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Japan Word of the Day #71 – Saboru (Ditching a class, work…)

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Today’s Word is: Saboru (サボる)

Saboru is an old Japanese slang term originated in 1919.
Sabo” is derived from French word “sabotage,” and “-ru” makes it a verb.

At first, the word sabotage was used as it is (in Japanese katakana rendition) during a big strike by employees of Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation in 1919 (today’s subsidiary of Kawasaki Heavy Industry). As a result of the strike, employees were able to convince the company to raise their wage. The incident was reported on news, and the word sabotage became known to Japanese people.

Eventually, sabotage was shortened and made into a Japanese term “saboru,” with a slight change in its meaning. Today’ saboru just means to intentionally not participating in school, work, activities due to laziness (meaning they aren’t doing it for a cause).

In manga and anime, a typical place for students to saboru is on the rooftop of school.

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Image source: Craphlex, Kinimeka