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Can someone help clarify. When should I use "baggu" and when "kaban"? Is there any difference at all?

5

If you use google image it can give you a general idea:

kaban results

baggu results

In short,

kaban is generally for men and baggu is generally for women (as shown in the image results). Also, kaban seems more practical and business use while baggu is more for fashion/design.

Another difference is already fixed names. For example, エコバッグ (eco baggu) and キャリーバッグ (kyari baggu) are specific types of bags.

  • incidentally, in recent manga I sometimes see バック instead of バッグ but not sure how often it happens in real life (there are quite a few google hits for ハンドバック though). – Igor Skochinsky Nov 23 '16 at 10:18
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    @Igor Skochinsky Those are simply misspellings, or more like the words remembered incorrectly, a common occurrence with katakana words. Other instance include ベット for bed (ベッド) and フューチャー for feature (フィーチャー). – Jimmy Nov 23 '16 at 21:10
  • I might not see what you see, but clicking on the google.co.jp search result for "kaban" (which you say is generally for men), I get this... – Earthliŋ Nov 25 '16 at 22:55
  • @Earthliŋ: That looks like you clicked on the "Shopping" tab. Is that correct? – Jesse Good Nov 25 '16 at 23:20
  • @JesseGood No, I only clicked your link, and it's still on the 画像 tab. – Earthliŋ Nov 25 '16 at 23:27
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There is almost no difference between baggu and kaban.
Baggu (バッグ) is "bag" itself, and bag of course means kaban (かばん).

Recently, people often use バッグ rather than かばん
Especially as a fashion term, I think people always use バッグ.

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According to the dictionary バッグ is pretty much the same as "bag", anything that you can put things inside and carry with you.
かばん means "briefcase", a special type of bag, usually made of leather, designed to carry things like papers and documents.

バッグ【bag 】物を入れて持ち歩く袋やかばんの総称。

http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/177260/meaning/m1u/%E3%83%90%E3%83%83%E3%82%B0/

1 かばん【鞄】革やズックなどで作り、書類その他の物を入れる携帯用具。

http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/44008/meaning/m1u/%E9%9E%84/

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