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Counting in Japanese

Easier than you may think.

In most dojos today, in spite of the local languages that may be spoken in the surrounding area, the language of the dojo will often contain Japanese. One of the most frequent times will be when the sensei or one of the senior students, is counting out loud. In fact learning to count in Japanese is really quite simple, since these commands are used often, and repeated over. and over again. 

Now at some point if you are ever asked to count during the course of a class, try to do so in Japanese. Be sure to count in a firm voice so that all those present can clearly hear you. If you are counting to keep the rhythm to standing punches for example, always remember to count before you punch, not during, or after your technique is finished. This will help to keep both you and the class at a synchronized pace. 

In order to learn count up to ninety-nine all you really need to know are the Japanese terms for the numbers 1 through 10 - after that it is just a matter of remembering to combine these numbers in a specific sequence to get the desired result. 

The numbers from one to ten are pronounced as follows:

one

ichi

two

ni

three

san

four

shi

five

go

six

roku

seven

shichi

eight

hachi

nine

kyu

ten

ju

Above the number ten, the numbers are pronounced differently.

For example the number 11 in Japanese is translated as 10 plus 1.

eleven

ju ichi

twelve

ju ni

thirteen

ju san

fourteen

ju shi

fifteen

ju go

sixteen

ju roku

seventeen

ju shichi

eighteen

ju hachi

nineteen

ju kyu

Twenty translates as 2-10's, the number twenty-one as 2-10's plus 1.

twenty

ni ju

twenty-one

ni juichi

twenty-two

ni juni

and so on, all the way up to the number 99. 

The number 100 is pronounced as, hyaku so counting above 100 is basically just a matter of adding the word, hyaku in the appropriate place and then following the same general principle. So give it a try, and learn to count with confidence.

Remember: "New lessons learnt, will in time become old friends."