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Obama’s obamu


In my previous posts on President Obama and the popularity of learning English via “the Obama way,”So…Sharon writes:

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” Just do it!” “Play with heart.”

Quotes and tag lines that promote optimism have become part of political vernacular.

“Yes we can!”, the tag line for President Obama’s campaign was chanted by domestic and international supporters. Now the Japanese have translated “Obama” into a word that encompasses the audacity and spirit he exhibits.

I find the word, “obamu,” very interesting in that it is a clever play off of “kobamu,” to refuse or reject.

obamu: (v.) To ignore inexpedient and inconvenient facts or realities, think “Yes we can, Yes we can,” and proceed with optimism using those facts as an inspiration (literally, as fuel). It is used to elicit success in a personal endeavor. One explanation holds that it is the opposite of kobamu. (拒む, which means to refuse, reject, or oppose).

In an example from the Ampontan blog, the following example is provided:


Or, “Hey, why are you so down in the dumps? Cheer up, cheer up!”

That people cite its use in cities as far apart as Kyoto and Kitakyushu suggests some fire might be under those wisps of smoke.

One more Japanese-language citation is from a Twitter tweet, which defines it simply as believing you can accomplish something.

Read more of Ampontan here. Have you heard anyone use obamu?

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