Counters V

第104課: Counters V: 文字, クラス, 品, 桁, 切れ, 玉, 房, 株, 袋, 箱, 棟, 組み, 皿, 束, & 通り

In previous lessons, we learned about the native numbers that are still used a lot in Modern Japanese. As a recap, here are these numbers once more.

 1 Hito ひと 2 Futa ふた 3 Mi み 4 Yo(n) よ(ん)
 5 Itsu いつ 6 Mu  7 Nana なな 8 Ya や
 9 Kokono ここの 10  とお ? Iku いく  

Usage Note: The use of iku– いく to create “how many…” phrases with native counters is limited to set phrases and/or neo-classical grammar. As such, you will not see it in the charts of this lesson.

When you strip away –tsu つ, you get the actual numbers. These numbers are used most with native vocabulary. However, they are not restricted to native vocabulary. Oddly enough, though, for the counters they’re used with, they’re hardly used to their full extent. Many counters only use the numbers for 1-3 or even just 1-2. This isn’t all that surprising considering how the native number system is practically limited to 1-10.  In this lesson, you will formally be introduced to counters that involve native numbers for the first time. The ones to be covered in this lesson are as follows.

Counters Covered in this Lesson

1.       –(mo)ji (文)字
2.       –kurasu クラス
3.       –shina/-hin 品
4.       –keta 桁
5.       –kire 切れ
6.       –tama 
7.       –fusa 房
8.       –kabu 株
9.       –fukuro/-tai 袋
10.   –hako 箱
11.   –mune/-tō 
12.   –kumi 組み
13.   –sara 皿
14.   –taba/-soku 束
15.   –tōri 通り

Lesson Note: Just as in prior lessons on counters, reading charts will have readings listed from most to least used. The most used variant will be in bold. 

Native Numbers + Counters

moji 文字 & –ji 

If you are instructed to write a report within 300 characters, you will likely use a word processor and see how many characters—with or without spaces—are in what you’ve written. This would include punctuation marks and any other non-letter symbols. If you were instead instructed to write a report within 300 letters, you would interpret this to mean not including non-letter symbols. Therefore, that extra comma won’t make you go over like it would in a Twitter post.

In Japanese, this same distinction is made by having two separate counters for “characters” and “letters.” They also conveniently correspond to the actual words for these things. To count characters, you use –ji 字. To count letters Kanji 漢字 and Kana かな, you use –moji 文字. Of these two counters, only –moji 文字 uses more native numbers by using them for 1, 2, 4, and 7.

ji 字

 1 いちじ 2 にじ 3 さんじ 4 よんじ
 5 ごじ 6 ろくじ 7 ななじ 8 はちじ
 9 きゅうじ 10 じゅうじ 100 ひゃくじ ? なんじ

moji 文字

1 ひともじ 2 ふたもじ 3 さんもじ 4 よんもじ
 5 ごもじ 6 ろくもじ 7 ななもじ 8 はちもじ
 9 きゅうもじ 10 じゅうもじ 100 ひゃくもじ ? なんもじ 

1. 字数制限じすうせいげんいち万字まんじ拡大かくだいしました。
Jisū seigen wo ichimanji ni kakudai shimashita.
I/we expanded the character limit to 10,000 characters.

2. その内容ないよう英語えいご100ひゃくまとめてください。
Sono naiyō wo eigo no hyakuji de matomete kudasai.
Please summarize the content in 100 English characters.

3. 英語えいごでは、曜日ようびつき3さん文字もじ省略しょうりゃくしてくことがあります。
Eigo de wa, yōbi ya tsuki wo sammoji wo shōryaku shite kaku koto ga arimasu.
In English, you often abbreviate the days of the week and the months to three letters when writing.

4. 1いっぷんめる300さんびゃく文字もじ
Ippun de yomeru sambyakumoji
300 letters that can be read in a minute

kurasu クラス
The counter –kurasu クラス is used to count school classes. Oddly enough, it usually utilizes the native words for 1 and 2, which is unlike the other counters we’ve encountered thus far. However, as is the case with many counters with which these native numbers are possible, they’re not imperative with クラス.

 1 ひとくらす
 2 ふたくらす
 3 さんくらす 4 よんくらす
 5 ごくらす 6 ろっくらす
 7 ななくらす 8 はちくらす
 9 きゅうくらす 10 じゅっくらす
 ? なんくらす  

5. みなさんのおさんがかよ小学校しょうがっこうなんクラスありますか。
Mina-san no o-ko-san ga kayou shōgakkō wa nankurasu arimasu ka?
How many classes do the elementary schools that everyone’s children go to have?

6. わたし私立高校しりつこうこうですが、15じゅうごクラスあります。
Watashi wa shiritsu kōkō desu ga, jūgokurasu arimasu.
I (go to) a public school, but there are/I have fifteen classes.

Counter Note: When referring to individual home rooms, the counter –gakkyū 学級 may be used instead. There are no sound changes with this counter.

hin/-shina 品(ひん・しな)

The counter –hin/-shina 品counts “dishes of food.” For the most part, either set of readings are permissible. However, in the restaurant business, the –shina しな readings are preferred. This is largely because ippin 一品 (1 dish/item) is homophonous with ippin 逸品 (rarity/excellent article). In set phrases, however, there is no flexibility as to which set of readings is used.

・-hin ひん

 1 いっぴん 2 にひん 3 さんぴん
 4 よんひん
 5 ごひん 6 ろっぴん 7 ななひん 8 はっぴん
 9 きゅうひん 10 じゅっぴん
 100 ひゃっぴん ? なんぴん

・-shina しな

 1 ひとしな 2 ふたしな 3 みしな 4 よしな
 5 ごしな
 6 ろくしな
 7 ななしな 8 はっしな
 9 きゅうしな
 10 じゅっしな
 100 ひゃくしな ? なんしな

Reading Note: –shina 品 is one of a handful of counters where many speakers remain acutely aware of the traditional readings for 1-10. These speakers tend to use native numbers for the entirety of the 1-10 series. However, they are in the minority. For most speakers, native numbers are not used after 4 with exception to 7.

7. これとこれを二品ふたしなください。
Kore to kore wo futashina kudasai.
Please give me these two.

8. お豆腐料理とうふりょうり10じゅっつくりました。
O-tōfu ryōri wo juppin/jusshina tsukurimashita.
I made 10 tofu dishes.

9. 一品料理いっぴんりょうり注文ちゅうもんしました。
Ippin ryōri wo chūmon shimashita.
I ordered à la carte.


The counter –keta 桁 counts numerical digits.

 1 ひとけた 2 ふたけた 3 みけた
 4 よけた
 5 ごけた 6 ろっけた 7 ななけた 8 はっけた
 9 きゅうけた 10 じゅっけた
 100 ひゃっけた ? なんけた 

10. した3けた456しーごーろくです。
Shita miketa wa shii gō roku desu.
The last three digits are 456.

Pronunciation Note: When reading out numbers, 4 and 5 are typically pronounced with long vowels as seen in Ex. 10.

11. 値段ねだん一桁ひとけた間違まちがえました。
Nedan wo hitoketa (mi)machigaemashita.
I mistook the price by one digit.

12. 二桁万円ふたけたまんえん時計とけいさを実感じっかんしました。
Futaketaman’en no tokei no yosa wo jikkan shimashita.
I really felt the merit of a watch in the six-figure range.

Word Note: Because man 万 means “ten thousand,” futaketaman 二桁万 refers to any value between 100,000 and 999,999.

kire 切れ

The counter –kire 切れ counts slices.

 1 ひときれ 2 ふたきれ 3 みきれ
 4 よんきれ
 5 ごきれ 6 ろっきれ 7 ななきれ 8 はちきれ
 9 きゅうきれ 10 じゅっきれ
 100 ひゃっきれ ? なんきれ

13. サンドイッチにチーズを2ふたはさみます。
Sandoitchi ni chiizu wo futakire hasamimasu.
(I’ll) put two slices of cheese in the sandwich.

14. 長男ちょうなんにケーキを1ひとけてあげました。
Chōnan ni kēki wo hitokire kiriwakete agemashita.
I cut my oldest son a piece of cake.

15. さけ10じゅっれのにして、パックりにしました。
Sake wo jukkire no kirimi ni shite, pakku-iri ni shimashita.
I cut the salmon into ten slices and packed them.


The counter –tama 玉 is used to count spherical food items such as tomatoes (tomato トマト), heads of lettuce (retasu レタス), melons (メロン), watermelons (suika スイカ), garlic (nin’niku ニンニク), cabbage (kyabetsu キャベツ), onions (tamanegi 玉葱), portions of noodles such as udon (udon うどん), etc.


16. おおきめのメロンを1ひとたまいました。
Ōkime no meron wo hitotama kaimashita.
I bought one large-sized melon.

17. あのぞうはスイカを2ふたたままるごとべましたよ。
Ano zō wa suika wo futatama marugoto tabemashita yo.
That elephant ate two watermelons whole.

Spelling NoteSuika is frequently spelled as 西瓜.

18. なまうどんを5たまいました。
Nama udon wo gotama kaimashita.
I bought five things of fresh udon.

Spelling NoteUdon is only seldom spelled as 饂飩.

19. ハワイさんのパパイヤを3たまりました。
Hawai-san no papaiya wo mitama urimashita.
I sold three papayas from Hawaii. 

fusa 房

The counter –fusa 房 counts produce that are in bunches like grapes (budō ブドウ) or bananas (banana バナナ).

 1 ひとふさ 2 ふたふさ 3 みふさ
 4 よんふさ
 5 ごふさ 6 ろくふさ 7 ななふさ 8 はちふさ
 9 きゅうふさ 10 じゅうふさ
 100  ひゃくふさ ? なんふさ 

20. みせに、1ひとふさ8はっぽんいたバナナを1ひとふさ100ひゃくえん20にじゅうふさ仕入しいれました。
Mise ni, hitofusa ni happon tsuita banana wo hitofusa hyakuen de nijūfusa shiiremashita.
For the store, I procured 20 bunches of bananas for 100 yen per bunch with 8 bananas in each bunch.

21. うつわにミカンを2ふたふされました。
Utsuwa ni mikan wo futafusa iremashita.
I put two bunches of mandarin oranges into the bowl.

Spelling NoteMikan is occasionally spelled as 蜜柑.

22. あおいブドウを3ふさ冷蔵庫れいぞうこれました。
Aoi budō wo mifusa reizōko ni iremashita.I put three bunches of green grapes into the refrigerator.

Spelling NoteBudō is only seldom spelled as 葡萄.


The counter –kabu 株 can count heads of produce such as cabbage (kyabetsu キャベツ), Chinese cabbage (hakusai 白菜), broccoli (burokkorii ブロッコリー), cauliflower (karifurawā カリフラワー), or bok choy (chingensai チンゲン菜), spinach (hōrensō ほうれん草), Japanese mustard spinach (komatsuna 小松菜), etc. connected at the stem, or stocks as in the stock exchange (kabushiki shijō 株式市場).


23. 1ひとかぶ8はち万円まんえんかぶ6ろっ株買かぶかいました。
Hitokabu hachiman’en no kabu wo rokkabu kaimashita.
I bought six stocks for 80,000 yen a piece.

24. 自家製じかせい坦々麺たんたんめんにチンゲンさい2ふたかぶはいれてべました。
Jikasei no tantanmen ni chingensai wo futakabu irete tabemashita.
I added two things of bok choy into the homemade dandan noodles I ate.

25. ほうれんそう3かぶ収穫しゅうかくしました。
Hōrensō wo mikabu shūkaku shimashita.
I harvested three bundles of spinach.


The counter –fukuro/-tai 袋 counts bagfuls. The former reading is more colloquial, but the latter reading is used as the proper unit in industrial/business settings. This counter is frequently used with words like tea (ocha お茶), cement (semento セメント), wheat flower (komugiko 小麦粉), etc.

・ –fukuro ふくろ

 1 ひとふくろ 2 ふたふくろ 3 みふくろ 4 よふくろ
 5 ごふくろ
 6 ろくふくろ
 7 ななふくろ 8 はちふくろ
 9 きゅうふくろ 10 じゅっぷくろ
 100 ひゃっぷくろ
 ? なんふくろ

・-tai たい

 1 いったい 2 にたい 3 さんたい 4 よんたい
 5 ごたい 6 ろくたい
 7 ななたい 8 はちたい
 9 きゅうたい 10 じゅったい
 100 ひゃくたい
 ? なんたい 

26. いた玉葱たまねぎ一袋入ひとふくろいれました。
Itame-tamanegi wo hitofukuro iremashita.
I put in a bagful of sautéed onions.

27. ポテチを一袋食ひとふくろたべました。
Potechi wo hitofukuro tabemashita.
I ate a bag of potato chips.

28. のうを100ひゃく袋くらいめています。
Donō wo hyakutai/hyakufukuro kurai tamete imasu.
We have about 100 sandbags stored.

Spelling NoteDonō is seldom spelled as 土嚢.


The counter –hako 箱 counts boxes. It itself is the noun for box. Its readings are in flux, but focus on the ones that are most common. This counter is one of a handful of native counters with which native speakers are more likely to be acutely aware of the traditional readings for it. The native series is possible for 1-10, but it is rare for a speaker to follow the entire series.

 2 ふたはこ
 3 さんぱこ
 4 よんはこ
 5 ごはこ
 6 ろっぱこ
 7 ななはこ 8 はっぱこ
 9 きゅうはこ
 10 じゅっぱこ じゅうはこ
 100 ひゃっぱこ
 ? せんぱこ
 1万 いちまんはこ

29. きなほんを一箱にみました。
Suki na hon wo ippako/hitohako ni tsumekomimashita.
I crammed the books I liked into one box.

30. かれ一日いちにちにタバコを{2箱・2パック}吸っている。
Kare wa ichinichi ni tabako wo [futahako/nipakku] sutte iru.
He smokes/two packs of cigarettes a day.

Counter Notes: The counter –pakku パック counts packs. For the number 1, it can be used with the forms “ichi いち,” “ip いっ,” “hito ひと,” and “wan ワン.” For 2, it can be used with “ni に,” “futa ふた,” and “tsū ツ―.” For other numbers, it behaves just like the counter –pēji ページ. Also, the counter phrase ichinichi 一日 uses the counter –nichi 日 which counts days. This counter will be looked at later in IMABI.

31. しでだんボールばこ10じゅっぱこくらい発送はっそうしました。
Hikkoshi de dambōrubako wo juppako kurai hassō shimashita.
I shipped about ten cardboard boxes in moving.


The counter –mune/-tō 棟 counts buildings. Historically, only the former reading existed. Nowadays, many people use the latter reading when counting very large structures like high-rises and use the former for any smaller sized building. This, though, is not set in stone. In the news, only –mune むね is used. This practice is commonly seen in all kinds of formal situations. In the spoken language, –mune むね is still largely the reading of choice. However, a decent minority still use –tō とう instead, especially when referring to large buildings.

・-mune むね 

 1 ひとむね 2 ふたむね 3 さんむね 4 よんむね
 5 ごむね 6 ろくむね 7 ななむね 8 はちむね
 9 きゅうむね 10 じゅうむね 100 ひゃくむね ? なんむね

・-tō とう 

 1 いっとう 2 にとう 3 さんとう 4 よんとう
 5 ごとう 6 ろくとう 7 ななとう 8 はちとう
 9 きゅうとう 10 じゅっとう
 100 ひゃくとう
 ? なんとう 

32. 住宅じゅうたく1ひとむね全焼ぜんしょうしました。
Jūtaku hitomune ga zenshō shimashita.
One home burned down.

33. マンションが10棟ならんでいる。
Manshon ga jūmune/juttō tachinarande iru.
Ten apartment complexes are lined in a row.

34. 菊川きくかわはオフィスビル3さんむね所有しょゆうしている。
Kikukawa wa ofisu biru sammune wo shoyū shite iru.
Kikukawa owns three office buildings.

-kumi 組み

The counter -kumi 組み counts sets of something as well as what “class” one is in in school. In Japan, homerooms will be referred to by #組. For this latter meaning, it is spelled without み. This spelling is also used when it counts “groups of people.”

 1 ひとくみ 2 ふたくみ 3 さんくみ
 4 よんくみ
 5 ごくみ 6 ろっくみ 7 ななくみ 8 はっくみ
 9 きゅうくみ 10 じゅっくみ
 100 ひゃっくみ ? なんくみ 

35. コーヒー茶碗ぢゃわん一組ひとくみを購入こうにゅうしました。
Kōhiijawan hitokumi wo kōnyū shimashita.
I purchased a coffee cup set.

Reading Note: 茶碗 can also be read as “chawan ちゃわん.”

Spelling NoteKōhii is only seldom spelled as 珈琲.

36. 10じゅっチームを3さんくみけました。
Jutchiimu wo sankumi/mikumi ni wakemashita.
I split ten teams into three groups.

Counter Note: The counter –chiimu チーム counts “teams.” For 1, you can use “it いっ” or “hito ひと.” For 2, you can use “ni に” or “futa ふた.” For other numbers, it behaves like –tō 頭.

37. わたし3さんくみです。
Watashi wa sankumi desu.
I’m in Class 3.


The counter –sara 皿 is used to count plates of food. When plates don’t have any food on them, however, the counter –mai 枚 should be used instead. Incidentally, the word for plate is sara 皿.

 1 ひとさら 2 ふたさら 3 みさら
 4 よんさら
 5 ごさら 6 ろくさら 7 ななさら 8 はっさら
 9 きゅうさら 10 じゅっさら
 100 ひゃくさら ? なんさら 

38. わたしあぶりサーモンのにぎ寿司ずし16じゅうろく皿食さらたべきりました。
Watashi wa aburisāmon no nigirizushi wo jūrokusara tabekirimashita.
I completely ate 16 plates of seared salmon nigirizushi.

39. きのう、100ひゃくえん回転寿司かいてんずし8はっ皿食さらたべましたよ。
Kinō, hyakuen no kaitenzushi wo hassara tabemashita yo.
I ate eight plates of 100-yen conveyor belt sushi yesterday.

40. 回転寿司店かいてんずしてん寿司すし何皿食なんさらたべることがおおいですか。
Kaitenzushi-ten de sushi wo nansara taberu koto ga ōi desu ka?
How many plates of sushi do you eat the most at conveyor belt sushi restaurants?

41. おかえりのかたはエビ天巻てんまき10じゅっ皿分さらぶんかん注文ちゅうもんしました。
O-mochikaeri no kata wa ebiten-maki wo [jussara-bun/jukkan] chūmon shimashita.
The person ordering takeout ordered 10 plates worth/10 pieces of shrimp tempura rolls.

Counter Note: The counter –kan 貫 counts pieces of sushi. Its sound changes are the same as –kabu 株.


The counter –taba 束 counts leafy vegetables (yōsairui 葉菜類/ha(mono)yasai 葉(物)野菜/nappa 菜っ葉) that are in bundles. It may also be read as –soku そく, but this reading tends to be used to indicate quantities of a hundred for vegetables, bamboo (take 竹), rice plants (ine 稲), firewood (maki/takigi 薪), etc. This comes from bundles being treated as units of ten and –soku そく being ten of those bundles. Not all speakers know this, but this distinction is still used in several industries. Because different places can assign different numerical values to how much a 束 is, it is usually always stated how much one is.

・-taba たば 

 1 ひとたば 2 ふたたば 3 みたば
 4 よんたば
 5 ごたば 6 ろくたば 7 ななたば 8 はちたば
 9 きゅうたば 10 じゅったば
 100 ひゃくたば ? なんたば

・-soku そく

 1 いっそく 2 にそく 3 さんぞく
 4 よんそく
 5 ごそく 6 ろくそく 7 ななそく 8 はっそく
 9 きゅうそく 10 じっそく
 100 ひゃくそく ? なんぞく

42. このお味噌汁みそしる1いっぱいで、ほうれんそう1ひと束分たばぶん鉄分てつぶんれます。
Kono o-misoshiru ippai de, hōrensō hitotaba-bun no tetsubun ga toremasu.
You can get the iron content of a bundle of spinach with one cup of this miso soup. 

43. 業務用ぎょうむよう味付あじつ海苔のり100ひゃくたば発注はっちゅうしました。
Gyōmu-yō ajitsuke nori wo hyakusoku hatchū shimashita.
I put in an order for 100 bundles of business use, seasoned nori.

44. ながネギ2ほんと、水菜みずな1ひとたばなべつゆ1ひとふくろ、ポンすこしでつくりました。
Naganegi nihon to, mizuna hitotaba, nabetsuyu hitofukuro, ponzu sukoshi de tsukurimashita.
I made it with two Japanese leeks, one bundle of potherb mustard, a bag of hot pot soup, and a little ponzu sauce.

Counter Note: Long items like leeks are counted with –hon 本, which will looked in greater detail later in IMABI.

45. した写真しゃしんのおひたしで春菊しゅんぎく3束分たばぶんです!
Shita no shashin no ohitashi de shungiku mitaba-bun desu!
In the ohitashi in the picture below, there is three bundles worth of edible chrysanthemum!

Culture NoteOhitashi is boiled greens like spinach, mustard spinach, edible chrysanthemum, etc.

tōri 通り

The counter –tōri 通り counts ways. The phrase hitotōri ひととおり is not only used to mean “one way/method,” but it also means “in general/generally/roughly.”

 1 ひととおり 2 ふたとおり
 3 さんとおり
 4 よんとおり
 5 ごとおり 6 ろくとおり 7 ななとおり 8 はちとおり
 9 きゅうとおり 10 じゅっとおり
 100 ひゃくとおり ? なんとおり 

46. 必要ひつよう道具どうぐ一通ひととおそろっています。
Hitsuyō na dōgu wa hitotōri sorotte imasu.
There’s a full lineup of needed tools/instruments.

47. 大学受験だいがくじゅけん一通ひととおわりました。
Daigaku juken ga hitotōri owarimashita.
I’m generally done with taking my college exams.

48. みが2ふたとおりある熟語じゅくごがたくさん存在そんざいします。
Yomi ga futatōri aru jukugo ga takusan sonzai shimasu.
There are many compound words that have two readings.

49. 3さんとおりの男性だんせいさそかた紹介しょうかいしていきます。
Santōri no dansei no sasoikata wo shōkai shite ikimasu.
I am going to introduce to you three ways to lure men.

50. わせは何通なんとおりあるかおしえてください。
Kumiawase wa nantōri aru ka oshiete kudasai.
Please tell me how many combinations there are.