Japanese Names for Large Numbers


Most of the Japanese names for large numbers are taken from Chinese. Therefore we have common names for large numbers in Chinese characters in Japanese and Chinese, but their pronunciation are different. The numeric system evolved in Japan and China differently, and some numbers means different numbers. For example, "" means 106 in Chinese, but it means 1012 in Japanese. Japanese names for large numbers changed in long history little by little, and Japanese now uses number system of the third edition of Jinkouki (oL) by Yoshida in 1627, as shown in the following table.

Japanese font is required to see the Japanese characters of this table.

NameCharacterNumber
Ichi100
Juu\101
HyakuS102
Sen103
Man104
Oku104~2 = 108
Chou104~3 = 1012
Kei104~4 = 1016
Gai104~5 = 1020
Jo104~6 = 1024
Jou104~7 = 1028
Koua104~8 = 1032
Kan104~9 = 1036
Sei104~10 = 1040
Sai104~11 = 1044
Goku104~12 = 1048
Gougasha104~13 = 1052
Asougim_104~14 = 1056
NayutaߗR104~15 = 1060
FukashigisŽvc104~16 = 1064
Muryoutaisuuʑ吔104~17 = 1068

As you can see from the table, the number increases by 104 unit, while 103 unit is used in English. Therefore, for example, 1234567890 is read as "12 oku 3456 man 7890", and 12345678901234567890 is read as "1234 kei 5678 chou 9012 oku 3456 man 7890." The number up to 9999 can also be counted by the above table like "9 sen 9 hyaku 9 juu 9" for 9999. Actually some words slightly changes, like "3 byaku", not "3 hyaku" for 300, but if you just ignore this rule, you can basically count up to 1072-1 by using the above table.

More detailed discussion is available in our Japanese page.


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Names for Large Numbers



Large Number Laboratory