As far as I know, 頑張った would be translated as someone having worked hard or tried their best etc. depending on context, however I've noticed a disrepency between my translation and another person's that's gotten me confused.

For context, the series is in the middle of a tennis competition. Makoto did very impressively during his match, but ended up losing. Makoto's friends, as well as everyone else watching the match, cheered him on a lot until he lost. Arata was the next person to have a match, and one of Makoto's friends started cheering the moment he appeared (she likes Arata). Another one of Makoto's friends looked at her, frowning, and thought:


So, I'd translate this as "Even though he (Makoto) worked so hard, the cheering's already changed to Arata...Poor Makoto." or something along those lines.

But one other person has translated it as "Even though she cheered so much for Makoto, now she's cheering just as much for Arata.... Poor Makoto." and I find myself confused.

This piece of work is written with very casual speech patterns, so I was wondering...is there any slang way to interpret '頑張った' as cheering for someone? Or is the other translator just taking artistic licence with subtext?

  • Shortening of 頑張れ! google.lv/… + った to quote (like って)?
    – cirno
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 17:00
  • 2
    No, I'm aware '頑張れ!' can be shouted as encouragement, but that's 頑張る's imperative form i.e "do your best!" I'm saying I don't see how 頑張った could be translated as 'cheered', since it's 頑張る's past indicative form. It doesn't really have anything to do with te form? I mean as long as there's no slang that can use 頑張った in replacement of the past indicative verb 'cheered', then I'm just going to assume the other translator was overreaching and my version is correct.
    – user7541
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 17:31

3 Answers 3


As a Japanese-speaker (if that means anything), I could only interpret the "sentence" one way and that is your way.

Admittedly, you have only provided a minimal amount of context, but even so, I could not understand how the other person arrived at his/her translation. The line would not be a natural-sounding one to express what s/he thinks it means.


Using the textbook kind of Japanese, I would paraphrase this into something like:

「マコトがあれだけ頑張った[直後]{ちょくご}なのに、もう([既]{すで}に)アラタを[応援]{おうえん}している・・・ マコトがかわいそう(だよ)。」

「~~直後」= "immediately after ~~"

「~~を応援する」= "to root for ~~"

It is saying that the girl who likes Arata should keep quiet for at least some time instead of acting as if she has forgotten about Makoto's defeat by already cheering loudly for Arata.

  • I actually reread the series recently and now think this interpretation suits the scenario more. I noticed in the very next page Makoto himself had wryly commented it couldn't be helped that people had immediately forgotten about him. Not to mention, if the sentence had been meant to refer to the girl 'doing her best cheering' the 'makoto kawaisou' comment would seem kinda out of place, and works better with this interpretation. Thank you for your interpretation!
    – user7541
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 12:52

At phrase level, 頑張る is usually an intransitive verb which means "to work hard", "to do one's best", etc. (EDIT: You can say テニスを頑張る, too) It never means 応援する, which is the most common transitive verb that means "to cheer (someone) up".

The interpretation of the sentence purely depends on the context. If you're certain that it's not the girl but Makoto who worked hard, then your translation is right. But if there was a scene before this where the two girls cheered Makoto desperately, then there's room to interpret this differently.


I can see your interpretation - Makoto did his best & now the tide has turned. Makes sense... The question seems to be who exactly the friend is referring to as having 頑張った, and what activity involved the 頑張ってing (sure, that's a word ;))

Since the friend is looking/directing the frowning thought at the girl now suddenly cheering for Arata, it would make sense to interpret the statement as referring to her, not Makoto. You also have the word あんだけ, which to me sounds like it refers to an unexpected behavior. You did something that much, and now this??

In that sense, the friend is taken aback at the girl having cheered so enthusiastically & given her all (頑張った) to that extent in support of Makoto, but despite this, もうアラタ?? How could she apparently shift her allegiance so easily?

There isn't any secondary/slang meaning for 頑張る - you just have to infer the person & activity being done in that manner.

  • Ahhhhhhhhh, I hadn't thought about it from that angle!! You're right, thinking of it that way -which activity did they do their best in- then the other person's translation makes far more sense! Because while Makoto did very well in his match, he gave up towards the end when he saw there was nothing he could do, and people did comment on that. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it makes so much more sense now. Thank you! It was the comment about 'andake' that really clinched it for me.
    – user7541
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 9:47

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