Learning Japanese Numbers: 1-100 to 1 Trillion

Counting is one of the first things you learn in any language, but Japanese numbers are a little bit different. Numbers in Japanese are so different, in fact, that we’re going to take TWO POSTS to tell you everything about counting in Japanese. If you’re already a little more advanced, you may already be aware of the Japanese counting system. But if not, then let’s start with Japanese numbers and we can learn more from there!

japanese numbers 1-100

The most important thing to remember is that the Japanese have a different set of numbers for counting things, actions, and events than they do for counting people or for counting dates. When you use which system will depend on the suffix of the following counter word. If you don’t know about Japanese counter words, don’t worry. We will be covering those next week!

It may seem confusing at first, but once you learn the different systems it will be second nature to you which one to use when! So first, let’s learn the two different Japanese number systems:

First, we have Sino-Japanese numbers. These readings are based on the On’Yomi (or Chinese pronunciations) of the numbers. The second system is the Native Japanese number system, which is based on the Kun’Yomi, or Japanese pronunciation. Check out this post to learn the difference between On’Yomi and Kun’yomi in Japanese.

Notes on Counting in Japanese

  • The Kun Reading, or Native Japanese numbers, are usually only used up until the #10, but of course there are plenty of exceptions to this!
  • 4 is considered unlucky since the On reading sounds like 死 (the kanji for death). So the Kun reading is preferred for almost all numbers containing 四.
  • For the number 7 (七) nana is often preferred over shichi, but both readings are used depending on what you’re talking about.
  • Since the saying of 9 (九) sounds like 苦 (the kanji for suffering), it is usually pronounced kyu instead and hospitals often avoid having a Ward 9.
  • Large numbers are divided into units of ten thousand, so 1 million is one hundred tenthousands: 百萬 (hyaku man).
  • On financial and legal documents, complex forms of the numerals known as 大字 (daiji) are used to prevent fraud.

 

Number Character On Reading
Sino-Japanese
Kun Reading
Native Japanese
零 / 〇* れい (rei)
1 いち (ichi) ひと・つ (hito(tsu))
2 に, じ (ni, ji ) ふた・つ (futa(tsu))
3 さん (san) み・っつ (mi(ttsu))
4* し (shi) よん、よ・っつ (yon, yo(ttsu))
5 ご (go) いつ・つ (itsu(tsu))
6 ろく (roku) む・っつ (mu(ttsu))
7*  しち (shichi) なな・つ (Nana (tsu))
8 はち (hachi) や・っつ (ya(ttsu))
9* く, きゅう (ku, kyū) ここの・つ (kokono(tsu))
10 じゅう (jū) とお (tō)
11 十一 じゅういち (jū ichi)
12 十二 じゅうに (jū ni)
13 十三 じゅうさん (jū san)
14*
十四 じゅうし (jū shi) じゅうよん (jū yon)
15 十五 じゅうご (jū go)
16 十六 じゅうろく (jū roku)
17*
十七  じゅうしち (jū shichi) じゅうなな (jū nana)
18 十八 じゅはち (jū hachi)
19 十九 じゅきゅう (jū kyū)
20
二十 にじゅう (ni-jū) hata(chi) / はた・ち
30
三十 さんじゅう (san-jū) みそ・じ (miso(ji))
40*
四十 しじゅう (shi-jū) よんじゅう (yon-jū)
50 五十 ごじゅう (go-jū)
60 六十 ろくじゅう (roku-jū)
70*

七十  しちじゅう (shichi-jū) ななじゅう (nana-jū)
80 八十 はちじゅう (hachi-jū)
90 九十 きゅうじゅう (kyū-jū)
100 ひゃく (hyaku) もも (momo)
200 二百 にひゃく(ni hyaku)
300 三百 さんびゃく
(san byaku)
400 四百 よんひゃく(yon hyaku)
500 五百 ごひゃく(go hyaku)
600 六百 ろっぴゃく
(ro ppyaku)
700 七百  – ななひゃく (nana hyaku)
800 八百 はっぴゃく
(ha ppyaku)
900 九百 きゅうひゃく
(kyū hyaku)
1,000 千, 一千 せん (sen, i ssen) (ち/chi)
2,000 二千 にせん (ni sen)
3,000 三千 さんぜん(san zen)
4,000 四千 よんせん (yon sen)
5,000 五千 ごせん (go sen)
6,000 六千 ろくせん (roku sen)
7,000 七千  – ななせん(nana sen)
8,000 八千 はっせん (ha ssen)
9,000 九千 きゅうせん (kyū sen)
10,000 一万/ 萬 いちまん (ichi-man) (よろず/ yorozu)
20,000 二万 にまん (ni-man)
30,000 三万 さんまん (san-man)
40,000 四万 よんまん (yon man)
50,000 五万 ごまん (go-man)
60,000 六万 ろくまん (roku-man)
70,000 七万  – ななまん(nana man)
80,000 八万 はちまん
(hachi-man)
90,000 九万 きゅうまん
(kyū-man)
100,000 十万 じゅうまん (ju-man)
1 million 百万 ひゃくまん
(hyaku-man)
10 million 一千万 いっせんまん (i ssen man)
100 million 一億 いちおく (ichi oku)
1 trillion 一兆 いっちょう (I ccho)

 

Japanese Numbers for Person

And of course, if you are counting people, they have yet ANOTHER Japanese number system! You can use the Japanese counter for person,  (にん –). Except for numbers 1 and 2, which are irregular.

 

一人 (ひとり, hitori) 1 person
二人 (ふたり, futari) 2 people
三人 (さんにんsannin) 3 people
四人 (よにんyonin) 4 people
五人 (ごにんgonin) 5 people
六人 (ろくにん, rokunin) 6 people
七人 (しちにん, shichinin) 7 people
八人 (はちにん, hachinin) 8 people
 九人 (きゅうにん, kyuunin) 9 people
十人 (じゅうにん, juunin) 10 people

 

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