Goroawase Number

Numbers in Japanese don't have a single pronunciation: both kun'yomi (native Japanese) and on'yomi (Chinese-derived) readings are commonly used. Japanese speakers take advantage of these different phonetic readings, mixing them freely to produce mnemonic phrases to remember long numbers, such as phone numbers or entrance exam IDs. This device, called goroawase (wordplay), also can be reversed to convert many Japanese names or phrases into code numbers.

Goroawase numbers are read digit for digit, with each digit arbitrarily assigned a kun'yomi, on'yomi or Gratuitous English reading, often shortened to the first syllable or phonetically modified. Here is a list of digits and their possible readings:

0 ma(ru), o, re(i)
1 hi(to), i(chi), wan
2 fu, bu, pu, ni, tsu(u)
3 mi, sa(n), za
4 shi, yo(n)
5 go, ko, itsu
6 mu, ro(ku)
7 na(na), shichi
8 ha(chi), ba, pa, ya, e(ito)
9 ku, kyu(u)
10 to(o), juu
. (decimal point) ten

Punning on the English meaning for 5/go has its own trope, One, Two, Three, Four, Go!. Also see Seven Is Nana, Four Is Death.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Soul Eater, the number to call Shinigami is 42-42-564 (shini-shini-goroshi, "death-death-murder").
  • In Keroro Gunsou, Keroro, Giroro and Natsumi are often associated with the numbers K66, 966 and 723.
  • This trope is all over Katekyo Hitman Reborn! in the characters' names:
    27: Tsunayoshi Sawada
    59: Hayato Gokudera
    80: Takeshi Yamamoto
    69: Mukuro Rokudo
    96: Chrome (Kuromu) Dokuro
    18: Kyoya Hibari
    101: Irie Shouichi
    100: Byakuran ("B/Hyaku" = 100)
    • This is also how they list their Shipping, so don't be surprised if a Yaoi Fangirl has a sort of random four digit (or sometimes five or six or more digit) number in their fanfic summaries.
  • In Bleach, Ichigo is 15 years old, was born on July 15, and has the number 15 on some of his shirts and his bedroom door.
  • Ah! My Goddess: the protagonist sometimes signs his name as "K1" (Keiichi).
  • Azumanga Daioh: Yomi's student ID number when she goes to see if she passed the make-up entrance exam is 3661 - "Sa-mu-ra-i, huh?" The lurking fear is that if she didn't pass, she would be left without a university to attend (a ronin, which originally meant a (samurai) warrior without a master but nowadays usually refers to those who have graduated high school but are not university students because they haven't passed entrance exams).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL takes advantage of this with their Number monsters. For instance, No. 39 Kibo-oh Hope ("Utopia" in the dub) is the Yuma's trump card, and its number can be "sankyu" (the English "thank you") or "miku" ("future"). On the other hand, one recurring villain is No. 96 Black Mist ("Dark Mist" in the dub), with 96 being "kuro", or "black".
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: the weather will be nice (na-i-su) on July 13 (7-1-3)
  • In K-On! the Movie, the song "Gohan wa Okazu" ("Rice as a Side Dish") is played in London during the Light Music Club's graduation trip, which is what they tell their fellow students when they get back. A girl says a word from the song ("Donaiyanen?"), and Ritsu says, "That's right, Ichigo!" This is quite appropriate, as the refrain of the song is basically counting from ichi to go and adding han to make the last number mean "rice".
  • In the animal adventure episode of Excel Saga, the gambler of the group gets disturbed when he tosses his dice and they come up 4-2 ("shi ni", or "to death"). All the dogs, except for Menchi, are dead by the end of the episode.
  • In Haiyore! Nyarko-san, Doujin artist Tsuruko tries to psych herself up to talk to Mahiro (about whom she wrote a Boys Love doujin) by practicing her introduction; in it, she mentions that her favorite number is 801 — Ya-O-I.
  • In Inazuma Eleven, Tsunami's surfboard has "273" written on it.
  • In the letter columns run in One Piece, fans frequently suggest birthdays for characters both major and minor. Dates that become ascended by Eiichiro Oda either fall into this trope or match up to holidays that suit the character in some way.

Fan Works
  • Some Touhou fanworks give Gensoukyou the (postal or telephone) area code 890. (Ha-ku-rei)
    • This comic (Possibly NSFW ads) shows off Cirno's math skills. To wit:
      4 + 6 = Youmu
      1 + 9 + 3 = Iku-san
      0 + 6 = Reimu
      3 + 9 + 8 = Sakuya
    • Common examples are Koishi's 514 (oftimes as the date 5/14) and Byakuren's 763 ("Namusan~").

Live-Action TV
  • Kamen Rider Faiz has phone-based Transformation Trinkets and uses Goroawase as the activation codes for two Riders; Kaixa has 913 (ka-i-sa) and Psyga has 315 (sa-i-ga).
  • Muck like Faiz, Kamen Rider Kiva has Kamen Rider Ixa, who activates his Super Mode by dialing 193 (ikusa) into his phone-gun.
  • In Kamen Rider Decade, in Kuuga's World Tsukasa discerns a pattern in the birthdates of the policewomen murdered by the Grongi, making the cops believe that the Grongi are trying to send a message. The message in this case being "Mi-na-go-ro-shi" or "kill everyone", with shi being the next cop being targeted. As it turns out, Tsukasa was lying through his teeth; the "hidden message" was just a Red Herring to get the police out of the way guarding another cop while he used the real next victim as bait. Truly Tsukasa is quite the Magnificent Bastard.
  • The title of the '99 Super Sentai series Rescue Sentai GoGoFive (using the Japanese word for "rescue", "kyukyu") can be read as "Nine-Nine Sentai Five-Five-Five", referencing the year and Japan's emergency services number.
  • Juken Sentai Gekiranger has a character named Gou; his younger brother Retsu often calls him "Gou-niisan" ("my big brother Gou"). This sounds like "go-ni-san", i.e. 523, that 523 is sometimes used as shorthand for his name among fans.

Music
  • One Vocaloid concert featuring Hatsune Miku was titled "39's Giving Day." "39's" can be read either as "Miku's" or a phonetic approximation of "Thank You" (sankyuu).
  • Japanese band Go!Go! 7188 loves to play with numbers as their name suggest, one of his albums is named 569, which is read as "Goroku" (Go Rock)

Web Comics

Video Games
  • 573 stands for Konami, and the number appears in many of their games; it appears on high score tables and background elements from time to time. The background elements in question are sometimes quite subtle or hidden references.
    • There are 573 arrows on the Heavy chart for MAX 300; something that wasn't immediately obvious because it was listed on the DDRMAX stats screen as 555 steps of which 18 are jumps.
    • On really old beatmania versions, there is a mix of the Metal Gear Solid theme where you repeatedly trigger a bass drum sample - 5 times, then 7 times, then 3 times - on sixteenths, with well-spaced single hits in between.
    • In many cell-phone games that feature the Konami Code, "B and A" at the end is often replaced by 573.
    • Castlevania: Bloodlines has a musical Easter Egg enabled by going into option mode and setting the BGM to 05 and the sound effects to 073.
    • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow has three areas where you need a certain three digits at the end of your money amount to open doors. One of them is, yes, 573.
    • In Mitsumete Knight R: Daibouken Hen, the icon sprite of one of the game's numerous pieces of equipement, the "No-Brand Pendant", depicts a necklace with the number "573" written on it.
    • In beatmania IIDX, you need to finish a song with at least 80% on your gauge to clear it. Finish with exactly 80% and you get a bonus of 5730 points.
      • Then Tricoro goes ahead and makes unlock conditions for a series of boss songs all revolve around 573 too.
    • Some Yu-Gi-Oh! games have an achievement for winning a match with 5730 Life Points remaining. As you can guess, it's nearly impossible to pull off in normal gameplay.
    • In TwinBee Yahoo!, powerup bells collected by players already at full power are worth 57300 points each.
    • Even the phone numbers for Konami's offices frequently end in 573.
      • Especially Konami's Japanese offices, who's number is nothing but 5's, 7's, 3's and 0's.
    • Para-Medic's frequency number in Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops is 145.73 (ishi konami, or "Dr. Konami").
    • The default top score in the arcade version of Gradius is 57,300 points.
    • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the license plate on Raiden's car is 573-PTG, a reference to both, Konami and Platinum Games.
    • Konami's official YouTube channel is KONAMI573ch.
    • In Hard Corps: Uprising, the mid-boss and end-boss in Mission 3 are mechs codenamed the 573 Tigris and the 573 Draconis respectively (they are called Kasuga-Tora and Kasuga-Ryu in the original Japanese versions). Additionally, the 30-lives upgrade costs 57,300,000 Corps Points, and the maximum number of credits the player can attain after accumulating more than 16 hours of playtime is 573.
    • Otomedius G has a set of achievements for playing the game for 5 minutes, 57 minutes and 573 minutes, and another set of achievements for touching the angels 5 times, 57 times and 573 times.
    • The "Snake Escape" minigame in Ape Escape 3 is unlocked by purchasing it from the Hobby Shop with 573 coins.
  • 765 stands for Namco (namuko), and the number likewise appears in many of their games.
    • Xiaomu from Namco X Capcom is 765 years old.
    • The Namco Museum Vol. 3 version of The Tower of Druaga includes the secret "Another Tower," where the trick to revealing the treasure chest on one of the floors is letting the timer reach 7650.
    • The iDOLM@STER revolves around fictional talent agency 765 Production, whose rival company 961 Production is headed by a man named Kuroi.
    • A maximum of 7650 points can be scored at once in Pac-Land, Pac-Mania, Mńrchen Maze and Marvel Land.
    • In Tekken Tag Tournament 2, you can get a trophy by tagging out with your partner 765 times. Gold Boxes may contain 765,000 gold instead of an item, and Lucky Boxes can contain up to 765,000 gold.
    • In Tekken 6, the Special Flags in Scenario Campaign mode are worth 7650 points each.
    • In Tales of the Abyss, the world of Auldrant has a 765-day year.
    • Tales of Vesperia and Tales of Legendia have the 765kg Hammer.
    • Noby Noby Boy has a trophy for reporting a length of exactly 765m.
    • Most cover cars in the Ridge Racer series sport the number 765. There's also a fictional sponsor in the game, obviously called 765, which apparently is a fuel company. Oh, and then there's the racetrack "Seaside Route 765".
  • Dance Dance Revolution has a song titled ".59", read as tengoku (heaven).
    • beatmania IIDX has "G59", read as jigoku (hell). It's even composed by the same person.
  • 428, a Visual Novel set in the city of Shibuya.
  • Atlantis No Nazo has "Key Word ~Nagoya~" appearing over a pyramid in the 20th Zone, to the right of three Moai statues. "Nagoya" is supposed to be a clue to stand on each of the three heads in turn and throw bombs seven, five and eight times, respectively.
  • 2424, Puyo Puyo. Is occasionally an Arc Number in the minimal storylines.
    • Additionally, some of the games have punny titles for the sequel: Puyo Puyo Tsu (two) for the second, Puyo Puyo Sun (san) for the third, and Puyo Puyo~n (yon) for the fourth.
  • In Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side, Himuro Reiichi is nicknamed "01" by some of his students. In TMGS 2, his cousin Hikami takes the joke a step further by addressing a gift to "0123" ("Reiichi-niisan").
  • In Deardrops, the numbers in "Live Space 696" can be pronounced ro-ku-ro (Rock'n'Roll).
  • Defeating the Bonus Boss in the first Yakuza game earned you a million yen and 893 experience. As noted below, this is because you can say 893 as "Ya-ku-za".
  • In an alphanumeric example, when the Xbox One was revealed one of the nicknames that popped up in Japan for it took its "X1" abbreviation and made it "batsu-ichi" - meaning "divorcee" with a subtext of failure.
  • In Gitaroo Man, the main character U-1 is named Yuichi.
  • Inverted with Miyo in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni; she changed the kanji of her given name to 34 to show her dedication to following the work of her adopted father, Hifumi (123). It's implied that if she kept her full given name, Miyoko (345), she might have gotten further.
    • The creator, Ryukishi07, can be prounounced Ryukishi Reina or Rena; another Higurashi character.
  • One of the racetracks in Wipeout 3 is called "Hi-Fumi" (123).
  • In Persona 4, Yukiko's Persona is Konohana Sakuya. "Sakuya" can also be read as 398, and her Instant KO in Persona 4 Arena appropriately deals 398 hits.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has this as a plot point: The protagonists believe they are looking for a door marked with a number 9 (kyu), when in fact they're looking for a door with a Q (kyu) on it. In English, the wordplay is removed, and instead hinges entirely on the fact that a lowercase q kind of looks like a 9 if written a certain way.

Real Life
  • Suda51, the name adopted by the video game creator Goichi Suda.
  • 524 Records, a label established by Yasuharu Konishi.
  • 893 is often used to refer to the Yakuza, such as protection money being paid to "Customer #893."
  • "888..." is read as "pachipachipachi..."note , an onomotopeia for clapping. You can sometimes see long streams of 8's in Nico Nico Douga video scrolling comments.
  • The PokÚPark Theme Park in Nagoya, Japan was located on Route 758.
  • Many gaijin interested in Japanese media use 39 or 3Q to mean "thank you", as "san kyu".
  • Race cars backed or entered by Nissan often carry the number 23.
  • Also, 3923 can also mean "Thank you Nissan!" in which can be translated as "Thank you, big brother!"note .
  • This also crops up in Chinese every now and then. One such example is saying goodbye on text messages with "88", since the number 8 in Mandarin is "bā", so two 8's spoken together is "bābā" which sounds like the English "bye-bye."
  • February 22nd has begun to unofficially be celebrated as "Ninja Day", because the date of 2/22 can be read as "nin/ninnin".