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Counting From One to Ten in Japanese

Level: N5

Game Location: ハコダテ


The main point:

Counting from 1-10 in Japanese is relatively simple. The only thing to watch out for are 4 and 7, which have two pronunciations.

The longer explanation:

Here is how you count from 1-10.

 English Kanji Hiragana
One いち
Three さん
Four し or よん
Six ろく
Seven しち or なな
Eight はち
Nine きゅう
Ten きゅう


What's the difference between the two readings for 4 and 7?

Mostly, it just depends on preference. If you are just counting numbers normally, either one is okay. If a group of native Japanese people are counting together, half will say it one way and half will say it the other.

I have read online that some people avoid saying し due to it being pronounced the same as the word for death in Japanese. I have personally never met a Japanese person that agrees with that. However, し is considered to be an unlucky number because of that, so I don't think it's completely unfounded.


Numbers are not changed by formality in Japanese.

Remember this:

When using numbers to count animals, objects, etc. you will need to use counters. This will be taught later.

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