秘密の会合をもった。

English Translation

We had a secret meeting.

Can you actually use 持つ , to have or to hold, in this fashion? (The kanji forもった is 持った, right?)

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@ericaw
Good question. 会合を持つ is a frequent expression particularly in business and political context. However, 会合を開く (ひらく) or 設ける (もうける) is much better.

The Broadcasting Culture Research Institution under NHK (quasi state-owned TV broadcaster in Japan) explained the details here. Let me quote and translate it:

ビジネス会話では、独特の専門用語が飛び交うことがあります。一般社会とは異なった用語があり、それが一般化して誰も不思議に思わなくなったものもあります。「会議を持つ」というのもそのひとつです。「会議」は開くのであって、持ったり、置いたりできるはずはないのです。英語の直訳から発生したことばかもしれません。「会議を開く。会議がある。」などがふつうの使い方です。

You often hear jargon in business conversations. Some of them are different from the usual common usages, and such “unusual” business jargon sometimes became de facto standards for business uses. 会議を持つ is one of the cases. A “meeting” is supposed to be “開く”. It cannot be the subject of “持つ” or “置く” in Japanese. 会議を持つ is probably influenced by the word-for-word translation from English. A meeting followed by を開く or がある is a more common usage.

If you look up the term 会合 in newspaper articles or government documents, you’ll see 会合を開く or 設ける as a frequent collocation. But the original sentence 秘密の会合を持った sounds natural if もった is replaced with 持った in Kanji.

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