There are two important things you should know about counting items in Japanese.
One, we use dierent number words as counters for dierent kinds of items; the counter used for counting shirts are dierent from the counter used for counting bottles.
Two, counters often come after, rather than before, the items counted in a sentence.
shatsu o mai kudasai
item number counter
(Ill have) three pieces of shirts, please.
bi i ru o hon kudasai
(Ill have) five bottles of beer, please.
In this lesson, we learn
counters mai and hon on
the text book,
Besides, Ive introduced
kai for oors of a building
and satsu for books and
magazines in the chart as
There is also unique way of
counting without a counter
as the traditional Japanese
way for small things such as
hitotsu as one piece,
futatsu as two pieces,
and so on up to ten.
Let me introduce an unspoken unique system of the Japanese traditional counting way :
hitotsu futatsu mittsu yottsu itsutsu muttsu nanatsu yattsu kokonotsu too
As you see the color-highlighted letters, we learn how to count numbers in the
traditional Japanese way as and as
the shorten version for memorizing in childhoods. Now you see 5 dierent colors
with 2 numbers paired as below :
1 3 4 5 72 6 8 109
hi fu mi yo itsu mu nana ya koko too
Lets see each pair in the Hiragana chart below :
1 x 2 = 2 3 x 2 = 6 4 x 2 = 8 5 x 2 = 10
i in itsutsu can be the supplemental syllable sound for the rest.
(1) x 2 = (2)(3) x 2 = (6)(4) x 2 = (8)
*(5) x 2 = (10)
Now you can see the rule in each pair, the doubled relationship. Paired numbers are not only in the same Gyou (line), but also they are in a multiple relationship as well.
he who me yo its moo nahnah yah coco toe
n a n a t s u k o k o n o t s u
Although numbers that can not be doubled, (7) and (9), they are doubled in repeating same syllables as :
Lets see the shorten way again and read them in applied English sounds as below :
Lets see various counters for things below :(*counter-less means the Japanese original way of counting as hitotsu futatsu.
hon hon dai
dai is for mechanical goodssuch as cars and machines like PC and TV.
**There are exceptionsfor one personand two people.
toosuto ichi mai kami hyaku mai
ringo ikko koppu hyakko
1000wain ippon enpitsu sen bon
1000kohii ippai inu sen biki
pasokon ichi dai
00kuruma hyaku dai
ringo hitotsu koppu too
otoko no hito hitori
onna no ko yo nin