According to the article "On Being Late to Work in Japan | 遅出" (linked from this post at The Workplace):

The word for participation – kameseru – has a special significance which also explains why Japanese bureaucracy is so overwhelming...

As far as I know, カメセル is not a Japanese word, and it doesn't look like any variations on the vowels (カーメセル or カメーセル or カメセール or カメセルー or some combination thereof) or gemination (カメッセル) give you anything useful either. Nor can I think of any near-homophones (コメセル? カメスル?) that mean anything related to "participation".

What word might the article have meant?

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    That is not the only confused Japanese in that article. What is 外面九天??? 遅出 exists as a word, but doesn't carry the nuance of being later than you're supposed to. 遅刻 is probably the word he's looking for.
    – dainichi
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 1:21
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    @dainichi I was thinking that maybe 外面九天 was a pun or an inside joke of some variety? (Admittedly, that is a generous interpretation. According to the author's about me page, he worked in Japan for three years on JET, but I suppose it's possible that he somehow got through that without learning a lick of the language.)
    – senshin
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 1:24
  • Good answers to this question interest me greatly because I explain to my students on the first day that I grade on 参加 not 出席. And more ways to express that are great.
    – virmaior
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 1:55

5 Answers 5


I'm the author of that post, the 'insufferable self-absorbed hipster.'

It was a typo - I'd meant 'kamei-suru' but was pretty bad at Japanese when I first arrived (and still am not very good, but continue to learn and practice even after having left the country). It's this:

加盟 + する

And basically refers to 'becoming a part of the group' by engaging and participating in the group's activities. I think in hindsight it may have a much more limited function.

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    Oh! In that case, would you be willing to share how you came up with 生命を外面九天です?
    – user1478
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 18:58
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    That is not even what 加盟する means.
    – user4032
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 0:41
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    Please see naruto's comment on Earthling's answer for why 加盟する isn't used how you think it is.
    – Robin
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 2:08
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    "生命を外面九天です" was written for me by a friend in Japan. It means "Life Outside the Palace," or at least I thought it did. How would you say it better? Again, that was written by a native. Also, why is there so much hostility toward me in this forum? I've never claimed to be an expert in the language. Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 4:55
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    (Maaaybe [九天]{きゅうてん} was a typo for [宮殿]{きゅうでん}??)
    – user1016
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 8:54

I think it might refer to [加盟]{かめい}する, although in the context of leaving early or not from work, 参加する would have been a much better fit.

Still, my guess is the author just asked someone "How do you say participation in Japanese?" and someone came up with 加盟する.

  • 4
    Usually 加盟する refers to a company or a country joining a larger group/association, as in "SONYはBlu-ray Disc Associationに加盟しています" "フランスはEUの加盟国です". A person participating in day-to-day work is not 加盟する. (I'm not saying my answer is better; mine is also awkward)
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 1:14
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    I wrote in my answer that 加盟する is definitely not participation in the sense used in the article. (I hope that's not what triggered the downvote.) I still think that someone who obviously has no clue about Japanese is much more likely to come up with a(n incorrect) kanji compound in dictionary form than with an unusual interpretation of 噛む in a rather advanced conjugation of the word. Anyway, what the writer really referred to is anyone's guess...
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 13:49
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    @Choko -- Looks like the article author realized it was a typo and fixed the article accordingly. So it used to say "kameseru", but now it correctly says "kamei suru". :) Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 17:56
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    I think my answer doesn't deserve a downvote, considering that my guess turned out to be correct.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 19:22
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    参りました(^^;) まさか正解が判明するとは…
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 14:46

The closest word to kameseru which means "participation" is, maybe 噛【か】ませる?

噛む sometimes means "get (partially) involved", often (but not necessarily) referring to bad/illegal things. My boss may say something like this:

Though I doubt he has something to do, let A join this project for now, too.

Well, this expression is natural, but uncommon. The general idea of "everyone's (full) participation" is usually not described by this word. I may be missing something.


It appears as if we might be dealing with a garbled 任【まか】せる, 'to entrust'.

Basically, the word kameseru is only found in two contexts: The article in question and excerpts plagiarized from it; and questions asking what the word kameseru means such as a similar discussion on reddit.


The most common Japanese word for “participation” will be 参加(さんか)する、like パーティ(組合、会議、ゲーム)に参加する- participate / join in a party (union, meeting, game).

加盟(かめい)is a big word to mean “joining,” that’s applied to big entities e.g. organizations and countries, like EU(三国間協定、連合)に加盟する- participate in Europe Union (three-country treaty, National Labor Union League).

The word, 加盟 that reads “kamei” have nothing to do with a late-coming to work.

There is no word that reads and being vocalized as “kameseru” in Japanese language.

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