Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Japanese Numbers

So this is something that's been bothering me for a while. There are a lot of good guides to Japanese numbers out there, both online and in print, covering the various (eccentric) ways that you pronounce different numbers in Japanese, but they all seem to concentrate on the classic style of Kanji numerals. Some say that there are two ways you'll see numbers written in Japanese: place notation in Arabic numerals, eg. 1023,511,65535, and the traditional Kanji method, eg. 千二十三、五百十一、六面五千五百三十五. But more and more I'm seeing a different approach in actual Japanese writing, which is essentially place-notation using Kanji numerals, so:
I'm really not sure whether this is a new thing, or just something the available source material chooses not to pay attention to, but it certainly shows up a lot in books.

The character that's used for zero here is a Kanji circle character that occasionally shows up elsewhere as a marker for "unknown Kanji". On kotoeri (and presumably other waparu-roumaji input methods) you can get it by typing "zero" and choosing from the drop down.

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