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Volume 7: Number Units 数の単位

clay's picture
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Kotoba Zamurai
Kotoba zamurai articles are written to be a non-systematic approach to learning unusual, but useful words. While these not-so-serious articles are written with the upper-beginner to intermediate in mind, even beginners should be able to get something out of them. If not, I may have wasted 15 minutes of your life... I will leave it up to you to take the chance.

Volume 7: Number names 数の単位

I'm sure you know 一 (ichi 1) and you have probably heard of 兆 (chou 1,000,000,000,000), but have you ever heard of 無量大数?

無量大数 originated in an ancient Japanese book on math and numbers in 1632. It originally meant 1088, and while there are still people who hold to that meaning, most moderns (apparently) take it to mean 1068.

Honestly, anything above 1 may not be extremely useful, but just in case you find yourself counting particles of anti-matter or the amount the government spends on square-widgets-for-round-holes, here is a chart to help:

1 ichi
10 juu
100 hyaku
1,000 sen
10,000 man
100,000,000 oku
1,000,000,000,000 chou
1016 kei
1020 gai
1024 jo
1028 jou
1032 kou
1036 kan
1040 sei
1044 sai
1048 goku
1052 恒河沙 gougasha
1056 阿僧祇 asougi
1060 那由他 nayuta
1064 不可思議 fukashigi
1068 無量大数 muryoutaisuu

不可思議 is also used to mean 'really 不思議' = mysterious; incomprehensible

不可思議な現象 fukashigi no genshou - a mysterious phenomenon
不可思議なる宇宙 fukashigi naru uchuu - the unfathomable universe

For more information on 無量大数, see here. And for a fuller table of numbers including fractions, see here.

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I won't forget GOKU(10^48),

I won't forget GOKU(10^48), that's for sure!

Pianogirl123's picture

The japanese number system

Is pretty straightforward in naming. Starting from 10,000 they have a specific name for every 4 powers of 10.

I think you are missing some zero's on 兆
1兆=1万x1億. Or in English, one trillion (1 x 10^12)

phreadom's picture


Thanks. I've gone ahead and fixed both instances of it.


two_heads_talking's picture

10 to the 16th power and

10 to the 16th power and more? Who even uses those numbers? I suppose a bank might.. I've never even heard of 10 to the 16th or higher.. guess I just don't count enough.. lol


Scientist use numbers that large. I'm studying to become a physicist and we regularly use number that large.

"I reject your reality and substitue my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbuster

clay's picture

What do you use when you

What do you use when you count sand grains on the beach?!

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