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:

1ichi
10juu
100hyaku
1,000sen
10,000man
100,000,000oku
1,000,000,000,000chou
1016kei
1020gai
1024jo
1028jou
1032kou
1036kan
1040sei
1044sai
1048goku
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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