第49課: Counters III (Time: Part I): 日, 週間, 月, 年, Etc.

In this lesson, we will learn about temporal counters. Before doing so, though, we will start off by learning the days of the week, which unfortunately don’t involve counters.

Counters Covered in This Lesson

1.       -ka
2.       -nichi(kan) 日(間)
3.       -shūkan 週間
4.       -gatsu
5.       -kagetsu(kan) ヶ月(間)
6.       -tsuki
7.       -nen(kan) 年(間)
8.       -kanen ヶ年
9.       -nensei 年生
10.   -gakunen 学年

Yōbi 曜日: The Days of the Week

The days of the week, yōbi 曜日(), in Japanese each start with the first character of seven luminous bodies in our solar system in the following order:  the Sun, moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn.


 Nichiyōbi 日曜日


 Getsuyōbi 月曜日


 Kayōbi 火曜日


 Suiyōbi 水曜日


 Mokuyōbi 木曜日


 Kin’yōbi 金曜日


 Doyōbi 土曜日

 What day (of the week)?

 Nan’yōbi 何曜日

Reading Note: Theoretically, if you were to want to talk about hypothetical days of the week, you would read 何曜日as “naniyōbi,” but aside from this, it’s always read as above. 

All days of the week may be abbreviated by dropping the final -bi (). In abbreviated writing, you will very frequently see days of the week written with only the initial character. They can even be combined to make saying things like “Thursday and Friday” easier. Meaning, instead of writing mokuyōbi to kin’yōbi 木曜日()金曜日(), you can simply write mokukin 木金(). This is usually done in the context of scheduling.

1. 一週間(いっしゅうかん)()(なか)()何曜日(なんようび)ですか。
Isshūkan no man’naka no hi wa nan’yōbi desu ka?
What is the day of the week that is in the middle of the week?

2. 日曜日(にちようび)新聞(しんぶん)には旅行特集(りょこうとくしゅう)記事(きじ)()っています。
Nichiyōbi no shimbun ni wa ryokō tokushū no kiji ga notte imasu.
There is a travel supplement article in the Sunday newspaper.

3. 火曜日(かようび)から木曜日(もくようび)まで(はたら)きます。
Kayōbi kara mokuyōbi made hatarakimasu.
I work from Tuesday to Thursday.

4. 明日(あした)何曜(なんよう)())ですか?
Ashita wa nan’yō(bi) desu ka?
What day is it tomorrow?

5. 今日(きょう)何曜日(なんようび)ですか。
Kyō wa nan’yōbi desu ka?
What's today?

6. 木曜日(もくようび)水曜日(すいようび)(まえ)ですか、(あと)ですか?
Mokuyōbi wa suiyōbi no mae desu ka, ato desu ka?
Is Thursday before or after Wednesday?

7. 明後日(あさって)土曜(どよう)です。
Asatte wa doyō desu.
The day after tomorrow is Saturday.

8. なぜ日曜日(にちようび)学生(がくせい)学校(がっこう)()かないんですか。
Naze nichiyōbi ni gakusei wa gakkō ni ikanai n desu ka?
Why don't students go to school on Sunday?

9. 水曜日(すいようび)()てください。
Suiyōbi ni kite kudasai.
Please come on Wednesday.

10. 日曜日(にちようび)一週間(いちしゅうかん)(はじ)めの()で、土曜日(どようび)()わりの()だ。
Nichiyōbi wa isshūkan no hajime no hi de, doyōbi wa owari no hi da.
 Sunday is the first day of the week, and Saturday is the last day.


1. Try to use the Japanese days of the week rather than in English. Get others involved to help you remember them.

2. Write out the days of the week in order 10 times. 

Hinichi 日にち: Days of the Month

  You would expect the days of the month to be the same as how you count days in general. Although this is somewhat true, several days of the month utilize native words, hybrids of Sino-Japanese and native parts, and set readings. 1-10 are especially complicated.



































































Reading Notes:

1. Tsuitachi ついたち is a contraction of tsukitachi つきたち, which means “the start of the month.” The 1st may also be ippi いっぴ in the business world. 
2. The native counter for days is -ka . It is seen in several of these phrases.

3. 7日 is traditionally read as “nanuka なぬか” and is still somewhat used.

4. The last day of a month is called “misoka  晦・三十日().” New Year's Eve is “Ōmisoka 大晦日().
5. The first three days of the New Year is called “sanganichi .”

Particle Note: The particle ni に usually follows these phrases whenever “in/on” would be used in English. However, it can frequently be omitted.

10. 今日(きょう)何日(なんにち)ですか。
Kyō wa nan’nichi desu ka?
What day is it?

11. 7(なの)()(あさ)(に)到着(とうちゃく)しました。
Nanoka no asa (ni) tōchaku shimashita.
I arrived on the morning of the seventh.

12. 九州(きゅうしゅう)では5(いつ)()からたくさん(あめ)()っています。
Kyūshū de wa itsuka kara takusan ame ga futte imasu.
In Kyushu, a lot of rain has been falling since the fifth.

13. 11(じゅういち)(にち)に、(うみ)()いている(ぞう)(かい)(ぐん)(ふね)()つけました。
Jūichinichi ni, umi ni uite iru zō wo gun ga mitsukemashita.
On the eleventh, a navy vessel found an elephant floating in the ocean.

14. 横浜港(よこはまこう)14(じゅうよっ)日(に)ヒアリ(ひあり)500(ごひゃっ)(ぴき)くらい()つかりました。
Yokohama-kō de jūyokka (ni) hiari ga gohyappiki kurai mitsukarimashita.
About 500 fire ants were found on the fourteenth in the Port of Yokohama.

Nissū 日数: Number of Days

Days are counted with -nichi(kan) 日(間). -kan 間 is not obligatory but is used to prevent ambiguity except with the number 1. Very rarely, you’ll see it used with -kan 間 in things like forms. Incidentally, except for “one day,” all day phrases that were exceptional above are used instead with little exception.

 1 いちにち 2 ふつか(かん) 3 みっか(かん)
 4 よっか(かん) 5 いつか(かん) 6 むいか(かん)
 7 なのか(かん)
 8 ようか(かん) 9 ここのか(かん)
 10 とおか(かん) 14 じゅうよっか(かん) 17 じゅうしちにち(かん)
 19 じゅうくにち(かん) 20 はつか(かん) 24 にじゅうよっか(かん)
 27 にじゅうしちにち(かん)
 29 にじゅうくにち(かん) 30 さんじゅうにち(かん)
 50 ごじゅうにち(かん) 100 ひゃくにち(かん) ? なんにち(かん)

15. このソフトウェアを30(さんじゅう)日間無料(にちかんむりょう)使(つか)いました。
Kono sofutowea wo sanjūnichikan muryō de tsukaimashita.
I used this software for free for 30 days.

16. ヨーロッパを10(とお)日間旅行(かかんりょこう)しました。
Yōroppa wo tokakan ryokō shimashita.
I traveled Europe for ten days.

17. 宮古島(みやこじま)3(みっ)日間旅行(かかんりょこう)しました。
Miyako-jima ni mikkakan ryokō shimashita.
I traveled to Miyako-jima for three days.

18. 配達(はいたつ)には2(ふつ)()(あいだ))かかります。
Haitatsu ni wa futsuka(kan) kakarimasu.
It takes two days for delivery.

Grammar Note: -kan 間 is frequently omitted when the verb kakaru かかる is used. This verb, in the sense of time, indicates how long something takes to transpire.

19. (ねつ)6(むい)日間続(かかんつづ)きました。
Netsu ga muikakan tsuzukimashita.
The/my fever continued for six days.

20. 何日(なんにち)((あいだ))滞在(たいざい)する予定(よてい)ですか。
Nan’nichi(kan) taizai suru yotei desu ka?
How long will you stay?

-shūkan 週間: Weeks

   The word for “week” is shū(kan) 週(間). To say “this week,” you use the word konshū 今週. For “last week,” you use senshū 先週. Like their English counterparts not being used with the prepositions “in” or “on,” neither konshū 今週 nor senshū 先週 are typically used with the particle ni に. To count weeks, you use the word for week in the form -shūkan 週間 as a counter.

 1 いっしゅうかん 2 にしゅうかん 3 さんしゅうかん
 4 よんしゅうかん 5 ごしゅうかん 6 ろくしゅうかん
 7 ななしゅうかん 8 はちしゅうかん
 9 きゅうしゅうかん
 10 じゅっしゅうかん
 100 ひゃくしゅうかん ? なんしゅうかん

21. 一週間(いっしゅうかん)七日(なのか)(かん))です。
Isshūkan wa nanoka(kan) desu.
A week is seven days.

22. 仕事(しごと)でモスクワに出張(しゅっちょう)して、(そこで)2週間過ごしました。
Shigoto de Mosukuwa ni shutchō shite, (soko de) nishūkan sugoshimashita.
I went on a business trip to Moscow for work, and I spent two weeks (there).

23. 今週(こんしゅう)日食(にっしょく)()きます。
Konshū wa nisshoku ga okimasu.
This week, there’s going to be a solar eclipse.

24. 先週(せんしゅう)天気(てんき)()かったです。
Senshū mo tenki ga yokatta desu.
The weather was also good last week.

25. 20(はつ)()から丸一週間雪(まるいっしゅうかんゆき)が(()り)(つづ)きました。
Hatsuka kara maru-isshūkan yuki ga (furi)tsuzukimashita.
Snow continued to fall for a whole week since the twentieth.

26. 明日から3週間(しゅうかん)(ねが)いします。
Asu/ashita kara sanshūkan onegai shimasu.
For three weeks from tomorrow, please.

Reading Note: Asu is slightly politer than ashita, which makes it very likely in a sentence like this.

Tsuki no Yobikata 月の呼び方: The Months

The names of the months (tsuki 月) are simply expressed with the number of the month plus the counter -gatsu 月.

 January いちがつ
 February にがつ
 March さんがつ
 April しがつ
 May ごがつ
 June ろくがつ
 July しちがつ
 August はちがつ
 September くがつ
 October じゅうがつ
 November じゅういちがつ
 December じゅうにがつ
 ? なんがつ

Reading Note: As you can see, April and September use the not so frequently used variants of 4 and 9. You should also note that July is shichigatsu しちがつ instead of nanagatsu なながつ, which is only dialectical.

27. 日本(にほん)では新学期(しんがっき)4()(がつ)(はじ)まります。
Nihon de wa shingakki wa shigatsu ni hajimarimasu.
In Japan, new semesters begin in April.

28. (わたし)1(いち)(がつ)19(じゅうく)(にち)大阪(おおさか)(いん)()しました。
Watashi wa ichigatsu jūkunichi ni Ōsaka ni hikkoshimashita.
I moved to Osaka on January 19th.

29. 彼女(かのじょ)5()(がつ)()わりにカナダに()かいました。
Kanojo wa gogatsu no owari ni Kanada ni mukaimashita.
She headed for Canada at the end of May.

30. (ぼく)誕生日(たんじょうび)11(じゅういち)(がつ)16(じゅうろく)(にち)です。
Boku no tanjōbi wa jūichigatsu jūrokunichi desu.
My birthday is on November 16th.

31. クリスマスは12(じゅうに)(がつ)25(にじゅうご)(にち)ですね。
Kurisumasu wa jūnigatsu nijūgonichi desu ne?
Christmas is on December 25th, right?

The Suffix -jun

-jun 旬 means "tens days of a month" and is used in the following phrases. 



 First ten days of the month



 Middle ten days of the month



 Last ten days of the month

32. 3(さん)月上旬(がつじょうじゅん)発表(はっぴょう)します。
Sangatsu jōjun ni happyo shimasu.
We will announce it in the first ten days of next month.

33. 9()月中旬(がつちゅうじゅん)出張(しゅっちょう)することになりました。
Kugatsu chūjun ni shutchō suru koto ni narimashita.
I am to go on a business trip in mid-September.

34. 11(じゅういち)月下旬(がつげじゅん)発売(はつばい)した。
Jūichigatsu gejun ni hatsubai shita.
it went on sale in the latter part of November.

Period of Months

-kagetsu(kan) ヶ月(間)

To generically count months, you must use the counter -kagetsu(kan) ヶ月(間).

 1 いっかげつ(かん) 2 にかげつ(かん)  3 さんかげつ(かん)
 4 よんかげつ(かん) 5 ごかげつ(かん) 6 ろっかげつ(かん)
 7 ななかげつ(かん) 8 はちかげつ(かん)
 9 きゅうかげつ(かん)
 10 じゅっかげつ(かん)
 100 ひゃっかげつ(かん) ? なんかげつ(かん)

35. (いっ)()(げつ)(やく)4(よん)週間(しゅうかん)です。
Ikkagetsu wa yaku-yonshūkan desu.
There are about four weeks in a month.

36. ()()月分(げつぶん)(はら)いました。
Nikagetsu-bun wo haraimashita.
 I paid two months’ worth.

37. 3(さん)()(げつ)(かん)友達(ともだち)()っていなかった。
Sankagetsu(kan) tomodachi ni atte inakatta.
I hadn’t met my friends in three months.

38. 5()()月間思(げつかんおも)いっきり(きん)トレしています。
Gokagetsu(kan) omoikkiri kintore shite imasu.
I’ve been weight training wholeheartedly for five months.


In the spoken language, month periods are often expressed with native phrases for 1-4 as seen below with the counter -tsuki 月. Historically, this counter could be used with more numbers. For instance, there is an old phrase, totsuki tōka 十月十日, which refers to day 10 of the 10th month to refer to how long pregnancy typically is. Outside of such set phrases, though -tsuki 月 is not outside the numbers 1-4.

 1 ひとつき 2 ふたつき 3 みつき 4 よつき

39. 一月(ひとつき)3000(さんぜん)(えん)です!
Hitotsuki sanzen’en desu!
It’s 3,000 yen a month!

40. ふた(つき)でも、み(つき)でも()ちます。
Futatsuki demo, mitsuki demo machimasu.
I will wait, whether it be two months or even three months.

41. 三日(みっか)でも三月(みつき)でも(かま)いませんよ。
Mikka demo mitsuki demo kamaimasen yo.
I don’t mind if it’s three days or three months.

42. 家賃(やちん)は{ひと(つき)1(いっ)()(げつ)}いくらですか。
Yachin wa [hitotsuki/ikkagetsu] ikura desu ka?
How much is rent per month?

43. 月々(つきづき)援助(えんじょ)は{2()()(げつ)・ふた(つき)(とどこお)っています。
Tsukizuki no enjo wa [nikagetsu/futatsuki] todokotte imasu.
(My) monthly support is two months behind.

Period of Years

-nen(kan) 年(間)

The counter for year is -nen(kan) 年(間). This counter is also one of the handful of counters in which 4 must be read as "yo よ."

 1  いちねん(かん) 2 にねん(かん) 3 さんねん(かん)
 4 よねん(かん) 5 ごねんかん 6 ろくねん(かん)
 7 ななねん(かん)
 8 はちねん(かん) 9 きゅうねん(かん)
 10 じゅうねん(かん) 14 じゅうよねん(かん) 100 ひゃくねん(かん)

When used to refer to what year it is, -kan 間 is never used. Generally, there are no differences with how numbers are counted when used to refer to what year it is. However, it is worth noting that 2007 and 2009 are typically read as “nisenshichinen にせんしちねん” and “nisenkunen にせんくねん” respectively, although “nisen’nananenにせんななねん” and “nisenkyūnen にせんきゅうねん” respectively are also common. The same goes for 2017, 2019, etc.

44. 台湾語(たいわんご)3(さん)年間勉強(ねんかんべんきょう)しています。
Taiwango wo san’nenkan benkyō shite imasu.
I’ve been studying Taiwanese for three years.

45. マレー(シア)()習得(しゅうとく)するのに5()(ねん)(かん))かかりました。
Marē(shia)go wo shūtoku suru no ni gonen(kan) kakarimashita.
It took me five years to acquire Malay.

46. (わたし)(みなみ)アフリカに10(じゅう)(ねん)(かん)()んでいました。
Watashi wa Minami Afurika ni jūnen(kan) sunde imashita.
I once lived in South Africa for ten years.

47. 保証(ほしょう)5()年間(ねんかん)です。
Hoshō wa gonenkan desu.
The warranty is for five years.

48.  (かれ)8(はち)年間先生(ねんかんせんせい)をしています。
Kare wa hachinenkan sensei wo shite imasu.
He has been a teacher for eight years.

49. 日付(ひづけ)2017(にせんじゅうしちねん)(ねん)4()(がつ)22(にじゅうに)(にち)です。
Hizuke wa nisenjūshichinen shigatsu nijūninichi desu.
The date is April 22nd, 2017.

50. 今年(ことし)平成(へいせい)29(にじゅうく)(ねん)です。
Kotoshi wa Heisei nijūkunen desu.
This year is Heisei Year 29.

Culture Note: In Japan, alongside the Western date system, there is traditional date system that utilizes the eras of emperors. The current era is called the Heisei Period (Heisei Jidai 平成時代).

-kanen ヶ年

The counter -kanen ヶ年 translates as “over…years” and is frequently employed in legislation and business settings. However, ikkanen 1ヶ年 is infrequently used because “one year” is typically too short for major projects to take place.

 1 いっかねん △ 2 にかねん 3 さんかねん 4 よんかねん
 5 ごかねん 6 ろっかねん 7 ななかねん 8 はちかねん
 9 きゅうかねん 10  じゅっかねん
 100 ひゃっかねん ? なんかねん

51. 5()()年計画(ねんけいかく)実施(じっし)しました。
Gokanen keikaku wo jisshi shimashita.
We implemented a five-year plan.

52. 10(じゅっ)()(ねん)戦略(せんりゃく)実現(じつげん)しました。
Jukkanen no senryaku wo jitsugen shimashita.
We actualized a 10-year strategy.

53. (あら)たな3(さん)()年数値目標(ねんすうちもくひょう)発表(はっぴょう)しました。
Aratana sankanen suchi mokuhyō wo happyō shimashita.
We announced a new three-year target value.

54. 我々(われわれ)2()()(ねん)にわたる研究(けんきゅう)着手(ちゃくしゅ)しました。
Wareware wa nikanen ni wataru kenkyū ni chakushu shimashita.
We embarked a two-year long study.

55. 人生(じんせい)50(ごじゅっ)()年計画(ねんけいかく)()てました。
Jinsei gojukkanen keikaku wo tatemashita.
I made a fifty-year life plan.

-nensei 年生

The counter -nensei 年生is used to indicate what grade in school someone is in.

 1 いちねんせい 2 にねんせい 3 さんねんせい 4 よねんせい
 5 ごねんせい 6 ろくねんせい 7 ななねんせい 8 はちねんせい
 9 きゅうねんせい 10 じゅうねんせい ? なんねんせい  

  It is important to note that after 6, the only time one would use this counter would be when referencing the American school system which is divided into 12 grade levels. Although the Japanese education system is also divided into 12 grades, what they’re called is not the same.

 Grade 1 Shōgakkō ichinen 小学校1年 Shō-Ichi 小1
 Grade 2 Shōgakkō ninen 小学校2年 Shō-ni 小2
 Grade 3 Shōgakkō san’nen 小学校3年 Shō-san 小3
 Grade 4 Shōgakkō yonen 小学校4年 Shō-yon 小4
 Grade 5 Shōgakkō gonen 小学校5年 Shō-go 小5
 Grade 6 Shōgakkō rokunen 小学校6年 Shō-roku 小6
 Grade 7 Chūgakkō ichinen 中学校1年 Chū-ichi 中1
 Grade 8 Chūgakkō ninen 中学校2年 Chū-ni 中2
 Grade 9 Chūgakkō san’nen 中学校3年 Chū-san 中3
 Grade 10 Kōkō ichinen 高校1年 Kō-ichi 高1
 Grade 11 Kōkō ninen 高校2年 Kō-ni 高2
 Grade 12 Kōkō san’nen 高校3年 Kō-san 高3 

56. 1(いち)年生(ねんせい)がたくさん()ました。
Ichinensei ga takusan kimashita.
A lot of first graders came.

57. (ぼく)去年中学(きょねんちゅうがく)2()年生(ねんせい)でした。
Boku wa kyonen chūgaku ninensei deshita.
I was in eighth grade last year.

58. 彼女(かのじょ)(いま)ハーバード大学(だいがく)4()年生(ねんせい)です。
Kanojo wa ima Hābādo Daigaku no yonensei desu.
She is now a senior at Harvard.

-gakunen 学年

Gakunen 学年 means “academic year” and can also be used as a counter to count them.

 1 いちがくねん 2 にがくねん 3 さんがくねん 4 よんがくねん
 5 ごがくねん 6 ろくがくねん 7 なながくねん
 8 はちがくねん
 9 きゅうがくねん 10 じゅうがくねん11  じゅういちがくねん ? なんがくねん 

59. 1(いち)学年(がくねん)学習(がくしゅう)する内容(ないよう)指定(してい)しました。
Ichigakunen de gakushū suru naiyō wo shitei shimashita.
We designated what material is to be studied in one academic year.

60. 2()学年差(がくねんさ)兄弟(きょうだい)がいます。
Nigakunen-sa no kyōdai ga imasu.
I have siblings two grades apart (from me).