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Meaning of the Kanji

First, let's break down the kanji:

Readings: ソウ; ショウ; あい-

Meaning: inter-; mutual; together

Readings: ボウ

Meaning: rod; stick; pole

Origin of the Word

相棒あいぼうとは、一緒いっしょなにかをするひと仲間なかまという意味いみです。
江戸えど時代じだいかごかつぐとき、一本いっぽんぼう二人ふたりひとつのですが、そのとき一緒いっしょかつひとを「相棒あいぼう」とんでいました。これが、一緒いっしょ仕事しごとをする仲間なかまなにかをするともだちという意味いみになりました。

Translation, Vocabulary, & Notes

Cultural Notes:

A popular detective show (season 21 just started!) is called 相棒(あいぼう) and stars 水谷(みずたに) (ゆたか) who acts like an English gentleman (英国紳士(えいこくしんし)) and his first 相棒(あいぼう)亀山薫(かめやまかおる) returns this season after a ten year absence.

In the manga/anime Disastrous Life of Saiki K, one of the characters (Nendou) always calls Saiki 「相棒(あいぼう)」. They aren't friends. They are "partners." 

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