Remember all the different numbers

I feel like I am going crazy. The numbers for the kanji, don’t have the same pronunciation as the vocabulary, which isn’t always the same as the number of things, and on top of that doesn’t use the same for the number of days.

How do you keep all the numbers apart? I feel like I am on numbers overload. Words like sixteen or other counting type ones are so easy.

Any suggestions?

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This article might provide some clarification! Japanese numbers can be a little crazy.


Are you talking about the “tsu” counters, like hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu etc.?

They’re exceptions, there’s nothing to do but memorize them. If it’s any consolation, you get used to it, it becomes natural after a while.


Don’t worry too much, you will 100% get it after a while. Just keep failing. Good luck!


Yeah, all the different numbers are a mess. I think they may have been a major contributing factor for me not continuing past level three the first time I tried WK. You just have to push past them to get to the normal vocabs that usually follow the normal rules.

You will also come across 人 and 日 which will try your patience. Just know that we’ve all been there and it really does get better. (I may or may not still have some counter items in my apprentice queue while I’m on level 15…)

Ooo Also! If you listen to any J-pop try to find some songs with counting in them.

Thank you, I appreciate your support. I can count to ten, but it just seems like there are so many different ways to express the same numbers.

For example:
Six is ろく
Six things is むっつ
Six days is むいか

Happen to know any J-Pop to suggest?

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i got you holmes

note that in the chart below i made a mistake. 9 things is actually kokonotsu, therefore 9 and 5 are both easy, being that itsu / kokono are used in both the tsu and ka columns.



It’s not anything distinct to numbers. It’s just like with the readings for a wide variety of words. Sometimes the kunyomi reading is used and sometimes the onyomi reading is used. Just like with anything else, you need to just remember when a counter uses the kunyomi vs onyomi reading. It’s like how 人 can be ジン, ニン or ひと.

For example in the cases you mention, む is the kunyomi for six and ろく is the onyomi.

yeah but there is no obvious way to derive the い in むいか. I mean, why not むっか?

Not true. むい is a kunyomi reading of 六.

Or to quote jisho:


  1. six​陸 is used in legal documents

Other forms

六 【む】、六 【むう】、6 【ろく】、6 【む】、6 【むう】、陸 【ろく】、陸 【む】、陸 【むう】{quote}

i don’t see むい in the text you quoted!


Kun: む.つむっ.つむい

On: ロクリク


right so what i said was

there are lots of alternate kun readings and no obvious way to figure out which one is to be used in the case of counting days. just memorize it or think of a dumb story… like driving your car past a bunch of french cows.

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Yes, which is why as I said above:

Just like with anything else, you need to just remember when a counter uses the kunyomi vs onyomi reading. It’s like how 人 can be ジン, ニン or ひと.

Sometimes you just have to memorize when one reading is used over another. Counters are no different than a wide variety of other words where they can be one of multiple on or kun readings.

Just think of 人形 and 人生. What’s the “obvious” way to know that one uses にん vs じん?

I think we are mostly just talking past each other not necessarily disagreeing?

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Plus even more annoying when counting days is to not forget that 二十日 is はつか. After day 10 everything seems mostly regular until that point. :neutral_face::sweat:

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When I was learning Norwegian and Dutch I also had a hard time with numbers, but the more I progressed in the language the more natural and obvious it became. Same thing with very similar words, the more I experienced them the more I could differentiate their subtleties.

For me it’s one of those things that comes naturally with experience, so when learning languages I don’t put too much effort in counting/expressing values.

My advice is not necessarily to avoid understanding all the different forms and types of numbers, but to not give it too much thought and effort either.


Numbers are one of the few things that I had to study outside of WK due to the SRS not being enough for me. I made a little Anki deck with them (easy since you don’t need many cards) and supplemented my WK with that. It worked pretty well for me.


I feel your pain:

Eight things:

And how often did I accidentally answer X days instead of X things or vice versa.

To be honest, at one point I just need to sit down and brute-force memorize all of the counters I need here. Until then … I’ll keep sending the items back to Apprentice.

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It’s kind of regular in that twenty years old is はたち (二十歳) although not quite since you’d think it would be はっさい except that はっさい actually means 8 years old. :wink:

Not quite. The fourteenth and twenty-fourth of the month are じゅうよっか and にじゅうよっか. Otherwise it’s on’yomi + にち.