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  • Alternatively, look for a component in the list. 氵 艹 口 each have three strokes; 夫 has four strokes
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Grammar detail: Japanese numbers and counting

Japanese numbers and counting
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334 words
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one to ten

1いち
2
3さん
4し/よん
5
6ろく
7しち/なな
8はち
9きゅう
10じゅう
4 and 7 are slightly irregular: when used on their own, either the し or しち (which are the
おんよ
音読
み) or the よん or なな (the
くんよ
訓読
み) can be used. Above 10, however, or when used with counters (eg 七万), either is correct, but よん and なな are much more common.

ten to ninety-nine

Past ten, Japanese is completely regular, so counting is as simple as putting the number of tens with the number of ones. So for example:
  • 57 = 五十七 (ごじゅうなな) = five tens + seven
  • 99 = 九十九 (きゅうじゅうきゅう) = nine tens + nine
  • 44 = 四十四 (よんじゅうよん) = four tens + four

one hundred to ten thousand

From 100 to 10000, Japanese largely mirrors English: the Japanese terms for 100 and 1000 are used and combined in the same way.
100ひゃく213 ➜ 二百十三 (にひゃくじゅうさん)
1000せん3406 ➜ 三千四百六 (さんぜんよんひゃくろく)

above ten thousand

Unlike the Western system, which counts in multiples of a thousand, Japanese counts in multiples of 10,000, so numbers larger than 10,000 take a bit of thought to 'convert' from the Western system to Japanese.
10,000 = 10^4まん12000 ➜ 10000 + 2x1000 ➜ 一万二千 (いちまんにせん)
10,000 x 10,000 = 100,000,000 = 10^8おく105 million ➜ 1 x 100 million + 500 x 10,000 ➜ 一億五百万 (いちおくごひゃくまん)
10,000 x 10,000 x 10,000 = 1000,000,000,000 = 10^12ちょう1 trillion ➜ 1 million x 1 million ➜ 一兆 (いっちょう)

generic counting

When you don't know a counter, or a counter is not readily suitable, the standard numbers can be turned into counters by using the following
くんよ
訓読
み:
1一つひとつ
2二つふたつ
3三つみっつ
4四つよっつ
5五ついつつ
6六つむっつ
7七つななつ
8八つやっつ
9九つここのつ

counters for objects and other things

For counting actual objects as opposed to just expressing a number, Japanese uses a unique system of 'counters', terms which are placed after the number and which partially describe the object being counted.
For example,
まい
is the counter for flat objects such as sheets of paper, so to say 'five sheets of paper' in Japanese, you would say
かみごまい
which literally means 'paper 5 flat objects'.
While this seems unusual at first, and is often touted as a difficult feature of Japanese, we are actually doing exactly the same thing in English (five sheets of paper), but English is much less regular than Japanese.
Dates and times use counters in the same way - see dates and time for details.
Counters on Kanshudo
Japanese has several hundred counters. Below we provide a summary of the forty or so most common ones. You can use the following search to find all counters in Japanese: search for all counters. For each counter, you can use the following syntax to find all words in the system that use the counter, which will help you understand how to modify the reading as you use the counter: counter:切れ.
The most common counters
counter             usagesearch                            
まい
flat objects such as paper or bookscounter:枚
ほん
cylindrical or long objects such as bottles or chopsticks
note: this is a little confusing, since ほん means 'book', but it is not used to count books
counter:本
さつ
bookscounter:冊
じん
peoplecounter:人
ひき
small animalscounter:匹
かい
number of times something happenscounter:回
ふん
minutes - see telling the time in Japanesecounter:分
small round objectscounter:個
かしょ

かしょ
placescounter:箇所
counter:ヶ所
birdscounter:羽
さい
years old / age
note: '20 years old' is irregular: is not read にじゅっさい as you would expect, but instead はたち
counter:歳
さい
years old
note: this is commonly used, but not technically correct: is the correct counter
counter:才
じょう
tatami mats
note: this is the typical way to measure the area of a room
counter:畳
だい
cars and other vehicles, machinescounter:台
めい
people (polite alternative to , used by businesses and restaurants etc.)counter:名
wordscounter:語
かこくご
languagescounter:カ国語
かげつ
months
alone can also be used in certain situations
counter:か月
counter:月
にち
day (of the month)counter:日
かかん
period of dayscounter:日間
けん
buildingscounter:軒
つう
letters, telegrams etccounter:通
ぎょう
rows (in a document etc)counter:行
ばん
platforms (in a railway station etc)counter:番
かい
floors (in a building)counter:階
びん
(plane) flightscounter:便
さつ
banknotescounter:札
きゃく
chairs, tables, legs (of chairs and tables etc)counter:脚
こう
items (in a checklist); paragraphscounter:項
はく
nights (eg of a stay in a hotel)counter:泊
せい
generations; monarchs (Elizabeth I etc)counter:世
とう
large animals, cattlecounter:頭
かん
volumes (eg books); reels (eg film)counter:巻
copies (eg of a publication)counter:部
きれ
pieces of sashimi (literally 'cuts')
note: this counter is slightly irregular - use the search link for details
counter:切れ
ちゃく
suits of clothingcounter:着
そく
pairs of shoes etc.counter:足
わり
tenths; lots of 10%counter:割
childrencounter:児
つぶ
pills, tablets etccounter:粒
In Japanese, counters are known as
じょすうし
助数詞
.

numerical order

The order of objects can be expressed using the form:
number + counter + 目 (め)
For example:
  • 三つ目 (みっつめ) third (generic object)
  • 九人目 (きゅうにんめ) ninth person
  • 二回目 (にかいめ) second time
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Kanji used in this grammar

イチ   イツ   ひと    ひと- one   
ニ   ふた    ふた two   
サン   み    みっ three   
シ   four   よ    よ    よっ    よん    
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ゴ   いつ-    いつ five   
ロク   むっ six   む    むい    む    
シチ   なな    なな    なの seven   
ハチ   や    や    よう eight   
ク   キュウ   ここの nine   
ジュウ   ジッ   と    とお ten   
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オン   イン   sound   おと    ね    
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ドク   トク   トウ   よ to read   
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クン    teaching, precept; Japanese reading of a kanji   
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マン   バン    10,000   
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ヒャク    hundred; 100   
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セン   1000; thousand   ち 1000   
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オク    hundred million   
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チョウ   きざ sign, indication   きざ to show signs (of)   
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ボク   モク   eye   ま-    め    
ジン   ニン   ひと person   
カイ   エ   まわ to revolve   まわ to make turn   
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