When it comes to the Japanese counting system, they sure don’t make it easy for us. Things are put into categories and given different counting systems. For example, the way you count the number of books on a shelf is different to how you would count the number of fish in the ocean.
The way you count bottles of beer is different to the way you would count pieces of paper. The way you count humans is different to how you count dogs and so on.
In today’s blog we are going to be looking at some of the most popular counters and learn how to count up to 10 in each category. There are countless more categories, but odds are, in daily conversation, these are the counters that are going to be coming up the most. So, ready? 3, 2, 1, GO!
- 1 The Basics
- 2 How to count seconds(time) in Japanese
- 3 How to count & Read Japanese Numbers
- 4 Learn Japanese online with BondLingo?
- 5 Study in Japan?
We are sure that you must have come across this so far in your Japanese studies. These are the standard numerical counters used in Japanese. You can add things like さい to indicate ageじ to indicate time and かい to indicate times in Japanese.
|4||よん・し||yon / shi|
|7||なな・しち||nana / shichi|
THE つ counter
The Tsu counter counts most… “things.” It’s really useful as you can count just about any object with it.
Counting the days in Japanese
The Ka counter lets you count the days in the month. Pay close attention to the first counter however as it is slightly different to the rest.
Counting People in Japanese
When it comes to counting people, we can use the 人 Nin particle. This is only for humans and not for animals.
THE ほん (本) COUNTER
This hon counter counts things that are long and skinny like bottles, flutes and spines.
THE 枚 (まい) COUNTER
This counter is used to count flat things such as paper, cards and photos.
Counting Books in Japanese
The Satsu counter counts things such as books and magazines.
THE 個 (こ) COUNTER
The Ko counter is used as a general counter and a good fall back if your not sure how to count something.
So there we have it guys, these are certainly the most common counters in Japanese but you should take the time to go and find some of the others too.
It’s always nice to fall back on the “TSU” and “KO” counters if you completely forget the specific counter.
Hope you enjoyed todays lesson on counters guys, またね.
How to count seconds(time) in Japanese
Time in Japanese is “時間（じかん）”. To count “時間” in Japanese, we use units such as “秒(びょう）”, “分（ふん）”, and “時（じ）”
First let’s start studying the counter for seconds; “秒（びょう）”. Take a look at the pronunciation chart below.
There are no changes on how you read “秒” and therefore it is an easy counter for Japanese beginners to learn.
How to count minutes in Japanese
Now let’s look at the unit for minutes; “分（ふん）”. As you can see below, the unit for minutes has an irregular way of reading “分” according to the number. They can be read as ふん and ぷん. Note that there are some number of minutes that can be called in two different ways.
How to count hours in Japanese
The unit for hours; “時（じ）” does not have an irregular way of counting same with the unit for seconds.
By using these units the time can be expressed. When you are asked 今何時ですか（What time is it?）you should be able to answer the questions if you have mastered the units.
Ex)3:45 → 三時四十五分 （さんじよんじゅうごふん)
午後（ごご） means PM（ごぜん） and 午前 is AM in Japanese. In Japnanese 午前 and 午後 must be written before the numbers. The casual way to express if it is AM or PM is by saying 朝の（あさの）for AM and 夜の（よるの）for PM. 朝 means morning and 夜 means night in Japanese.
Ex)17:49:23 → 十七時四十九分二十三秒（じゅうしちじよんじゅうきゅうふんにじゅうさんびょう） OR 午後五時四十九分二十三秒 （ごぜんごじよんじゅうきゅうふんにじゅうさんびょう）
11:54 → 十一時五十四分（十一時五十四分 OR 午前十一時五十四分)
When you are talking about time and want to say “something- thirty” you can use 半（はん）instead of saying 三十分. 半 means half.
Ex)1:30 → 1時半
How to count duration in Japanese
The unit for hours is 時間（じかん）. This might seem to be weird for you since 時間 means time like it says in the first sentences of this article. For 時間 there is only one way to read as well.
The units for “時間（じかん）”is very important and useful so please take time when remembering.
How to count & Read Japanese Numbers
Learn Japanese online with BondLingo?