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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
3 mi, sa(n), za
4 shi, yo(n)
5 go, ko
6 mu, ro(ku)
7 na(na), shichi
8 ha(chi), ba, pa, ya, e(ito)
9 ku, kyu
10 to(o)
. (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.

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 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).
  • 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 get a Sure, Why Not? from 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

Live-Action TV
  • In Kamen Rider Kiva, entering 193 (ikusa) on the IXARiser triggers the Super Mode transformation.
  • In Kamen Rider Decade, Tsukasa is able to list the birth dates of all murdered female cops in his tour of Kuuga's World and have the cops believe that the Grongi killing them 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, this is not the reason why the Grongi were killing the cops. They were doing it as part of a ritual to awaken a Sealed Evil in a Can. Tsukasa said it to get the cops to be focused on guarding the other female officers so that he could lure the Grongis to the one who isn't being guarded by the cops. 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.
  • Kamen Rider Faiz does this with some of the riders: Kaixa has 913 (ka-i-sa) and Psyga has 315 (sa-i-ga).
  • 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).

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: 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 Japan, who's number is nothing but 5's, 7's, 3's and 0's.
  • 765 stands for Namco (namuko), and the number likewise appears in many of their games.
    • Xiaomu from Namco × 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 Idolmaster 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, Märchen Maze and Marvel Land.
    • In Tekken Tag Tournament 2, you can get a trophy by tagging out with your partner 765 times.
    • In Tales of the Abyss, the world of Auldrant has a 765-day year.
    • Noby Noby Boy has a trophy for reporting a length of exactly 765m.
  • 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.

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 PokéPark 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.

Episode Code NumberNumber TropesLetters 2 Numbers
Goldfish Scooping GameJapanese Media TropesHachiko
Good Cop/Bad CopWe Are Not Alone IndexThe Great Video Game Crash of 1983
Fun with HomophonesPunHurricane of Puns

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