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On Numbers

beginner Japanese vocabulary

Numbers 1-10

For a more detailed discussion on Japanese numbers, please go here.

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The 'Chinese' Numbers are used for general counting above ten and with counters.
The 'Japanese' Numbers are used for general counting 1-10 but not with counters.

Chinese Numbers



ichi

One



ni

Two



san

Three



shi

yon

Four (two pronunciations)



go

Five



roku

Six



shichi

nana

Seven



hachi

Eight



kyuu

ku

Nine



juu

Ten

Japanese Numbers

一つ

hitotsu

One

二つ

futatsu

Two

三つ

mittsu

Three

四つ

yottsu

Four

五つ

itsutsu

Five

六つ

muttsu

Six

七つ

nanatsu

Seven

八つ

yattsu

Eight

九つ

kokonotsu

Nine



too

Ten

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Two sets.

I was taught the left side of the counting system that was originated from China. I also heard of the right side counting system but was kind of wondering when or what situations it would be best to use the Japan-derived counting system? I'm also aware there are ways to count other objects as well but thats probably for another lesson...

Which one to use?

Are they like extras for both types of numbers? Do you have to learn one set, the other, or both?
But then won't you get confused between the two?

clay's picture

Take a look at this page

Take a look at this page which explains usage a little more. You will have to learn them all, but to start off, you may want to learn the 'Chinese' sounds (ichi, ni, san...) since it is probably the most used and is the only set used after 10.

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Wrong tagging

Ichi, ni, san and so on are the numbers in Japanese... Aren't they???
Here says that Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu... should be chinise numbers... Am i wrong??

clay's picture

They are both 'Japanese,' but

They are both 'Japanese,' but the ichi, ni, san came originally from China and the hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu are native Japanese sounds

TheJapanShop.com- Japanese language learning materials
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hey,

i thought the same thing,are they both Japanese???

phreadom's picture

They're both Japanese now.

They're both Japanese now. :)

It's kind of like how we now use words like tsunami, tofu, etc... which are Japanese words.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tofu#Etymology

The Japanese "borrowed" the Chinese pronunciations for some uses, and continued using their Japanese pronunciations for other uses... but they're all considered Japanese now since they've become a part of the normal usage of the language.

(English does this with numerous languages as well)

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