My EN-JP dictionary seems to give ‘backbone’ as the translation for 意気地, and I think that matches the Japanese definition well. ‘Willpower’ seems to be a good translation as well though. The native word I was considering for ‘pride’ was 「誇り」as in 「誇り高き」.(That’s kinda archaic since 高き＝高い in modern Japanese, and sounds like the way some noble might introduce his/her house (that’s how I learnt it, actually), but you get the idea.) @Zizka: Honestly, I’m not sure why プライド is more common, but it could be that it’s a bit less formal? Also, I imagine that imported English words don’t have as much historical baggage, so they’re less likely to have any strange connotations. Another interesting example is リベンジ, which means both ‘revenge’ in the English sense of getting back at someone, and “revanche” in the French sense of ‘getting back an advantage/privilege’ that was lost’ (e.g. when you lose in a competition and want to do better in it next year).
About purism in languages, and some thoughts about loanwords in Japanese
I’m quite a purist myself when it comes to languages. When I learnt French, I intentionally avoided all structures that sounded similar to those in English, even if they were perfectly valid, so that I wouldn’t make using calques into a habit. E.g. I refused to use “influencer” because “influer sur” exists. However, as Zizka pointed out, there are loanwords that fill gaps in a language’s vocabulary. Also, I think that, especially in the case of Japanese, many borrowed words end up becoming truly ‘Japanese’ because they’re extremely far removed from their original grammar and context of usage. All the 和製英語 words are examples of this. Similarly, while Japanese shares a lot of kanji compounds with Chinese, there are also many compounds that are unique to Japanese – Chinese may have equivalents, but they often use completely different kanji.
The one loanword that *does* trouble me a lot though... is ページ.
I can’t imagine how a country with fairly developed literature and culture could possibly lack a native word for ‘page’, particularly since paper was apparently invented in China, and would almost definitely have reached Japan through trade before reaching Western territories. At the very least, there as surely a word for sheets of material used for writing. Does anyone know of a native word for it? @ayamedori? I’ve seen 頁 (read as けつ), which is the same character used in Chinese, but that’s generally only used as a counter (e.g. ‘forty-seven pages’). It seems the noun ‘page’ is only referred to as ページ, and 頁 is sometimes used as a kanji for that! (I find that somewhat atrocious. Perhaps I’m just too used to kanji being a Sino-Japano-Korean thing, so I find it hard to accept it being used for a word imported from English.)
I believe there actually are official words for things like ‘escalators’ in Japanese written using kanji. For instance, カメラ＝写真機. They’re just not sufficiently popular among the general public. I’m actually curious whether or not the Japanese government has an office somewhere churning out official recommendations the way the Académie Française and the Office québécois de la langue française, but I’ve never checked.
Anyway, yes, @Zizka, you remembered correctly: I’m somewhere in France. As for you, @ayamedori, I guessed you were in the Netherlands or in Belgium after you said your native language was a Germanic one that wasn’t English, German or Scandinavian. (I had to bring up a map of the Germanic languages of the world because I wasn’t too sure where all the other European countries were relative to peninsulas and so on.) Dutch sounds a lot like English! That is, until you listen more closely and realise you don’t understand a thing. Hahaha. I see it quite often on the packaging in France, and I feel like I can understand some of it based on my experience with German, but I’ve never studied it, so I don’t understand that much.