Discover How to Say 0 in Japanese – Language Learning Simplified

If you’re interested in learning the Japanese language, one of the fundamental things you’ll need to master is the numeral system. Japanese counting can be a bit confusing for English speakers, but with a little practice and guidance, you’ll be able to navigate it with ease. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to say 0 in Japanese, including pronunciation and various ways of expressing it.

Before we dive into the specifics of zero, let’s first explore the basics of the Japanese numeral system. Japanese uses two sets of numbers: the native numbers and the Sino-Japanese numbers. The native numbers are used for counting things, while the Sino-Japanese numbers are used for counting time, money, and other abstract concepts. Both sets of numbers are necessary to express numbers in Japanese accurately.

Now, let’s move on to the main topic of this article – how to say 0 in Japanese. Zero in Japanese is pronounced as “zero” or “rei,” depending on the context. Rei is commonly used in formal situations, while zero is more prevalent in informal settings. However, both are interchangeable, and you can use whichever one feels more natural to you.

By understanding how to say 0 in Japanese and mastering the numeral system, you’ll be well on your way to fluency in this fascinating language. So, let’s get started.

Understanding the Japanese Counting System

Before we dive into how to say 0 in Japanese, it’s crucial to understand the Japanese counting system. Unlike in English, where we follow a simple pattern of 1, 2, 3, and so on, Japanese has two different sets of numbers: one for counting objects and one for expressing dates and money.

The Japanese counting system for objects is based on the numbers 1 through 10, which are: ichi, ni, san, yon, go, roku, shichi, hachi, kyuu, and juu. To count larger quantities, these numbers are combined in a unique system where numbers are read from right to left. For example, to say 27 in Japanese, you would say “ni juu nana” which translates to “two tens seven.”

The second set of numbers is used for money and expressing dates. This system is based on Chinese characters and is a bit more complex. While it’s not necessary to know this system to say 0 in Japanese, it’s important to be aware of it for a deeper understanding of Japanese numbers.

Understanding the Japanese Counting System

When counting objects, Japanese uses a specific counter word for each type of item being counted. For example, when counting pencils, you would use the counter word “mai.” So, to count 3 pencils in Japanese, you would say “san mai no enpitsu.”

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It’s important to note that some counter words can be used for multiple items. For example, the counter word “hon” can be used for long objects like pencils or books.

When counting large numbers, the counter word is often dropped, and only the number is used. For example, to say 100 in Japanese, you would say “hyaku.”

The Japanese counting system may seem daunting at first, but with practice, it becomes easier to understand and use.

The Pronunciation of 0 in Japanese

Now that you have a better understanding of the Japanese counting system and its unique structure, let’s focus on the proper pronunciation of 0 in Japanese. In Japanese, 0 is pronounced as “zero” or “reiji” (零時), which translates to “zero o’clock” in English.

It’s important to note that Japanese numbers are pronounced differently depending on their context. For example, when counting objects, the pronunciation of the number changes depending on the type of object being counted. In general, Japanese numbers are pronounced with a flat tone, without any emphasis or stress on any particular syllable.

Number Pronunciation
0 Zero (ゼロ) or Reiji (零時)

As you can see in the table above, the two most common ways to pronounce 0 in Japanese are “Zero” or “Reiji”. It’s important to familiarize yourself with both pronunciations, as they may be used in different contexts.

In addition, Japanese language numbers have different levels of formality. For example, when speaking to a superior or in a formal setting, it’s important to use the more formal version of numbers. In contrast, in a casual setting, you may use a more informal version of the same number.

Now that you understand how to pronounce 0 in Japanese and some of the nuances of Japanese numbers, let’s explore the different ways to express zero in Japanese, so that you can confidently use it in different situations.

Expressing Zero in Japanese

Now that you understand the basics of the Japanese counting system and pronunciation of numbers, let’s focus on how to express zero in Japanese. Depending on the context and situation, there are different ways to say zero in Japanese.

Formal Informal
零 (rei) ゼロ (zero)

In formal settings, the number zero is expressed as “零” (rei). This is commonly used in legal documents, financial reports, and academic papers. It’s important to note that “rei” is not commonly used in daily conversation.

For informal contexts, “ゼロ” (zero) is the most commonly used expression for zero in Japanese. This is used in everyday conversation, including when discussing time, temperature, and measurements.

It’s also worth noting that Japanese has several loanwords from other languages, including English, that are commonly used to express zero. For example, “ゼロ” (zero) is a loanword from English and is used frequently in modern Japanese.

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Now that you know how to express zero in Japanese, you can confidently use it in different situations. Keep in mind the context and level of formality when choosing which expression to use.

Recap and Next Steps in Japanese Number Learning

Congratulations! You have learned the basics of the Japanese counting system and how to say 0 in Japanese. By now, you may have noticed that Japanese numbers are quite different from numbers in your native language. But with practice and patience, you can become proficient in using them.

As you continue your Japanese language learning journey, it’s important to keep practicing and reviewing what you have learned so far. Here are some additional resources to help you:

1. Japanese Numeral System

Before diving into more complex numbers, make sure you have a solid understanding of the Japanese numeral system. This resource will provide you with a deeper understanding of the counting system and how to express larger numbers.

2. Japanese Numbers Practice

Practice makes perfect! Use this resource to test your knowledge of Japanese numbers. With various exercises and quizzes, you can reinforce what you have learned and track your progress.

3. Japanese Number Mnemonics

Memorizing numbers can be a challenge, especially when they sound so different from what you’re used to. Japanese number mnemonics can help you remember key numbers and their pronunciations.

Remember, mastering the Japanese counting system takes time and effort, but with consistent practice and dedication, you can do it! Keep practicing, and before you know it, using Japanese numbers will come naturally to you.


Q: How do I say 0 in Japanese?

A: In Japanese, 0 is pronounced as “zero” or “rei”.

Q: What is the Japanese counting system like?

A: The Japanese counting system is unique and differs from English. It involves different counters and variations depending on the object being counted.

Q: How do I pronounce 0 in Japanese?

A: To pronounce 0 in Japanese, you can say “zero” in an English accent or use the Japanese pronunciation “rei”.

Q: How can I express zero in Japanese?

A: Zero can be expressed in Japanese as “zero” or “rei”. The choice of expression may depend on the formality of the situation or context.

Q: What should I do next to master the Japanese number system?

A: To further enhance your understanding of Japanese numbers, we recommend practicing counting in different contexts, exploring resources specifically dedicated to Japanese numerals, and continuing your language learning journey.

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