How to count in Japanese

count in japanese to a billion

Ichi, Ni, San, Shi...

1 = Ichi
2 = Ni
3 = San
4 = Shi 
5 = Go
6 = Roku
7 = Shichi
8 = Hachi
9 = Kyu
10 = Jiu

Want to continue counting? In Japanese they always mention the tens first. Like Ten-One = 11. Then, Two-Ten = 20, etcetera.

11 = Jyu-Ichi
12 = Jyu-Ni
13 = Jyu-San
14 = Jyu-Shi
15 = Jyu-Go
16 = Jyu-Roku
17 = Jyu-Shichi
18 = Jyu-Hachi
19 = Jyu-Kyu
20 = Ni-Jyu

Not that you'll need them in the Dojo..

100 = Hyaku
1.000 = Sen
10.000 = Man
1.000.000 = Hyaku-Man
100.000.000 = Ichi-Oku = Jyu-Oku = Chou

There is also things like first, second and third

They have a different kind of character:

  • Hitotsu
  • Futatsu
  • Mittsu

learn how to count to ten in japanese with this digi dojo kids video

Just follow my lead...

how to count in the dojo

Karate is a Japanese art, so many Japanese words are used. Counting is of course done using Nihongo (Japanese language).

In the Dojo during warm-up or rhythm-type exercises you usually don't count further than 1-8. This has to do with rhythm as well as equal practise of the left and right side. 

In our Dojo, we use a system that we learned from Nukina sensei.
The sensei counts Ichi, Ni, San, Shi and the students continue: Go, Roku, Shichi, Hachi.

I personally favor this method because of mental preparation and team spirit.

"Traditionally" -according to Sakagami sensei- Taiso counting was done like this:

Ichi, Ni, San, Shi, Go, Roku, Shichi, Hachi. (first sequence)
Ni, Ni, San, Shi, Go, Roku, Shichi, Hachi. (second sequence)
San, Ni, San, Shi, Go, Roku, Shichi, Hachi. (third sequence)


That said..

When doing kicks and punches, it is normal to count to ten! Or, when sensei counts, it might be like:

Ichi, Ey, Am, Ob, Ey, Ib.

So don't get too hung up on formal counting..


Counting is done for rhythm-like and structural purpose. And the way you count, should suit the exercise.

If you are interested to find out more, I recommend you to visit this page.