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What is the number 7 in Japanese?


The Japanese language has a unique number system that uses a combination of Chinese characters and native Japanese numbers. Each number has its own pronunciation and meaning, making it important to understand the nuances of the language. In this article, we will focus on the number 7 in Japanese.

The Chinese character for 7

The Japanese number system uses Chinese characters, or kanji, to represent numbers. The kanji for the number 7 is 七. It is a simple character made up of two horizontal strokes and one vertical stroke.

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In Japanese, the pronunciation of the number 7 is “nana” or “shichi.” The choice of pronunciation depends on the context, as well as personal preference. For example, when counting objects, “nana” is more commonly used, while “shichi” is often used in phone numbers.

Cultural significance

The number 7 holds cultural significance in Japan, as it is considered a lucky number. This belief dates back to ancient times when seven was believed to have magical powers. Today, many Japanese people still consider 7 to be a lucky number and use it for various purposes.

Expressions using 7

There are several expressions in Japanese that use the number 7. For example, “nanakorobi yaoki” means “fall down seven times, stand up eight,” which represents perseverance and resilience. Another expression is “nana-mai-gaeshi,” which means turning over seven times, representing a complete reversal of fortune.

Other uses of 7

In addition to its cultural significance and expressions, the number 7 is also used in various practical ways in Japan. For example, many convenience stores have a discount system where customers can get a discount if they buy seven items or more.

Similarities to other languages

The pronunciation of the number 7 in Japanese (“nana”) is similar to that of other East Asian languages such as Korean (“ilgop”) and Mandarin Chinese (“qī”). This similarity is due to the shared use of Chinese characters in these languages’ number systems.

Differences from other languages

While the pronunciation of the number 7 may be similar across different languages using Chinese characters, there are differences in how it is written. For example, in Korean, the character for 7 looks like a sideways V, while in Mandarin Chinese, it has an additional horizontal stroke.

Usage in everyday life

The number 7 is used frequently in everyday life in Japan. From phone numbers to store discounts and expressions, understanding the nuances of this number is important for communication and cultural understanding.

Learning Japanese numbers

Learning Japanese numbers can be challenging but rewarding. By understanding the unique pronunciation and meanings behind each number, learners can gain insights into Japanese culture and language.

Tips for learning

Some tips for learning Japanese numbers include practicing regularly, listening to native speakers, and using flashcards or other memory aids. It’s also important to be patient and persistent in your learning journey.


In conclusion, the number 7 holds cultural significance in Japan and is used frequently in everyday life. By understanding its pronunciation, meaning, and usage, learners can deepen their knowledge of Japanese language and culture.

Is the number 7 lucky in Japan?

The number seven is considered lucky in Japan due to its important role in Buddhism and its association with the Seven Gods of Luck. The number eight is also seen as lucky, but to a lesser extent. In Japan, fans symbolize wealth and prosperity because they spread out from narrow to broad, representing abundance.

Why is the number 7 special in Japan?

The significance of the number seven in Japan is rooted in religious traditions, specifically Buddhism. Buddhists in Japan observe the seventh day after a baby’s birth and the seventh day after a person’s death, as it is believed that the soul transitions at these times. This cultural belief is not imported, but rather deeply ingrained in Japanese tradition.

What does 7 symbolize?

The number 7 is commonly thought of as lucky and has a certain intrigue, potentially due to it being a prime number that cannot be achieved by multiplying two smaller numbers.

Is 7 Nana or Shichi Japanese?

As previously mentioned, the numbers yon (4) and nana (7) are more commonly used than shi and shichi. This is believed to be because shi can also mean death (死), making it an unlucky choice (due to tetraphobia), while shichi sounds too similar to ichi (1), shi or hachi (8).

What does 7777 mean Japanese?

The number 7777 indicates that something did not meet the standards to receive applause and was only given a rating of 7 instead of 8. On the other hand, the number 9999 represents something that exceeded expectations and was even better than what an 8888 rating would suggest. This system is often used to express opinions on performance or quality.

What is the holy Japanese number?

The number seven is often associated with good fortune or spiritual significance across many cultures. Examples include: the seven wonders of the world, seven deadly sins, seven virtues, seven seas, seven days of the week, seven colors of the rainbow, and the seven dwarfs, among others.

It is worth noting that the Japanese number system can be a bit tricky for beginners, as it uses a mix of Chinese characters and native Japanese numbers. For example, numbers up to 10 are represented by unique characters, while numbers between 11 and 99 are formed by combining different characters. This can make counting and doing math in Japanese quite challenging.

However, with practice and patience, learners can master the Japanese number system. Learning numbers is an essential part of language learning, as they are used in everyday conversations, from telling time to exchanging phone numbers.

In addition to the cultural significance of the number 7, there are other important numbers in Japanese culture. For example, the number 8 is considered lucky because it sounds similar to the word for “prosperity” in Japanese. On the other hand, the number 4 is considered unlucky because it sounds similar to the word for “death.”

In conclusion, learning Japanese numbers, including the number 7, is an important aspect of language learning. Understanding their pronunciation, cultural significance, and usage can help learners communicate more effectively and appreciate Japanese culture. With dedication and effort, mastering the Japanese number system is achievable.

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