Japanese Number Kanji: Memory Aids

If you want to find an easy way to remember just about anything, whether it's your shopping list or the names of all those people you were just introduced to, then a great way to go about it is to get into the habit of inventing memory aids for yourself. These are things that will make the new piece of information meaningful to you, by connecting it with something familiar. When it comes to learning Japanese kanji, or Japanese vocabulary, or for that matter learning vocabulary in any language, this approach is especially valuable. Below are some thoughts about learning Japanese numbers kanji, and the memory aids I use for them.

Below are the kanji, or Japanese characters, for the numbers 1 to 10. The memory aids I have worked out for these help you to remember what number each of the kanji represents, not the Japanese words for each of the numbers. That's a different set of memory aids! I might come back to those in another hub. My Japanese numbers kanji memory aids are:-

1 Easy - just one line!

2 Easy - just two lines!

3 Easy - just three lines!

4 This kanji reminds me of a window with curtains. Remember that the window has four sides, and four corners; or think of a simple drawing of a house, with a door and four windows

5 If you look carefully at this kanji, you should be able to see the shape of a number 5 (like the 5 on a digital clock)

6 This looks a bit like a person, doesn't it. So imagine that it's a 6 year old, on his birthday, doing a star jump & shouting "I'm six!"

7 If you turn this one upside down, it looks like a number 7 with a line through it, like the French do.

8 The Japanese word for 8 is 'hachi' (hutchy). Think 'eight rabbits in a rabbit hutchy'. Some rabbit hutches are a triangular shape, and this kanji looks like the roof of one of those.

9 Look closely at this kanji, and you can see the resemblance to the letter n. N for nine.

10 If you tilt this kanji slightly to one side, it looks like an X, which is the Roman numeral for 10.

Good luck with remembering the Japanese kanji for numbers. If you think of other memory aids than these, that's great, because the memory aids that work best are the ones that mean something to you. If your memory aid is a really great one, feel free to share it!

Below are a couple of videos and some links to other places on the internet where you can practise these Japanese kanji numbers. Gambatte ne! (Good luck!)

Picture origins of number kanji

Click thumbnail to view full-size

You Tube video: kanji numbers

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Comments 13 comments

thevoice profile image

thevoice 6 years ago from carthage ill

very informative hub thanks


dtoombs profile image

dtoombs 6 years ago from Tasmania, Australia Author

No problems - glad my thoughts were of use to you!


Japan 6 years ago

thanks for the information.. i really need it for my presentation..thanks again..


dtoombs profile image

dtoombs 6 years ago from Tasmania, Australia Author

That's great - hope your presentation goes well. Let me know if there are any other areas of Japanese I can help with.


Japan 6 years ago

do you have the number kanji history?


dtoombs profile image

dtoombs 6 years ago from Tasmania, Australia Author

I will try to locate this for you, I have seen the picture development somewhere before, they mainly come from pictures of counting on the fingers of one hand. Numbers 1 to 3 are easy to see, but I'll have a look around & see if I can find more information.


Japan 6 years ago

Hey thanks! my presentation help me and the other people to remember this kanji well! thanks for you help... I wont forget it!


dtoombs profile image

dtoombs 6 years ago from Tasmania, Australia Author

That's excellent, thank you so much for letting me know!


Japan 6 years ago

Do you have any kanji information other than number kanji?i need it for my test..


dtoombs profile image

dtoombs 6 years ago from Tasmania, Australia Author

Maybe it would help if I knew which kanji your test is on. I haven't got any for others at the moment, but depending on how long it is till the test, I could have a go at making some up for you, or I will suggest resources if you like. One thing you can do, if you have Japanese script enabled on your computer, is to make up some practice flashcards & games on the Quizlet website, which I am adding to my links section above. All you do is type in your list that you want to practise, and it makes them up for you, and it's free. There are also lots already on there that other people have made up and you can use.


dtoombs profile image

dtoombs 6 years ago from Tasmania, Australia Author

For 'Japan', who asked for the history, & anyone else interested, I have added a slideshow which shows the pictures that the number kanji originated from. I scanned these from a book of mine; most of them are easy to understand, I'm not sure how number 9 comes to mean what it does, however. I wonder if anyone else does?


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

Great mnemonics. Thanks!


Hezekiah profile image

Hezekiah 5 years ago from Japan

Yes, for beginners. Identifying Kanji with pictures is one of the best ways to learn.

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