Count in Japanese #2

Beyond the Number 10


In this post, I will attempt to explain what to do when you go above 10.  If you haven’t read Count in Japanese #1, please read this first, as it will walk you through the kanji for 1-10.  I will not cover that information in this post, but hopefully expand your knowledge with a few new kanji and the process of writing numbers beyond the number 10.


First, with the kanji you already know you can now count all the way to 99.  Let us look closer at how to accomplish this goal.  In English, we change words as we count beyond 10 (eleven, twelve, thirteen,…).  In Japanese you combine the words you already know.  I feel Japanese is probably easier to than English in this case.  So for example:

11 十一  「ジュウイチ」
12 十二  「ジュウニ」
13 十三  「ジュウサン」

Since the is followed by a number it is almost like saying 10+# (10+1=11).


Once you reach 20 though you will use a different strategy.  Here you place a number before ten which then is like saying #×10 (2×10=20). Here are a few examples:

20  二十  「ニジュウ」
30  三十  「サンジュウ」
40  四十  「シジュウ」


 You can easily increase this number for example to (21, 22, 23) by using the previous rule of the number following gets added.

21  二十一  「ニジュウイチ」

So in this case it is like saying (2×10+1=21).

At this point it might be a good idea to take a break and try to write the ages of your family members just to be sure you fully understand this process.


kanji-thousandkanji-hundredOk welcome back!  Now it is time to add a few new Kanji to expand our counting.  We will cover two new Kanji which will be “hundred” and “thousand”.  Can you guess how we will use these?  You guessed it, they work just like .  On their own means hundred or one hundred and means thousand or one thousand.  We can combine them with the numbers we already know to make even larger numbers.


Let us do a couple of examples:

100    「ヒャク」
101  百一 「 ヒャクイチ」
This example is like saying (100+1=101)
321  三百二十一  「サンヒャクニジュウイチ」
This example is like saying (3×100+2×10+1=321)
2458  二千四百五十八  「ニセンシヒャクゴジュウハチ」
This example is like saying (2×1000+4×100+5×10+8=2458)

Now you can count into the thousands!  Look for fun ways to use this new knowledge.


kanji-numberOne more Kanji for today this is バン】.  It is used to show a number in a series.  Here is an example that you have probably seen or heard before:

No.1  一番  「イチバン」
No.2  二番  「ニバン」
No.3  三番  「サンバン」

You can put any number before to show that it is in a series.  If you were so inclined you could use in an sentence such as:

これブログは一番です!
“This blog is No.1 !”


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