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Japanese numeral system for everyday use
CONTENTS





A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION


One of the difficult aspects of learning Japanese lies in its complicated numeral system.
There are two ways of pronouncing numbers; one using the on'yomi or the Chinese reading, which originates from Chinese pronunciation,  and the other using the kun'yomi  or the Japanese reading, based on a native way of reading.  Which to use is determined by a kind of suffix called 助数詞(josûsi  or "counter").  The on'yomi is far more generally used because not more than ten can be counted with the kun'yomi.


Another difficulty the learners of Japanese face is that things and persons are counted with a combination of a number and a suffix ("counter") grammatically called 助数詞(josûsi).    For instance, three persons are represented as "san-nin" while three horses as "san-tô" and three dogs as "san-biki". On this page you can find some of these suffixes (counters)


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THE ON'YOMI NUMERALS     Listen and enjoy a game.
The pronunciation of the on'yomi originates from that of Old Chinese.
This form is far more often used than the kun'yomi numerals.  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
iti ni san yon
si
go roku nana
siti
hati kyû
zyû kunrei-siki
rômazi
ichi ni san yon
shi
go roku nana
shichi
hachi kyû
Hepburn-shiki
rômaji

Just as most Japanese don't care whether 日本 should be pronounced Nippon or Nihon, they don't care about the two ways of counting 四, 七, and 九.   But in some cases the choice is not allowed: i.e. 四月 ought to be "sigatu" not "yongatu".


THE NUMBERS MORE THAN TEN

The decimal numeral system is used in Japanese.  The numbers greater than ten is represented by  the first position (100) + the second position (101) + the third position (102) and so on.
12 = zyû ni = 10 (zyû) + 2 (ni)
356 = sambyaku gozyû roku = 300 (sambyaku) + 50 (gozyû) + 6 (roku)

NOTE: As you can see below, the numbers are grouped in four figures in Japanese, not three like in English.

11 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
十一 二十 三十 四十 五十 六十 七十 八十 九十
zyûiti nizyû sanzyû yonzyû gozyû rokuzyû nanazyû hatizyû kyûzyû
100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900
二百 三百 四百 五百 六百 七百 八百 九百
hyaku nihyaku sambyaku yonhyaku gohyaku roppyaku nanahyaku happyaku kyûhyaku
1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000
(一)千 二千 三千 四千 五千 六千 七千 八千 九千
(is)sen nisen sanzen yonsen gosen rokusen nanasen hassen kyûsen
10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 70,000 80,000 90,000
一万 二万 三万 四万 五万 六万 七万 八万 九万
itiman niman samman yomman goman rokuman nanaman hatiman kyûman
100,000 200,000 300,000 400,000 500,000 600,000 700,000 800,000 900,000
十万 二十万 三十万 四十万 五十万 六十万 九十万 八十万 九十万
zyû
man
nizyû
man
sanzyû
man
yonzyû
man
gozyû
man
rokujû
man
kyûzyû
man
hatizyû
man
kyûzyû
man
1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m
百万 二百万 三百万 四百万 五百万 六百万 七百万 八百万 九百万
hyaku
man
nihyaku
man
sambyaku
man
yonhyaku
man
gohyaku
man
roppyaku
man
nanahyaku
man
happyaku
man
kyûhyaku
man
10m 20m 30m 40m 50m 60m 70m 80m 90m
(一)千万 二千万 三千万 四千万 五千万 六千万 七千万 八千万 九千万
(is)sen
man
nisen
man
sanzen
man
yonsen
man
gosen
man
rokusen
man
nanasen
man
hassen
man
kyûsen
man
100m 200m 300m 400m 500m 600m 700m 800m 900m
一億 二億 三億 四億 五億 六億 七億 八億 九億
itioku nioku san'oku yon'oku go'oku rokuoku nanaoku hatioku kyûoku
1b 2b 3b 4b 5b 6b 7b 8b 9b
十億 二十億 三十億 四十億 五十億 六十億 七十億 八十億 九十億
zyû
oku
nizyû
oku
sanzyû
oku
yonzyû
oku
gozyû
oku
rokujû
oku
kyûzyû
oku
hatizyû
oku
kyûzyû
oku
10b 20b 30b 40b 50b 60b 70b 80b 90b
百億 二百億 三百億 四百億 五百億 六百億 七百億 八百億 九百億
hyaku
oku
nihyaku
oku
sambyaku
oku
yonhyaku
oku
gohyaku
oku
roppyaku
oku
nanahyaku
oku
happyaku
oku
kyûhyaku
oku
100b 200b 300b 400b 500b 600b 700b 800b 900b
一千億 二千億 三千億 四千億 五千億 六千億 七千億 八千億 九千億
issen
oku
nisen
oku
sanzen
oku
yonsen
oku
gosen
oku
rokusen
oku
nanasen
oku
hassen
oku
kyûsen
oku
1trillion 2trillion 3trillion 4trillion 5trillion 6trillion 7trillion 8trillion 9trillion
一兆 二兆 三兆 四兆 五兆 六兆 七兆 八兆 九兆
ittyô nityô santyô yontyô gotyô rottyô nanatyô hattyô kyûtyô


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THE KUN'YOMI NUMERALS
This  "genuine" form of the kun'yomi numerals is old fashioned and less often used.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
itu nana kokono kunrei-siki
rômazi
itsu nana kokono Hepburn-shiki
rômaji


Instead of the "genuine" form above,   the one with the suffix "-tu" is more commonly used.
 Listen and enjoy a game.
1
一つ
2
二つ
3
三つ
4
四つ
5
五つ
6
六つ
7
七つ
8
八つ
9
九つ
10
hitotu hutatu mittu yottu itutu muttu nanatu yattu kokonotu kunrei-siki
rômazi
hitotsu futatu mittsu yottsu itutsu muttsu nanatsu yattsu kokonotsu Hepburn-shiki
rômaji
NOTE:
You cannot count more than eleven with the ku'yomi numerals.  To express the number eleven and more, use on'yomi numerals.  The expression, for example, "tô amari hitotu(十あまり一つ)" for "11", exists, but it is seldom, if ever, heard.



As for the usage,  refer to this page.


A USEFUL TIP: 
If you find it complicated to handle "counters" like the one listed below, always use this "-tu" form.  It is applicable to many cases. As for the things more than ten,  use the on'yomi numerals written above.
For example, when you are shopping and don't know how to count the things you want to buy, just point at them, saying  これを五つください(Korewo ITUTU kudasi = May I have five of these items?) or これを十二ください(Korewo ZYUUNI kudasai = May I have 12 of these items?).


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When counting specific things,  the Japanese usually add suffixes or "counters" to the basic numerals.
The "counters" can be classified in two ways: in terms of consonant mutation and category




COUNTERS CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO CONSONANT MUTATIONS

COUNTERS CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO CONSONANT MUTATIONS
 GROUP 1
In this group you can get a given number by simply adding each suffix("counter") to the on'yomi numerals.
Remeber that the consonant [n] becomes [m] when it precedes [b].  i.e. san + ban = samban, not sanban.
枚(mai), 台(dai), 番(ban), 番地(banti), 倍(bai), 秒(byô), 部(bu), 度(do), 語(go), 文字(mozi), 名(mei), 問(mon), 位(i), 畳(zyô)錠(zyô), 行(gyô), 羽(wa), 両(ryô), 夜(ya),  ラウンド(raundo) and so on.
 GROUP 2
In this group slight attention is needed in some numbers. Otherwise all you have to do is just add a suffix ("a counter") to the on'yomi numbers.
人(nin), 月(gatu)円(en)(yen), 字(zi), 時(zi), 時間(zikan), 年(nen),and so on.
 GROUP 3
This group includes the suffix("counter") beginning with [k].
In this group, sokuon (geminate clusters) appears in "1","6","8"and"10".
個(ko)
, 回(kai)回転(kaiten), 階(kai)課(ka)画(kaku), 軒(ken), 件(ken), 巻(kan), 機(ki), ヶ月(kagetu), 箇所(kasyo), 曲(kyoku), 級(kyû)校(kô)区(ku), 組(kumi), and so on.
(NB) The counters of English-origin undergo the mutation only in "10".
カップ(kappu), キロ(kiro), キログラム(kiroguramu)キロメートル(kiromêtoru),and so on.
As for ケース(kêsu), it has two ways of pronunciation, in "1" and "2"  and it may be assumed to belong to another group.
 GROUP 4
This group includes the suffix("counter") beginning with [h] .
In this group, sokuon (geminate clusters) appears in "1","6","8"and"10".
Some "4"s have two pronunciations
The first consonant of the suffix itself changes in "1""3","6","8"and"10".
本(hon), 杯(hai), 匹(hiki), 発(hatu), 歩(ho), 票(hyô), 分(hun), 遍(hen), 品(hin), 泊(haku),and so on.
 GROUP 5
This group includes the suffix("counter") beginning with [p] .
In this group, sokuon (geminate clusters) appears in "6","8"and"10".
Sokuon may appear in "1" in some counters.
ページ(peezi), パーセント(pâsento)パック(pakku) and so on.
 GROUP 6
This group includes the suffix("counter") beginning with [s][t] or [t] .
In this group, sokuon (geminate clusters) appears in "1","8"and"10".
歳(sai), 冊(satu), 隻(seki)世紀(seiki) 足(soku)週(syû), 週間(syûkan), 週目(syûme), 周(syû), 集(syû),  種類(syurui), 章(syô), 滴(teki), 点(ten), 頭(tô), 等(tô), , 着(tyaku), 丁(tyô), 丁目(tyôme), and so on.
 GROUP 7
This group includes the numbers pronounced with kun'yomi.
Actually, the whole set of kun'yomi numbers is used only for dates
日(ka), 通り(tôri), 組(kumi), 切れ(kire), 粒(tubu), ケース(kêsu), 缶(kan), 皿(sara), 品(sina), 箱(hako), 袋(hukuro), 針(hari), 言(koto), 晩(ban), 月(tuki), 仕事(sigoto) and so on.


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COUNTERS CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO CATEGORY
  * GROUP mentioned above
 LIST OF COUNTERS CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO CATEGORY
counter *  the word to which the counter is apply
living things
人(nin) 2 persons
名(mei) 1 persons
匹(hiki) 4 (small) animals, fish, insects
頭(tô) 6 cattle, horses etc
羽(wa) 1 birds, rabbits
general items
個(ko) 3   small things
本(hon) 4 long, cylindrical objects and works of arts
枚(mai) 1 something thin and flat
杯(hai) 4 glasses, cups, spoonfuls etc
缶(kan) 7 cans
カップ(kappu) 3 measurement cups
ケース(kêsu) 7 cases
パック(pakku) 5 cartons
箱(hako) 7 boxes
袋(hukuro) 7 paper bags, plastic bags
皿(sara) 7 dishes
着(tyaku) 6 clothing
足(soku) 6 shoes, socks
something to intake
品(sina) 7  dishes (food), items
品(hin) 4 dishes (food)
丁(tyô) 6 tofu
切れ(kire) 7 piece
粒(tubu) 7 grains, peas
錠(zyô) 1 tablets, capsules
machines, vehicles
台(dai) 1 cars, bikes, electric appliances, machines
機(ki) 3 planes
隻(seki) 6 ships, boats
両(ryô) 1  railroad cars
something related to intelligence, abstract things
冊(satu) 6 books, magazines, notebooks
巻(kan) 3 volumes of books
集(syû) 6 series, collection of books, CDs
通(tû) 6 letters
ページ(pêzi) 5 pages
章(syô) 6 chapters
部(bu) 1 circulations
言(koto) 7 words
字(zi) 2 letters(characters)
文字(mozi) 1 letters(characters)
語(go) 1 words
行(gyô) 1 lines
画(kaku) 3 strokes
点(ten) 6 fine arts
通り(tôri) 6 ways to do something
種類(syurui) 6 kinds
仕事(sigoto) 7 jobs
課(ka) 3 lessons
パーセント(pâsento) 5 percent
 time
年(nen) 2 years
月(tuki) 7 months
月(gatu) 2 the names of the month
ヶ月(kagetu) 3 the duration of the months
週間(syûkan) 6 the duration of the weeks
週目(syûme) 6 the order of the weeks
日(niti)(ka) 7 days, date
時(zi) 2 time
時間(zikan) 2 hours
分(hun) 4 minutes
秒(byô) 1 seconds
夜(ya) 1 nights, evenings
晩(ban) 7 nights, evenings
世紀(seiki) 6  century
泊(haku) 4 overnight stays, overnight trips
歳(sai) 6 ages
frequency
回(kai) 3 frequency, times
度(do) 1 frequency, times
遍(hen) 3 frequency, times
倍(bai) 1 multiples
周(syû) 6 turns
回転(kaiten) 3 turns
ラウンド(raundo) 1 round (golf, boxing)
order, rank, grades
位(i) 1 order, rank
番(ban) 1 order
等(tô) 6 order, grades, class, prize
着(tyaku) 6 order,
級(kyû) 3 grades, rank,
location
箇所(kasyo) 3 places,  mistakes,  parts, passages
階(kai) 3 storey, floors
軒(ken) 3 houses and buildings
区(ku) 3 wards, zones, constituencies
丁目(tyôme) 6 place name(block in the city)
番地(banti) 1 house number
畳(zyô) 1 tatami mats
校(kô) 3 schools
組(kumi) 3 homeroom number
others
円(en)(yen) 2 yen
度(do) 1 degrees
歩(ho) 3 steps
滴(teki) 6 drops
雫(sizuku) 7 drops
件(ken) 3 accidents, incidents, events
発(hatu) 4 shots, explosions
票(hyô) 3 votes
息(iki) 7 breaths, rests


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ALPHABETICAL INDEX
 Below are Kunrei-siki romaji and Hepburn-shiki romaji intentionally mixed together.
倍(bai)  晩(ban) 番(ban) 番地(banchi) 番地(banti) 部(bu) 秒(byô)
着(chaku) 丁(chô) 丁目(chôme)
台(dai)  度(do)
円(en)
袋(fukuro) 分(fun)
月(gatu) 語(go)  行(gyô)
杯(hai) 箱(hako) 泊(haku) 針(hari) 発(hatu) 遍(hen) 匹(hiki) 品(hin) 歩(ho) 本(hon) 袋(hukuro) 分(hun) 票(hyô)
位(i)
字(ji) 時(ji) 時間(jikan) 畳(jô) 錠(jô)
日(ka) 課(ka) ヶ月(kagetu) 回(kai) 階(kai) 回転(kaiten) 画(kaku) 巻(kan) 缶(kan) カップ(kappu) 箇所(kasyo)  ケース(kêsu)   軒(ken) 件(ken)  機(ki) 切れ(kire)  個(ko) 校(kô) 言(koto) 区(ku), 組(kumi)=pair 組(kumi)=classroom  曲(kyoku) 級(kyû)
枚(mai)  名(mei)  文字(moji)  問(mon) 文字(mozi)
年(nen) 人(nin) 日(nichi) 日(niti)
パーセント(pâsento)  パック(pakku) ページ(pêji) ページ(pêzi)
ラウンド(raundo)  両(ryô)
歳(sai) 皿(sara) 冊(satu) 冊(satsu) 隻(seki) 仕事(shigoto) 品(shina) 章(shô) 種類(shurui) 周(shû) 集(shû) 週(shû) 週間(shûkan) 週目(shûme)  仕事(sigoto) 品(sina) 足(soku) 章(syô) 種類(syurui) 周(syû) 集(syû) 世紀(seiki) 週(syû) 週間(syûkan) 週目(syûme)  
滴(teki) 点(ten) 頭(tô) 等(tô) 通り(tôri) 粒(tubu) 月(tuki) 通(tû) 着(tyaku) 丁(tyô) 丁目(tyôme)
羽(wa) 
夜(ya)  円(yen)
字(zi) 時(zi) 時間(zikan) 畳(zyô)錠(zyô)


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