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.
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 |
|6 || mu, ro(ku) |
|7 || na(na), shichi |
|8 || ha(chi), ba, pa, ya, e(ito) |
|9 || ku, kyu(u) |
|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
Anime and Manga
- Some Touhou fanworks give Gensoukyou the (postal or telephone) area code 890. (Ha-ku-rei)
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.