This page is a short list of some of the various Japanese counting words, josuushi (助数詞). These words and the method of counting originate from Chinese. For each word, the methods of counting one, two and three of the items is also recorded, since these are often irregular.
|Kanji||Counter word||One||Two||Three||Used to count|
|Animals, birds and people|
|匹||hiki||ippiki||nihiki||sanbiki||Small animals, fish|
|羽||wa||ichiwa||niwa||sanwa||Birds and rabbits (because the ears of the rabbit resemble wings)|
|頭||tō||ittō||nitō||santō||Large animals and farmyard animals such as cows|
|本||hon||ippon||nihon||sanbon||Long thin objects such as pencils. Also station platforms.|
|枚||mai||ichimai||nimai||sanmai||Flat objects such as pieces of paper.|
|拍||haku||ippaku||nihaku||sanpaku||Moras. See What is the difference between a mora and a syllable?|
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Copyright © 1994-2020 Ben Bullock