[Ads-l] gaman 1995 (1976?)

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 17 16:34:15 EST 2016


1. Once again, George Takei was talking about “gaman” this week ("George Takei: The Challenge Ahead Under President-Elect Trump,” 14 November 2016, http://thebea.st/2ga7ySg <http://thebea.st/2ga7ySg>):

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… during the [American] internment [of Japanese and Japanese-Americans in World War II], there was a word we often repeated: gaman. It means to endure, with dignity and fortitude. We did not permit them to strip away our basic humanity. We rallied, gave comfort to each other, and got through it. Gaman has been a steadying and comforting bedrock principle for me through these many decades.  
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2. “George Takei Debuts On Broadway In ‘Allegiance’” by Neda Ulaby (http://n.pr/2g2RkXA <http://n.pr/2g2RkXA>)

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"George's mother used to say to him while he was waiting in the bathroom line in the freezing cold, she would say, 'Georgie, gaman.' And it means 'to endure with dignity,'" Kuo says.
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3. "George Takei: ‘Being Optimistic Is Ensuring Your Success’” by Diane Tsai and Lily Rothman (http://ti.me/2eL3Ptk <http://ti.me/2eL3Ptk>):

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“Gaman translates into English as ‘to endure with dignity, or fortitude,’” the Star Trek actor tells TIME. 
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4. The online Oxford Dictionaries does not have “gaman” as a headword but does has it in a citation under “suck it up” (http://bit.ly/2fJW9nU <http://bit.ly/2fJW9nU>).

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‘The Japanese, for example, speak of ‘gaman,’ which roughly means to suck it up when things are tough.’
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5. Wikipedia has an entry on the term at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaman_(term) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaman_(term)>.

6. The earliest use I see on Google Books is 1995.

“Birds of Passage or Squawking Ducks: Writing across generation of Japanese-Canadian literature” by Audrey Kobayashi in _Writing Across Worlds: Literature and Migration_ (http://bit.ly/2glhqYn <http://bit.ly/2glhqYn>):

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p. 216: 
The Issei are viewed as stoic, constrained by a culture of complex codes and interdictions to persevere (_gaman_) in silicone in the face of what would for others be intolerable oppression…. 

p. 220: The lack of aggressive behaviour and high dependency was part of the _enryo_ (restraint) or _gaman_ (forbearance) syndrome which explains much of Japanese behaviour.
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The second use is actually a citation from Ken Adachi, but the page of the citation is not available in Google Books. Based on http://bit.ly/2g2XPtM <http://bit.ly/2g2XPtM> and http://bit.ly/2fASYkH <http://bit.ly/2fASYkH>, it seems likely to be from _The Entry that never was. A History of the Japanese Canadians_ in 1976.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA
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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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