Counting in Japanese

Hello All!

Last week I felt really motivated to study Japanese. I’m a morning person, so at 6.30 I was sitting in the kitchen reading and practicing from the book I mentioned in my previous post. My work starts at 9.00 and I usually leave the house around 8, which means I had enough time for my morning routine. On a side note, it actually feels great to wake up early and have time for various activities (reading, training,  you name it).

Half an hour to forty minutes it’s better than nothing, in my case. I sometimes added extra forty minutes to one hour in the evenings, after dinner.

Below are my notes on numbers and how to count in Japanese. These are my own tables, rules and notes. No matter if I read/study from a book or on the internet, without writing what I’m learning I risk learning 20% less at least.

1 – 10

Number Katakana Kanji
0 れい、まる, ゼロ
1 いち
3 さん
4 し、よん
6 ろく
7 しち、なな
8 はち
9 く、 きゆう
10 じゅう

11 – 19

This is going to be very easy, no need for an additional table as one example should do it. The following formula applies:

Start with 10 and place the additional number (1-9) after it

Example:  じゅうしち or じゅうなな – both mean 17

                        (10  +  7)               (10  +  7)

10 – 90 (the tens)

This is also easy to remember:

Combine single numbers with 10

Example:  にじゆう which means 20   

                   (2 + 10)

NOTE:  There is only one way of saying 40, 70 and 90, see below:

What if I want to say 21 or 44 ?

Again, there is one easy formula to help you:

21 にじゆう + いち (20 + 1)

44 よんじゆう + よん/ し (40 + 4)

How old are you?

As a bonus, I include below notes the Japanese way to say your age. It is very much related to numbers, and although, from a conversation point of view, it should be with notes on greeting others and introducing yourself, to me it makes sense to have it here. 

Nansai  desu ka.  – How old are you?

なんさい ですか。


          27    sai desu.  – I am 27 years old.       

にじゅうなな さいです。

1 (year old) いっさい Never いち さい
2 (years old) にさい
3 (years old) さんさい
4 (years old) よんさい Never しさい
5 (years old) ごさい
6 (years old) ろくさい
7 (years old) ななさい Never しちさい
8 (years old) はさい Never はちさい
9 (years old) きゅさい Never はちさい
10 (years old) じさい Never じゅうさい
11 (years old) じゅういっさい
12 (years old) じゅうにさい
13 (years old) じゅうさんさい
14 (years old) じゅうよんさい
15 (years old) じゅうごさい
16 (years old) じゅうろくさい
17 (years old) じゅうななさい
18 (years old) じゅうはっさい
19 (years old) じゅうきゅうさい
20 (years old) はたち Never にじゅうさい
21 (years old) にじゅういっさい
22 (years old) にじゅうにさい
23 (years old) にじゅうさんさい
24 (years old) にじゅうよんさい
25 (years old) にじゅうごさい
26 (years old) にじゅうろくさい
27 (years old) にじゅうななさい
28 (years old) にじゅうはっさい
29 (years old) にじゅうきゅうさい
30 (years old) さんじゅっさい
40 (years old) よんじゅさい
50 (years old) ごじゅうさい
100 (years old) ひゃくさい

I can think of two other common scenarios when people would have to use numbers: counting money and saying what date it is (or birthday). I will cover the above examples later on, as I progress with conversation topics in Japanese.

How do you learn Japanese or any other foreign language? Do you write notes, do exercises from books or the internet? What’s your best technique?