Numbers

How to form big numbers

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Outline

KanjiVocabularyNumbers

Kanji

Three

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Ten

Ten thousand

Vocabulary

Three

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Ten

Ten thousand

Numbers

This lesson will cover the Japanese number system. We will be learning how to form numbers from 1 all the way up to 100,000,000. This lesson only covers the numbers themselves, we will not be learning how to count items. In Japanese, counting items has unique vocabulary depending on the item you are counting. This will be covered in later lessons.

1 to 99

The table below shows the Japanese words for the numbers one to ten:

WordReading
1いち
2
3さん
4よん, し
5
6ろく
7なな, しち
8はち
9きゅう
10じゅう

Two numbers, 4 and 7, have two readings in the table above. When counting the numbers from 1-10 you can use either of the two readings. When counting numbers above 10, 4 is generally read as よん and 7 is read as なな.

To form numbers from 10 to 19, we take the number 10 () and add another number to the right. Take a look below:

  • 10: じゅう
  • 11: 十一じゅういち
  • 12: 十二じゅうに
  • 19: 十九じゅうきゅう

To form numbers which are multiples of 10 (20, 30, 40, etc) we do the same thing but add the second number to the left of the 10.

  • 20: 二十にじゅう
  • 30: 三十さんじゅう
  • 90: 九十きゅうじゅう

We can combine the two systems above to form any number between 1 and 100.

  • 28: 二十八にじゅうはち
  • 34: 三十四さんじゅうよん
  • 89: 八十九はちじゅうきゅう

Past 100

To form numbers above 100 it starts getting a bit more complicated. Take a look at the table below to see the words for numbers above 100:

WordReading
100ひゃく
1,000せん
10,000一万いちまん
100,000,000一億いちおく
1,000,000,000,000一兆いっちょう

Unlike the Western way of grouping numbers every three digits, Japanese groups numbers every four digits above 10,000. In English the number 500,000 represents (500 x 1,000) whereas in Japanese it represents (50 x 10,000). Take a look at some big numbers below to see how they are written:

  • 70,000: 七万ななまん
  • 2,503,578: 二百五十万三千五百七十八にひゃくごじゅうまんさんぜんごひゃくななじゅうはち
  • 154,300,000,000: 千五百四十三億せんごひゃくよんじゅうさんおく

Because large numbers are so hard to read using the kanji, they are often just written using numerals (1234) instead.

Pronunciation of the 百 and 千 change depending on the number that comes before them as shown below:

WordReading
100ひゃく
200二百にひゃく
300三百さんびゃく
400四百よんひゃく
500五百ごひゃく
600六百ろっぴゃく
700七百ななひゃく
800八百はっぴゃく
900九百きゅうひゃく
1,000せん
2,000二千にせん
3,000三千さんぜん
4,000四千よんせん
5,000五千ごせん
6,000六千ろくせん
7,000七千ななせん
8,000八千はっせん
9,000九千きゅうせん
10,000一万いちまん
Complete Lesson
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