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Kanji Challenge – Part 1 Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Culture, Grammar

This month, I would like to focus on Kanji’s. As you know, Kanji is just a character , and it is part of the three Japanese writing styles. However, the use of it becomes pretty complex unless you know its meaning and how to pronounce it correctly.



I would like to show you step by step how you can incorporate Kanji’s into your everyday Japanese. Starting with the basics, I will show you how you can replace your Hiragana knowledge with Kanji’s to expland your Japanese language ability.  Kanji can be hard at first, but trust me, you can take one character at a time, and eventually, you will love using Kanjis. The focus here is all about speaking and reading. Not so much about writing them.


With that said, let’s first start with the most basic Kanji’s. The numbers, 1 through 10! They are written as:

一 (ichi) いち

二  (ni) に

三  (san) さん

四  (shi, yon) し

五  (go) ご

六  (roku) ろく

七  (nana, shichi) なな

八 (hachi) はち

九 (kyu) きゅう

十 (ju) じゅう

These are the most basic Kanji’s you can learn at first.  Once you memorize these 10 Kanji’s, the rest is not too bad. When you count in Japanese, 11 through 20 will be:

十一 (ju-ichi) じゅういち

十二 (ju-ni) じゅうに

十三 (ju-san) じゅうさん

十四 (ju-shi) じゅうし

十五 (ju-go) じゅうご

十六 (ju-roku) じゅうろく

十七 (ju-nana) じゅうなな

十八 (ju-hachi) じゅうはち

十九 (ju-ku) じゅうく

二十 (ni ju) にじゅう

Not too bad, right?

Here are some sentences how you can use what you just learned.

How old is your son? 

あなたの むすこさんは なんさい ですか?Anatano musukosanwa nansai deuka?

~He is 2 years old.

かれは、二さい です。

Karewa 2 sai desu.

~He is 10 years old.

かれは、十さい です。

Karewa 10 sai desu.

~He is 16 years old. 

かれは、十六さい です。

Karewa 16 sai desu.


What is today’s date?

きょうの ひにちは なんですか?

Kyono hinichiwa nandesuka?

~Today is January 14th.

きょうは 一がつ 十四にち です。

Kyowa  ichigatsu 14nichi desu.

~Today is February  19th.

きょうは 二がつ 十九にち です。

Kyowa  nigatsu jukyu nichi desu.


In next few blog posts, I will be introducing you to more Kanji’s. Stay tuned….

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About the Author: keiko

Born and raised in Japan. She currently lives in U.S. with her husband and two kids.


  1. PJ:

    Hello ^^ Isn’t the 14th day じゅうよっか rather than じゅうよんにち? Thank you!

    • keiko:

      @PJ Hi PJ,

      Thanks for your comments. Yes, you are correct in that 14th day will be also Juyokka (じゅうよっか). Thank you for pointing that out. I left it as じゅうよんにち to keep it simple where reading 十四 will reflect the straight forward pronunciation of じゅうよん rather than じゅうよ + っか. I think both ways will be correct, but I agree with you, じゅうよっか is used more frequently than じゅうよんにち.