Counting in Japanese
Counting in Japanese is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. The Japanese counting system is much more logical than it is in English. The Chinese and Korean counting systems are very similar in structure to Japan’s. This difference is the reason that Asian children learn to count much faster than American children. For example, an average Chinese four year-old can count to 40, whereas his/her American counterpart can only count to 15.
Here is how to count to ten in Japanese
Here is how to count to ten a along with some mnemonics to help you remember each of the numbers:
- Ichi (Like eecheee. A single itchy bug bite.)
- Ni (Like knee. Two knees.)
- San (Like sahn. A father with three sons.)
- Shi/yon (Like she / yone. Four women talking together. I yawned four times in a row!)
- Go (Like it sounds. Go to 5th street.)
- Roku (Like rohkoo. Six big rocks in the stream.)
- Nana/shichi (Like nahnah/sheechee. A bunch of seven baNANAs.)
- Hachi (Like hachee. Can’t think of one… any ideas?)
- Kyu (Like que. Nine people in the queue at the airport.)
- Jyu (Like joo. Jujube candies stuck to all ten of your fingers.)
How to count to 20 in Japanese- it’s a cinch once you know the basics.
Now that you have 1-10, it will be pretty easy for you to count to 20. Here is how it works:
…And if you can do that, you can easily count to 100!
21. Ni jyu ichi (two tens one).
22. Ni jyu ni (two tens two).
23-30. Same pattern.
30. San jyu
40. Yon jyu
50. Go jyu
60. Roku jyu
70. Nana jyu
80. Hachi jyu
90. Kyu jyu
Counting above 100 basically uses the same structure. As an example: Hyaku ni jyu ichi (121).