoi ne. Ganbatte ne!”
So my coworkers, and other more senior teachers, told me: “oh wow, do your best (good luck)!”

その時私はこう言います「ありがとうございます、頑張ります!」
Sono toki watashi wa kouiimasu: “arigaritou gozaimasu, ganbarimasu!”
At that time, I replied by saying: “Thank You so much, I will try my best!”

「頑張ります」は自分より上の人
“Ganbarimasu” wa jibun yori ue no hito
“Ganbarimasu” is used when people that are above me,

例えば、上司や先輩の人が頑張ってねと
tatoeba joushi ya senpaino hito ga ganbattene to
like my boss or my senior coworkers tell me to do my best.

応援してな時に
ouen shitenatoki ni
When they show their support

「はい、頑張ります」と答えます。
“hai, ganbarimasu” to kotae masu.
I can answer them by saying: Yes, I will try my best!

はい、皆さん、今日のビデオはここまです。
Hai, minasan, kyou no bideo wa koko made desu.
Okay, everyone! That is all for today’s video.

皆さんは日本語の勉強頑張っていますね!
Minasan wa nihongo no benkyou ganbatte imasune!
Everyone, you’re all doing your best to learn Japanese!

皆さん、頑張って!
Minasan, ganbatte!
Everyone, do your best!

もし質問があったたら、是非このコメントに残してください。私たちが答えられるかもしれません。
moshi shitsumon ga atta tara, zehi kono komento ni nokoshite kudasai. Watashitachi ga kotae rareru kamoshiremasen.
If you have any questions, please share them in the comment section. We might answer them!

それでは皆さん、頑張ってね!
Sorede wa minasan, ganbatte ne!
So then, everyone, go for it/do your best!

What is the difference between ganbatte and ganbaru?

Ganbare is a command form, which has a stronger imperative tone. Ganbatte is the shortened version of ganbatte kudasai, which is more or a request and therefore sounds less demanding.

What is the original word for ganbare and ganbatte?

Ganbare and ganbatte comes from the word ganbaru (頑張る) or ganbarimasu (頑張ります), which means “do your best”

Start taking Japanese lessons and learn Ganbare, Ganbatte, Ganbarimasu and more!