How does Japanese write large and small numbers?

Japanese uses a different counting system for large numbers to English. In English, numbers increase by thousands, so one thousand, one million, then one billion, a thousand times a million. Japanese is based on the Chinese system which uses ten thousand as a basic unit. A man () is ten thousand, and then an oku () is ten thousand times ten thousand, a hundred million. Increasing in number, a chou () is ten thousand times an oku, or a trillion. The following list shows the first few of these large numbers.

Kanji Pronunciation As numerals As English
いち 1 One
じゅう 10 Ten
ひゃく 100 One hundred
せん 1,000 One thousand
まん 10,000 Ten thousand
おく 100,000,000 One hundred million
ちょう 1,000,000,000,000 One trillion
けい 10,000,000,000,000,000 Ten quadrillion

The following representations of very large and small numbers also exist. Many of these originate from Buddhist terminology.

Kanji Kana Romaji Value as power of ten Notes
いち ichi
じゅう 101
ひゃく hyaku 102
せん sen 103
まん man 104
おく oku 108
ちょう chō 1012
けい kei 1016
がい gai 1020
𥝱 じょ jo 1024
じょう 1028
こう 1032
かん kan 1036
せい sei 1040
さい sai 1044
ごく goku 1048
恒河沙 ごうがしゃ gōgasha 1052 Originally a Buddhist term. 恒河 (Gōga) means the river Ganges in India, and this means "the number of grains of sand in the Ganges river".
阿僧祇 (阿僧梢) あそうぎ asōgi 1056 From the Sanskrit 'asamkhya', meaning a very large number.
那由他 なゆた nayuta 1060 From the Sanskrit 'nayuta', meaning a very large number.
不可思議 ふかしぎ fukashigi 1064
無量大数 むりょうたいすう muryōtaisū 1068
bu 10-1
厘 (釐) りん rin 10-2
もう 10-3
糸 (絲) shi 10-4
こつ kotsu 10-5
bi 10-6
せん sen 10-7
しゃ sha 10-8
じん jin 10-9
あい ai 10-10
びょう byō 10-11
ばく baku 10-12
模糊 もこ moko 10-13
逡巡 しゅんじゅん shunjun 10-14
須臾 しゅゆ (すゆ) shuyu (suyu) 10-15
瞬息 しゅんそく shunsoku 10-16
弾指 だんし danshi 10-17 From the Sanskrit 'acchataa'.
殺那 せつな setsuna 10-18 From the Sanskrit 'kṣaṇa', meaning a very short period of time.
六徳 りっとく rittoku 10-19
きょ kyo 10-20
くう 10-21
せい sei 10-22
じょう 10-23

About the kanji links: Choose the site for kanji links at the kanji.sljfaq.org options page.


See also the FAQ's Western to Kanji and Kanji to Western number converters.

Convert a number in English or arabic numerals into kanji:

Convert a kanji number into English and arabic numerals:

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