Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Basic Japanese : Numbers – General one to ten in Japanese

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/07 Others , ,

How to say one to ten in Japanese

There are (more than) two ways for general counting.
The one that is supposed to originate in China and the other is (probably) Japanese original.
Now, the Chinese one is commonly used.

The most common Japanese for one to ten

Japanese Number List 1

With Kanji characters, their sounds should have been introduced to Japan.
They had been changed since then, so now they are not the same as Chinese.

One

Number1_1

“Ichi”.
Its pronunciation is a little similar to English “itchy”, but not prolonging the sound.
It is in the name of a Japanese baseball player “Ichiro”.

With some of counter words, its pronunciation can be shortened.
ex) “Ichi” (one) and “fun” (minute) together become “ippun”.

Two

Number1_2

“Ni”.
A similar to English “knee”, again without prolonging the sound.

In the film entitled “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, there are Knights of “Ni”, who keep saying “Ni!”.
I feel that’s almost exactly the same sound as Japanese “ni”.

Three

Number1_3

“San”.
Similar to English “Son” or “Sun”.

Four

Number1_4

“Yon” or “Shi”.
When we count like “one, two, three, four” in Japanese, I suppose that many people say “ichi, ni, san, shi” instead of “yon”.
However, as an independent number or combination with counter words, most of Japanese say “yon” (or “yo”).
For example, to read out a phone number “987-654-3210″, “4” would be pronounced as “yon”.
Also, when comes with a counter word like “four copies” or “four lumps of sugar” in English, “4” is usually pronounced as “yon” or “yo”, rarely “shi”:

  • “Yon-hon”
    When you count something long and thin like pencils or trees.
  • “Yon-mai”
    For something flat like paper or board.
  • “Yo-nin”
    Meaning “four people”.
    We never say “shi-nin”, which has the exactly same pronunciation as the word meaning “the dead”.
  • “Yokka”
    “Four days” or “the fourth day of the month”.
    The combination of “yo” (four) and “ka” (a counter word for day) becomes “yokka”.
  • “Shi-gatsu”
    This is not a combination of a number and a counter word.
    “Shi-gatsu” means “April”.

Five

Number1_5

“Go”.
Similar to an English word “go” without prolonging the sound.
The same pronunciation as a board game “go”.

Six

Number1_6

“Roku”.
A little similar to English “lock”, but without “c”.
Like “ichi”, this is sometimes shortened.
ex) For “six minutes”, we say “roppun” (“roku” and “fun”).

Seven

Number1_7

“Shichi” or “Nana”.
Some say “hichi” instead of “shichi”.
Unlike “four” (“yon” or “shi”), I feel that these are interchangeable:

  • “Shichi-mai” or “Nana-mai”
    For something flat like paper or board.
    Maybe “nana-mai” is more often heard.
  • “Shichi-nin” or “Nana-nin”
    Meaning “Seven people”.
    The Japanese original title of “Seven Samurai” is “Shichi-nin no Samurai”, but this doesn’t mean “nana-nin” is wrong.
    “Shichi-nin” is perhaps a little more often used, though.
  • “Shichi-ji” or “Nana-ji”
    For “seven o’clock”.
    “Ji” in this case means “hour” or “time”.
    I guess “shichi-ji” is more commonly used.
  • “Shichi-fun” or “Nana-fun”
    “Seven minutes”.
    “Nana-fun” is much more common.
    I suppose it’s because it’s easier to say.
    For “07:07″, I would say “Shichi-ji nana-fun”.

Eight

Number1_8

“Hachi”.
A bit similar to English “hatch”, without “t” sound.
Like “ichi” or “roku”, this may be shortened too.
“Happun” (“hachi” and “fun”) for “eight minutes”.

Nine

Number1_9

“Kyuu” or “Ku”.
The pronunciation of “kyuu” is almost the same as English “cue”.
“Ku” is like “q” in “quick”.
Generally “kyuu” is used with counter words.

  • “Kyuu-mai”
    “Nine pieces of something flat like paper or board”.
  • “Kyuu-nin” or “Ku-nin”
    “Nine people”.
    In this case, both can be used.
  • “Ku-ji kyuu-fun”.
    “09:09″.
    For hour (or time), we say “ku-ji”.
    For minute, “kyuu-fun”.

Ten

Number1_10

“Jyuu”.
Similar to English “Jew”.

With some of counter words, it’s shortened:
“Jyuppon” for “ten something long and thin like pencil”.

For minute, “jippun” (“jyuu” and “fun”).
Pronounces like “zip’n”.
Now many people (including me) say “jyuppun”, but actually it is not correct as Japanese.

[The Kanji for “ten minutes”]
Jyuubun

This one can be read as “jyuu-bun” (pronounced as “Jew b’n”).
In that case, the word means “enough”, not “ten minutes”.

 

Related posts:
#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)

The following two tabs change content below.

kara

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).

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Jinmen-inu

Japanese urban legends – Part 1 –

“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (1) Summer in Japan is ridiculously hot and humid except in some northern areas. So, people enjoy horror stories especially in summer to feel shivering cold. There are many old and new ghost / horror stories in Japan, and I feel it would be nice to introduce some. (It’s […]

Read Article

daiso japan

Go Shopping at a 100 Yen Shop

I’m sure many of those who have been to Japan would agree that one of the places that got them spend money are 100 yen shops. These are shops that sell items that mostly cost 100 yen exclusive of tax. The items range from food to housewares to accessories, or in other words, there’s a […]

Read Article

Iroha 3

Basic Japanese : “Iroha-uta”, line by line – Part 1 –

“Iroha-uta” as a poem I’m going to explain the meaning of the poem in two posts. As I wrote in the previous post, it is thought to be composed in the Heian era (794 – 1185). In the major theory, the poem is said to express a doctrine from the Nirvana Sutra. But the poem […]

Read Article

Lady saying "Arigatou"

Basic Japanese : “Arigatou” – “Thank you” in Japanese

There are several ways of saying “Thank you” in Japanese. In this post, I am going to explain the most common phrase for “Thank you”. Arigatou (gozai masu / mashita) The phrase was derived from “Arigatashi”, which literally means “difficult to be”. The Kanji in “ari” means “there is” or “be (there)”, and another in […]

Read Article

Itadaki masu image

Basic Japanese : “Itadaki masu” – Phrase before meal

When I watch foreign TV dramas, I sometimes see Christian people praying before meal. It seems that the prayer is to appreciate God who have given them food. In Japan, maybe Christians do the same, but I guess most of people say certain phrases before and after dinner instead of a prayer. If you love […]

Read Article

Kyoto Gosho

Go west : Sugawara no Michizane strikes back

After Michizane’s death in 903, people, who were involved with the conspiracy to frame him, died in a mysterious death one after another. Also, there were natural disasters in Kyoto. Victims of vengeance by Sugawara no Michizane Year: Person 906: Fujiwara no Sadakuni (Age: 40) 908: Fujiwara no Sugane (Age: 53) He reported to the […]

Read Article

Red paper, blue paper

Japanese urban legends – Part 2 –

“Toshi densetsu” : Japanese urban legends (2) In this post, there are only two Japanese urban legends. The main topic is a Japanese toilet.   Yume (Dream) A high school girl had a nightmare that she was mangled by a psychopath with his knife on the way home from her school. It was so vivid […]

Read Article

Samurai

Basic Japanese : Historical “I” in Japanese

Old-fashioned / historical “I” in Japanese The following “I” pronouns are well-known and can be quite often heard / seen in historical stories especially those which are set in the Edo period. But, these are rarely used in the present time. Neutral [Temae] “Temae” literally means “before hand(s)”. The near side of someone / something. […]

Read Article

Michizane with his poem

Go west : Dazaifu and Sugawara no Michizane

Sugawara no Michizane is the person who is worshipped as god of study at the shrine, “Dazaifu Tenman-guu”. “Sugawara” is the family name and “Michizane” is the first name. He is also well-known as one of the Big Three Onryou (vengeful spirit) in Japan, along with Taira no Masakado and Emperor Sutoku. Life of Sugawara […]

Read Article

Senpai

Basic Japanese : Japanese business titles

The last post of “Japanese honorific titles” series. For people who are in a (supposed-to-be) honorary post, their business titles are generally used. There are too many to pick up everything, so I just write about some of the most common ones. Each of them can be used after the person’s name. In “Dalziel and […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑