One Two Three in Japanese: Unlock the Numeric System in an INSPIRING way

How to count 1 to 10 in Japanese One Two Three in Japanese Japanese Lessons

Konnichiwa, I’m Kofumi!

If I am learning a new language, I would probably start with learning basic greetings.  Then one of the basics I would like to learn is numbers.

Today, I’d like to introduce such a fun way to learn how to count from 1 to 10 in Japanese. After that, I will explain how to count from 10 onwards as well. I’m sure you’ll be very impressed how quickly you learnt it!

I’d like to recommend to read today’s article, if you:

  • just started to learn Japanese
  • are interested in learning counting in Japanese
  • would like to learn counting in Japanese in a fun way!
  • are interested in learning something using awesome mnemonic tricks!

Counting 1 to 10 in Japanese

First of all, shall we get a grasp of the Japanese numbers?  Here are the numbers from one to ten:

  • いち (ichi) – One
  • に (ni) – Two
  • さん (san) – Three
  • し (shi) or よん (yon) – Four
  • ご (go) – Five
  • ろく (roku) – Six
  • なな (nana) or しち (shichi)  – Seven
  • はち (hachi) – Eight
  • きゅう (kyuu) – Nine
  • じゅう (juu) – Ten

Okay, do they sound daunting to you?

Perhaps, I can introduce learning 1 to 10 in Japanese with nifty mnemonics for you!


Wait! What are mnemonics???

A mnemonic is a word, sentence, poem, etc. that helps you to remember something.

Oxford learner’s dictionaries1

So, shall we look at them one by one?

Number 1 ( いち – Ichi ) -“Itchy”

Let’s start with number 1, which is ‘ichi’ in Japanese. Imagine you have an ‘itchy’ knee. So, ‘ichi’ sounds like ‘itchy’!

mnemonic ichi itchy

Number 2 ( に – ni ) – “Knee”

Moving to number 2, which is ‘ni’. It sound like ‘knee’!

mnemonic ni knee

Number 3 ( さん – san ) – “Sun”

Now, let’s learn number 3, ‘san’. Imagine a bright ‘sun’ shining down on you!

mnemonic san sun

Number 4 ( し – shi ) – “She”

Number 4 is ‘shi’, which sounds like ‘she’.

mnemonic shi she

Number 5 ( ご – go ) – “go”

Let’s move on to number 5, which is ‘go’ in Japanese. Say English ‘go’ without the sound of /℧/ at the end.

Number 6 ( ろく – roku ) – “rock”

Number 6, ‘roku’, can be remembered with a ‘rock’!

Number 7 ( なな – nana ) – “Nana”

For number 7, ‘nana’, imagine a cute grandma smiling at you.

mnemonic nana Nana

Number 8 ( はち – hachi ) – “hatch”

How about number 8, ‘hachi’ reminds us of a hatching egg!

Number 9 ( きゅう – kyuu ) – “cue”

Moving on to number 9, which is ‘kyuu’ in Japanese. Picture a cue for a pool and a number 9 ball.

Number 10 ( じゅう – juu ) – “jus”

Last but not least, number 10, ‘juu’, can be remembered with delicious Sunday dinner roast with red wine ‘jus’.

One two thee in Japanese video

Well, I hope the all the pictures and mnemonics helped you learn Japanese. Moreover, I created a video to learn it as well! It’s fun and easy to learn counting in Japanese. Please click on ↓

How to count in Japanese, One Two Three in Japanese, counting in Japanese with Mnemonics

How about after 10?

I hope you had fun whilst learning 1 to 10 in Japanese with my video. I would say it was the most difficult part to learn counting in Japanese.  Because after 10, there is a quite CLEAR and EASY rule to count up.

Counting 10 to 20

Let’s see how to count 10 to 20 in Japanese!

Counting from 10 to 20 in Japanese is a straightforward process. Here’s how it’s done:

  • 10 – じゅう (juu) 
  • 11 – じゅういち (juuichi)
  • 12 – じゅうに (juuni)
  • 13 – じゅうさん (juusan)
  • 14 – じゅうし (juushi)
  • 15 – じゅうご (juugo)
  • 16 – じゅうろく (juuroku)
  • 17 – じゅうしち (juushichi)
  • 18 – じゅうはち (juuhachi)
  • 19 – じゅうきゅう (juukyuu)
  • 20 – にじゅう (nijuu)

I bet you can see the pattern here easily.

Simply combine the basic number with the word for ten (じゅう – juu) to form the numbers from 11 to 19.

For 20, it’s formed by combining the number for two (に – ni) with ten (じゅう – juu).

This pattern makes counting from 10 to 20 in Japanese a breeze!

Counting to 100 in Japanese

So, you learnt how to count 10 to 20 and I assure you that counting to 100 is the exact same easy process!  Yes, it’s that EASY!

You just need to change the prefix depending on what number is at tens.

Here’s how to do it:

  • 10: じゅう (juu)
  • 20: にじゅう (nijuu)
  • 30: さんじゅう (sanjuu)
  • 40: よんじゅう (yonjuu)
  • 50: ごじゅう (gojuu)
  • 60: ろくじゅう (rokujuu)
  • 70: ななじゅう (nanajuu)
  • 80: はちじゅう (hachijuu)
  • 90: きゅうじゅう (kyuujuu)
  • 100: ひゃく (hyaku)

To form numbers between 21 and 99, you combine the specific number with the word for ten. 

For example, to say 27, you would say “にじゅうなな” (nijuu nana). 

How easy is that!

Wrap up -How to Count in Japanese

Counting from 1 to 100 in Japanese may appear as a tough journey, but you may have realised it is actually quite easy once you learnt the basic rules.

Tips to learn how to count in Japanese

  1. Learn 1 to 10. – You can use my mnemonic video!
  2. Learn multiples of 10 to 100
  3. You just combine multiple of 10 and ones as you learnt!

Hope you enjoyed learning how to count in Japanese with me and thank you very much for reading this article to the end!  

Lastly, If you’ve enjoyed my mnemonic video, I’d be truly grateful if you could subscribe to my YouTube channel, Animated Japanese. I’ve been making short hiragana animations to learn Japanese characters in a fun way. Also, I’m planning to make more videos to make learning Japanese more fun! By subscribing, you’ll stay updated with my latest content and help support my efforts to create more videos that you might find valuable and enjoyable. Your support means the world to me! Thank you for considering subscribing!

See you at the next lesson shortly!

  1. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries ↩︎