Counting is Easy in Japanese

What do you mean the commas are in the wrong place?

If you’re anything like me then you find counting in English to be very confusing. I mean, it goes “ten”, then ten tens are one “hundred”, then ten hundreds are one “thousand’, then ten thousands are one… well, one “ten thousand”. What? Isn’t there any kind of system here?

In Japanese, it’s far easier: “juu” (10), then juu juus are one “hyaku” (100), then juu hyakus are one “sen”, then juu sens are one “man”. That’s about as high as you usually need to go, but eventually, man mans are one “oku” and man okus are one “chou”.

Easy. And, just as intuitively, the commas come after each man, so here you have:


– Which is, straightforwardly, eight cho, five hyaku and nine-juu-five oku, nine sen two hyaku and eight-juu-eight man.

If only English were so clear!

Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people