A foreigner residing in Kanagawa Prefecture has been counting zeros for near on three decades.

“Life would be much simpler if ichiman had three zeros,” says Charles Bunton.

“I feel as if a large chunk of my time in Yokohama is spent figuring out how many ‘0’s exist behind the first couple of numbers.”

Bunton says Japan should do it like the rest of the world does, by counting in groups of  “three zeros, instead of four”.

“Just like we count in feet and miles in America,” says Bunton.


  1. What about this is hot news?
    Whats this article even about?
    Sure it’s a struggle being a foreigner but it aint that bad now cmon.

    • The article is poking fun of the fact that learners of Japanese have a hard time with the fact that it groups numbers by 4 instead of 3. So for example, 100,000 is really 10,0000 and is called “Juu-man” (10 10 thousands).

  2. It’s about their number-naming scheme. In English, add a zero to hundred thousand and you get a million. In Japan, 10,000 is one “man,” 10,000,000 is a “sen man” (thousand man), and 100,000,000 is one “oku.” That’s the whole point about counting zeros in fours – they get a new numeric designation after every x10000, not every x1000 like in English. I probably got this explanation wrong because I miscounted.

  3. I was roommates with an American for a couple of months. He was talking about a festival and how they used the “Japanese way of counting” to figure how often a festival would be. The guy was just dumb. Sort of like how people thought that New Year’s 1999/2000 celebrated 2000 years. Some people have difficulty grasping these things.

  4. It’s a trick to give the illusion that expensive things are cheap. Just think about ads that says ¥5,000-Man for a house instead of ¥50,000,000.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here