Japanese Character Writing For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

Learning numbers and counting in Japanese is simplified because the Japanese number system is quite logical. The entire number system is based on counting the number of tens and then adding the ones. For example, 11 is jū-ichi, which is 10 (jū) plus 1 (ichi). 21 is ni-jū-ichi, which is 2 (ni) times 10 (jū) plus 1 (ichi).

When you're counting numbers in order, you'll use this pronunciation.

1 to 99
ichi 1
ni 2
san 3
shi or yon 4
go 5
roku 6
shichi or nana 7
hachi 8
kyû 9
jûichi 11
jûni 12
jûsan 13
jûshi or jûyon 14
jûgo 15
jûroku 16
jûshichi or jûnana 17
jûhachi 18
jûkyû or jûku 19
nijû 20
nijûichi 21
nijûni 22
nijûsan 23
sanjû 30
sanjûichi 31
sanjûni 32
yonjû 40
gojû 50
rokujû 60
nanajû 70
hachijû 80
kyûjû 90
kyûjûkyû 99

Counting larger numbers is just a question of adding the number of hundreds, thousands, and so on, in front of the same patterns as for numbers 1-99. For example, the number 150 is pronounced as hyakugoju, which is 1 hyaku plus 50 (gojū).

100 and higher
100 hyaku
101 hyakuichi
102 hyakuni
150 hyakugoju
500 gohyaku
999 kyû-hyaku-kyû-jû-kyû
1,000 sen

When the numbers are followed by a suffix, such as ji (o'clock) and mai (sheets of), the numbers might be read differently.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Hiroko Chiba, PhD, is professor of Japanese at DePauw University, where she teaches all levels of Japanese language and directs the Japanese language program. Vincent Grépinet is the author of the French language editions of Japanese For Dummies and Korean For Dummies.

This article can be found in the category: