How to count from one to ten in Japanese

At some stage in your early karate career, you will need to learn how to count from one to ten in Japanese.  In this article I will share with you how to do so. I will also reveal the secret reason why we want to count in Japanese.

Even though we speak English in our dojo, there is a lot of Japanese language used as well. When the sensei counts, he usually counts in Japanese.

The Secret of why we count in Japanese in Karate

The reason for counting in Japanese is that karate is a Japanese martial art, and all the moves, kicks, punches, etc have Japanese names.  Your teacher is Sensei, your sequences of moves are called Kata, and so it is only natural to be able to call out the running total of opponents you just defeated in Japanese as well :-).

How to count in Japanese

NumberJapaneseHow I’d pronounce it
1ichiitchy
2ninee
3sansun
4shishe
5gogoh
6rokurocke
7shichish-tee
8hachihuttsee (bless you)
9kyuqueue
10juujoo

This is how I would write out the sounds. Now let’s hear how to count from one to ten in Japanese from a Japanese speaker, shall we? Click on the following video to listen:

Counting in Japanese Beyond Ten

Counting beyond ten in Japanese is quite straightforward. You simply combine the numbers in order to make the number combination you want. For example the number 11 in Japanese is translated as “10 plus 1”, as “jyu ichi”.

The numbers from 11 to 19:

NumberJapanese
11jyu ichi
12jyu ni
13jyu san
14jyu shi
15jyu go
16jyu roku
17jyu shichi
18jyu hachi
19jyu kyu
20ni jyu (two tens)

Notice how twenty is composed? Yep, it’s “two tens”. So to make twenty-one in Japanese we’d say “two tens and one” like this: “ni jyu ichi”.
Twenty-two is therefore “ni jyu ni”.
That pattern continues all the way up to ninety-nine, which is “kyu jyu kyu”.

The final number I want to teach you here is 100, which is “hyaku”.

So, now, you can defeat TONS of (well, at least 100) opponents all while counting in Japanese!

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8 Responses to How to count from one to ten in Japanese

  1. holly says:

    this web is alsome it realy helped me learn how to count in japan.
    I think it the best website

  2. obinna says:

    this page is great..

  3. arshad says:

    very help full ….thank you 🙂

  4. help full thanks you….

  5. Anandu says:

    This is great ! I learnt to count in japanese in just ten mins!! 😀 VERY HELPFUL !

  6. J- says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. It was quite simple and very easy and quick to learn. Arigato 😀

  7. Lameck Manyara says:

    that is brilliant stuff.

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