If At First You Don't Succeed, Ganbare, Ganbare, Ganbare

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In Japan, it is a common belief that anyone can achieve success; all that is necessary is that one persists with utmost diligence, and almost anything can be accomplished. This study investigated the thoughts of Japanese children, parents, and educators regarding the cultural phenomenon of "ganbare" (persistence), which permeates Japanese society at all levels. Interviews were conducted with 50 kindergarten students in Japan, their teachers, and college instructors in early childhood education. The children's mothers responded to written questions regarding their concept of "ganbare." The results indicated that "ganbare" was interpreted by children as "happy and positive encouragement." The adults used this word as a spontaneous expression of encouragement to teach children the importance of persistence in their lives, although some adults speculated that an overemphasis on "ganbare" with children may create too much pressure. Findings suggest that instilling persistence in children is of prime importance in Japanese culture, and that expansion of the investigation to include school-age children would be beneficial.