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||零||ma(ru), o, re(i)|
|1||一||hi(to), i(chi), wan|
|2||二||fu, bu, pu, ni, tsu(u)|
|3||三||mi, sa(n), za, su(ri)|
|5||五||go, ko, itsu|
|8||八||ha(chi), ba, pa, ya, e(ito)|
|. (decimal point)||点||ten|
May overlap with Numerical Theme Naming.
See also Phone Word.
- 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).
- Bleach: Ichigo's name is stated in-universe as meaning 'one who protects' but it also uses the numbers 1 and 5, something he likes making use of. He starts the show aged 15, was born on the 15th July and has the number 15 on his bedroom door and some of his t-shirts. His sister Karin calls him 'Ichi-ni', which means 'Ichi-brother' (one-brother) as a deliberate pun of the numbers 'one-two' whereas his other sister Yuzu calls him the politer 'ichi-ni-san'; as well as 'one-brother', it's also a deliberate pun of 'one-two-three'.
- Detective Conan: Kogoro likes to use his name in number format (556) as a password.
- DARLING in the FRANXX takes this Up to Eleven. All the children are only given code numbers by the society that calls them 'parasites', but Hiro (016), The Nicknamer, starts creating names for himself and his friends out of the code numbers.
- 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.
- At the end of Initial D, Takumi drives past a Toyota GT-86 with the plate number 86-239. This reads as Hachiroku-ni sankyuu (thank you big brother 86), thanking its spiritual predecessor and the series' hero car, the Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex or "Hachiroku".note
- The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: the weather will be nice (na-i-su) on July 13 (7-1-3).
- In Gundam Build Fighters Try, Super-Deformed Gunpla tend to use Goroawase in their model numbers; Fumina's Winning Gundam is SD-237 (Fu-Mi-Na) while Lady Kawaguchi's "Kurenai Musha" Red Warrior Amazing is SD-9071A (Ku-Re-Na-I).
- The Scramble Gundam introduced in the OVA Island Wars has the model number BN-876, which didn't make much sense...until an upgraded version dubbed the Hot Scramble Gundam was revealed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Gundam video games, which are now made by Bandai Namco (Ba-Na-Mu).
- 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 Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto, Hayabusa's name is written as 8823.
- In Inazuma Eleven, Tsunami's surfboard has "273" written on it.
- This trope is all over Katekyō 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)
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run, Gyro makes a joke while passing Johnny in which he holds up four fingers, then two, then makes a zero with his index finger and thumb - the joke is that these numbers can be read as "shitsurei," which means "excuse me." This joke is notorious among the English-speaking fandom for making absolutely no sense if you aren't familiar with Japanese.
- Not to mention it makes no sense for a Neapolitannote to be making this joke towards an American.
- Several of this trope can be seen in K-On!.
- The musical instrument shop 10GIA where Yui bought her guitar is based on the real life JEUGIA shop in Kyoto.
- 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, coincidentally named Ichigo, 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 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.
- In Osomatsu-kun and Osomatsu-san, Iyami is often associated with the number 183, and Jyushimatsu with the number 14.
- In Rinne, Sakura needs to deduce the combination to Sabato's safe, but she has no clues because she doesn't know anything about him except his name. So she tries 3-8-10 (sa-ba-to). It works.
- In Soul Eater, the number to call Shinigami is 42-42-564 (shini-shini-goroshi, "death-death-murder").
- In Sgt. Frog, Keroro, Giroro and Natsumi are often associated with the numbers K66, 966 and 723.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX does a variation on this with Chazz/Manjoume's post-North Academy "Manjoume Thunder" chant.
10,000: Man-joume San-da!
- 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".
- Nanbaka has the prisoners use their prisoner numbers as names. The Chinese sect even has its prisoners make relevant puns off their numbers in their native language!
- In Ninja Slayer, the password to the hideout where Yoroshisan Pharmaceuticals is cloning Yakuza soldiers is 4643893 (Yo-Ro-Shi-San Ya-Ku-Za). The Narrator even calls them out for using such an obvious password.
- Some Touhou fanworks give Gensoukyou the (postal or telephone) area code 890. (Ha-ku-rei)
- Strangely, this is used in the Steven Universe fanfic Seeds Of Rebellion for gem designation numbers:
- Ruby and Sapphire's shared number is 8291 which can be read as hatsukoi (first love) if using the kokono reading of 9.
- Pearl String 24976 = tsuyoku naro (let's become strong).
- Rare Western example: Vinny the New Yorker is seeking a job and is very qualified. The potential boss cannot stand Vinny's very thick New York accent. So he is looking for an excuse to not hire him. The boss finally meets with Vinny in his office and says, "Okay, Vinny, we need people who can communicate very well. To test that, can show me the number nine in a way that doesn't use the symbol OR nine items?" Vinny things for a moment, takes a piece of paper and proceeds to draw on it. He hands back the paper and the boss looks at the paper and shakes his head, "Vinny, you just drew a forest. Why did you think that would make nine?." Vinny laughs, "You don't see it? I drew you a tree and a tree and a tree. As anyone knows, Tree(three) and Tree and Tree makes Nine." The boss is flustered but a little amused and hands the paper back, "Okay, Vinny, draw 99 without drawling any more trees." Again, Vinny things for a moment before he starts drawling on the paper. He hands it back to the boss, even quicker than the last time. The boss takes a look, shakes his head, and says, "Vinny, you just drew smudges on your trees. That can't be 99." Vinny laughs and says, "Well, imagine if New York Sanitation goes on strike. And the mayor, he doesn't want to give sanitation their money. So as the strike goes on, the city gets very filthy and gross. And if you go walk your dog in Central park, you'd see Dirty Tree(Thirty-Three) and Dirty Tree(Thirty-Three) and Dirty Tree(Thirty-Three). And that's 99." The boss is even more flustered, but so curious, he wants to try and get Vinny. "Okay Vinny, but without drawling Dirty Trees, can you show me 100?" Vinny takes the paper, quickly draws some thing on it and hands it back to the boss. "Okay, Vinny, how do these black blobs you drew by your dirty trees make 100?" Vinny smiles, "Well, I'm walkin' my dog in Central Park during a sanitation strike. And Rover, he ain't so well trained, you see. So the entire way to the park, he's been eatin' all of the garbage he can find on the side of the street. By the time we get there, Rover has a tummy ache and it's a bad one. So he walks up to one dirty tree, and does his business... but he still has a tummy ache so he goes to another dirty tree and does some more business and another one after that and now you have Dirty Tree and a Turd(33 and a Third) and Dirty Tree and a Turd (33 and a Third) and Dirty Tree and a Turd (33 and a Third) and that makes a hundred.
- Kamen Rider:
- Kamen Rider Faiz has phone-based Transformation Trinkets and uses Goroawase as the activation codes for two Riders; Kaixa has 913 (ku-i-sa) and Psyga has 315 (sa-i-go). They're not exact, but they're the closest they could get.
- Much like Faiz, Kamen Rider Kiva has Kamen Rider Ixa, who activates his Super Mode by dialing 193 (i-ku-sa) into his phone-gun.
- When he loses the IXA System, Keisuke Nago tries to become a Big Brother Mentor to its new user and starts wearing a T-shirt with 753 — Nago-san — on it. Since then, 753 has become a fandom short-hand for Nago's name. It even gets referenced in Kamen Rider X Kamen Rider Gaim And Wizard The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle, where the leader of the Kiva Army (played by Nago's actor Keisuke Kato) wears a Martial Arts Headband with "753" on it.
- 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.
- Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: In the first episode of the Kamen Sentai Gorider net spinoff, Emu finds a broken mirror with a sequence of numbers written in blood: 201089609. In the third episode, the meaning is finally revealed. Emu himself wrote it after being fatally stabbed by Kazuma Kenzaki (Kamen Rider Blade) in a previous time-loop — "Blade is the mastermind"note . However, at the end of the second episode after Emu is stabbed again and "Kenzaki" reveals his true identity to rub salt in the wound, Emu finds the message and alters it, crossing out the 9609 and adding 9610: "Blade is Kuroto" — Emu's enemy Kuroto Dan, Kamen Rider Genm.
- Kamen Rider Build: Kazumi's dog tag number is 9-0-7-1-0-1-0-8, alluding to his actor's previous role as Otoya Kurenai in Kivanote .
- Super Sentai:
- Kyukyu Sentai GoGoV was a Rescue-themed Super Sentai series that aired in 1999. "Kyukyu" means "rescue" but also sounds like "nine-nine", referring to the airing year; and "Go Go V" ("go go five") refers to Japan's emergency services number of 555.
- 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.
- Uchu Sentai Kyuranger
- One Vocaloid concert featuring Hatsune Miku was titled "39's Giving Day." "3 9" (as "three nine" rather than "thirty-nine") can be read either as "Miku" 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).
- 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 one particular Yugioh game, using the code increases your money by 573 instead.
- 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 radio 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 PlatinumGames.
- 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 Japanese version). 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.
- The song "Nengo Rock/Suwa Hideo no gorogoro nengo oboe uta ketteiban" from Pop n' Music is full of Goroawase Numbers, including a "573" at the end.
- In pop n' music, one of the "ojama" modifiers will cause a variety of random numbers to show up for the combo counter... including, of course, 573.
- In Lightning Fighters, the star bonus items max out at 5730 points each.
- 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. This crosses over with the tie-in DLC for Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, where the Idolmaster-themed DLC planes were given ammo counts referencing their respective character's height and three sizes - the themed A-10, representing the full cast at once, was instead given 765 standard missiles and 70 rockets, 60 fuel-air explosive bombs, or 50 air-to-ground missiles.
Other branches of the Idolmaster franchise would follow suit with the agency Goroawase naming motif. Dearly Stars has 876 Production (ba-na-mu - see the Bandai Namco section below), Cinderella Girls has 346 Production (mi-shi-ro, "beautiful castle"), SideM has 315 Production (sa-i-ko, "ultimate") and Shiny Colors has 283 Production (tsu-ba-sa, "wing").
- A maximum of 7650 points can be scored at once in Pac-Land, Pac-Mania, Märchen Maze and Marvel Land as well as in Pac-Man's Final Smash in Nintendo Super Smash Bros. series.
- 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, Tales of Legendia and Yumeria 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".
- One trophy in Taiko No Tatsujin V Version requires you to get 76500 total drum hits throughout the game.
- One of the recurring "Lucky Numbers" (a rank at which you can receive one of the top-tier rewards without being in that tier) in Ace Combat Infinity's ranking events is 765.
- In Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1, Vert asks for advice from 765-chan. What's interesting about this is that this game isn't made by Namco and has nothing to do with them.
- After the merger of Bandai and Namco into Bandai Namco, 876 (ba-na-mu, "BanNam") joined up with 765 in game appearances.
- Bandai Namco's official Japanese YouTube channel is named 876 TV.
- The Hot Scramble Gundam, a video game-exclusive Gundam mobile suit featured in the Gundam Vs Series and SD Gundam G Generation Genesis, has the model number BN-876.
- As stated above, The Idolmaster Dearly Stars revolves around fictional talent agency 876 Production.
- Soulcalibur V has an achievement for moving over 87,600 total meters across the stages in-game.
- beatmania IIDX has a song titled ".59", read as tengoku (heaven).
- About 8 years later we have "G59", read as jigoku (hell), by the same composer.
- In some versions of IIDX that have high score tables, one of the default score names is "4CTAKA", meant to be read as "Yoshitaka", as in DJ YOSHITAKA.
- beatmania IIDX has a song titled ".59", read as tengoku (heaven).
- 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, and often extended one digit to 24242 to be the default high score value in the games that keep track of that.
- 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).
- 893 can be said as "Yakuza":
- 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: When They Cry; 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, Ryukishi 07, 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.
- In Final Fantasy IX, you can randomly run into a weird creature called Ragtime Mouse that asks you Pop Quiz questions. Once you answer all of them, the next time you run into him, he tells you the percentage of correct answers and if you got all of them right, he gives you 23852 Experience divided amongst the 4 party members, totalling 5963 Experience each as well as 59630 Gil: 5963 can be read as "gokurosan", which stands for "good job".
- In the Toaplan Shoot 'em Up Batsugun, one Boss Battle has a series of tanks which come out in two files, and bombing them all at once will score 59630 (gokurosan) points each.
- In Yo-Kai Watch, completing a quest given to you by a dog earns you 111 EXP and 1111 Gold. In Gratuitous English, 1 is pronounced "wan", which is also the onomatopoeia for a dog barking.
- In a non-Japanese example, The Elder Scrolls lore states that in their own language, altmers' (high elves') names consist of a sequence of numbers.
- Suda51, the name adopted by the video game creator Suda Gōichi.
- 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.
- 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, thanks to the extensive amount of homophones and near-homophones. One such example is saying goodbye on text messages with "88"; 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".
- BEMANI composer Yuichi Asami goes by the handle U1-ASAMi.
- Some Japanese restaurants have special offers on meat dishes on the 29th day of the month, since that is "Niku (Meat) Day".
- Minako Kotobuki uses 375 as her number, most commonly on her radio show where it is included in the official e-mail address.
- Mangaka Harukawa 35, pronounced as Harukawa Sango.
- Both Mini owners and Nissan Sunny owners will meet up (alongside Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R owners) at the famed Daikoku parking area on March 2, aka 3/2, which can be read as either "mini" or "sanni"(Sunny).