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In Ro-Kyu-Bu!, high school student Subaru begins teaching an elementary school girls' basketball team.

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However, I can't seem to find any relationship between the syllables ro (ろ), kyu (きゅ), and bu (ぶ) with anything basketball- or coaching-related.

What is the origin of the name Ro-Kyu-Bu, and what does it mean?

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Translated from the Japanese Wikipedia article for Ro-Kyu-Bu:

The title comes from "roukyuu" (籠球, the Japanese name for basketball) combined with "kyuubu" (休部, Japanese for a club whose activities have been suspended).

The Wikipedia article cites a Dengeki interview with Aoyama Sag, the original light novel's author. I've translated the relevant question below, with explanation in parentheses:

Dengeki: I wanted to ask about the title. Shigusawa-sensei (author of Kino no Tabi) wrote in a review, "Is it OK to just combine roukyuu and kyuubu?" But is this even a correct interpretation (of the title)?

Aoyama-sensei: It's just as Shigusawa-sensei said. He is 100% correct.

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  • Just wondering, but in Japanese, do they refer to basketball club as 籠球部? Nvm, I just recall that they usually call it バスケ部 – nhahtdh Apr 27 '13 at 6:52
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    @nhahtdh It could go either way. For a lot of sports, Japanese has a loan word (basuke or basuketto booru) as well as a Japanese word (roukyuu). For baseball there is beisubooru and yakyuu. I'm not fluent, but I'm under the impression that if you started a basketball club in Japan, you could use either word that you want and that would set precedent for that specific club's name. You can read some more info about these words at japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/6924 – atlantiza Apr 27 '13 at 15:35
  • The answer you linked to seems to only address half the question (why yakyuu is used to call baseball), but not why the others are usually referred to with loanwords. I do see the native (?) words for football (Shuukyuu shoujo) and tennis here and there, but when referring to a club, I don't remember seeing the native word. Again, I might be wrong, though. (Your point about use either word that you want also makes sense - since there is both Photobu and Shashinbu in Photokano) – nhahtdh Apr 27 '13 at 15:59
  • @nhahtdh Googling 野球部 renders a good amount of results (both sites and images) for baseball clubs. Tbh this might be due to limited exposure (to both Japanese and sports) but the sport I've seen most often in its Japanese form is baseball. – atlantiza Apr 27 '13 at 16:22
  • When I do a search on Google, Japan does use 籠球部 to refer to basketball club, but バスケ部 is more common form (5 mil vs. ~700 k results) – nhahtdh Apr 27 '13 at 16:38

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