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With their global popularity showing no sign of waning, One Direction have had a busy year, and are set for more of the same in 2015 after already announcing their On The Road Again Tour 2015. The band first visited Japan in January 2013, and since then floppy-haired tween sex symbol Harry Styles seems to have become quite taken with the country. Now it looks like he has made it his mission to spread a little bit of Japanese culture to his millions of adoring fans.

On the US leg of the band’s Where We Are Tour, a Japanese fan shot and uploaded the following video from the New York concert on September 25. In it Harry counts to three and then his fans all follow his lead in screaming ‘ganbarimasu’!

Harry seems pretty pleased with himself for pulling it off, giving a shout of ‘YES!’ and an enthusiastic fist pump. The thousands of screaming fans probably have no idea what this Japanese phrase means and yet they’re still happy to follow their idol in the chant. For all they know he could be shouting ‘I hate fangirls!’

But of course that’s not actually what it means. Ganbarimasu is probably one of the most commonly used phrases here in Japan. It means something akin to ‘I’ll do my best!’ and is used whenever you’re about to start on something, from taking a test to remembering to pick up the dry cleaning like your wife asked you to, to show that you’re really going to give it your all. You’ll also often hear the imperative form ‘ganbatte‘ or ‘ganbare‘ as a form of encouragement in the way that we often say ‘good luck’ in English. It can also be used to cheer someone up, to help them get through something, or as a gentle chide. To the Japanese it’s more than just a word, it’s a way of life, encouraging others and being encouraged yourself to stick through tough times whether that means dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster or passing school entrance exams.

This shared cultural phrase crops up in conversation on a daily basis in Japan, and is now seemingly a part of Directioners’ vocabulary too. Whether they know what he’s saying or not, it’s clear that Harry’s fans are only too willing to echo him in whatever he does, so hopefully he won’t let his language-wielding power go to his head. After all, it’s clear that some of Harry’s fans really would do anything he said…

Source: TV Groove
Images: Screen Week Tweens