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Basic Japanese : Numbers in Japanese from eleven to hundreds (and Zero)

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/13 Others , , , , ,

Numbers in Japanese : Zero and over ten to hundreds

Zero and from 11 to 999.

Zero in Japanese


“Zero” or “Rei”.
“Zero” from English, and “Rei” from Chinese.
The pronunciation of “rei” is almost the same as English “lay”.

Both are very commonly used, and generally considered as the same meaning.
In fact, they aren’t.
When you see Japanese weather forecast, you may hear the word “Rei paasento” (“0 %”) for chance-of-rain.
However, no forecasters will say “Zero paasento”.

“Zero” means “nothing”, “no amount”.
“Rei” means “very little (amount)” as well as “nothing”.
In Japan, forecasters say “Rei paasento” when the rainfall probability is under 5 %.
So, “Rei paasento” in Japanese forecast means that there is a very little probability of rain.
That’s why they use “rei”, not “zero”.

For time, we use “rei”.
Ex.) “0:05″ is “rei-ji go-fun”.

Tens place

Eleven to nineteen

It’s the combination of “jyuu” (ten) and single digit.
For fourteen, “jyuu-shi” or “jyuu-yon”.
For seventeen, “jyuu-shichi” or “jyuu-nana”.
For nineteen, “jyuu-ku” or “jyuu-kyuu”.

Twenty and over

The combination of “one to ten number” and “jyuu”.
For forty, we usually say “yon-jyuu”, but “shi-jyuu” is also acceptable.
For seventy, both “shichi-jyuu” and “nana-jyuu” are fine.
For ninety, we say “kyuu-jyuu”, never “ku-jyuu” except for “99” which can be read as “ku-jyuu ku”.


  • “44” is “yon-jyuu yon” or “yon-jyuu shi”.
    “Shi-jyuu shi” is OK, but “shi-jyuu yon” sounds rather strange to me.
  • “77” is “shichi-jyuu shichi” or “nana-jyuu nana”.
    “Shichi-jyuu nana” or “nana-jyuu shichi” is understood, but I guess that most people use the same sound for the tenth digit and the single digit.
  • “99” is “kyuu-jyuu kyuu”.
    “Ku-jyuu ku” is possible as I wrote above, although I feel that it’s much less common.

    There is a place called “Ku-jyuu ku ri hama” (lit. “Ninety-nine ri beach”) in Japan.
    “Ri” is an old unit for distance.

    I’m not sure if “Kyuu-jyuu ku” is used or not.
    At least I’ve never said that way for “99”.

Hundreds place


For digits over ten, “4” is always read as “yon” and “9” as “kyuu”.
“7” is generally “nana”.

“Hundred” in Japanese is “hyaku”, and basically, it’s the combination of “one to nine number” and “hyaku” (and numbers from one to ninety-nine).
However, some of them are pronounced differently.

  • “100” is just “hyaku”.
    We don’t say “ichi-hyaku”.
  • “101” is “hyaku ichi”.
  • “300” becomes “san-byaku”.
  • “400” is “yon-hyaku”, never “shi-hyaku”.
  • “600” is changed into “roppyaku”.
  • “700” is “nana-hyaku”, not “shichi-hyaku”.
  • “777” is the most commonly “nana-hyaku nana-jyuu nana”.
    I assume that it is easier to say than “nana-hyaku shichi-jyuu shichi” or else.
  • “800” becomes “happyaku”.
    When “800” is written in Kanji as a part of a word, it may be read as “yao”.


    “Yao-ya” literally means “800 house”, but it actually means “greengrocery”.
    The literal meaning of “yao-yorozu” is “8 million”.
    For “8 million”, we read this word as “happyaku-man”, but when we express about numbers of gods in Japan, we say “yao-yorozu no kami” (“Kami” means “god”).
    In this case, it means “numerous”.
    I think that now this is the only pattern when the word is read as “yao-yorozu”.

  • “900” is “kyuu-hyaku”, never “ku-hyaku”.


Related posts:
#Numbers (1: General one to ten)
(2: Minor one to ten)

#Japanese Alphabet (1: “Gojyuu-on” and “iroha-uta”)
(2: Out-of-use characters)
(3: First half of “iroha-uta”)
(4: Second half of “iroha-uta”)

#“I” in Japanese (1) (2) (3)

#Japanese honorific titles (1:Formal) (2:Casual) (3:In text) (4:Business titles)

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A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

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