Guide: How to Say “Million” in Japanese – Formal and Informal Ways

Learning how to express numbers in different languages is an essential step in becoming proficient in any language. In this guide, we will explore the various ways to say “million” in Japanese, both formally and informally. Japanese, being a rich and vibrant language, provides interesting variations and nuances for expressing large numbers. So, whether you are a traveler, a Japanese language learner, or simply curious about how to say “million” in Japanese, let’s dive in!

1. Formal Ways to Say “Million” in Japanese

In formal settings, such as business or academic environments, Japanese has specific counters for expressing large numbers. Let’s start with the formal ways to say “million” in Japanese:

1. 一百万 (Ippyakuman)

This is the most common and straightforward way to say “million” in Japanese. It literally translates to “one hundred ten thousands.” It follows a simple pattern of combining numbers and the counter for ten-thousands (万/man). Here’s an example:

日本の人口は一億二千万人です。(Nihon no jinkou wa ichioku nisenzuuman desu.)

The population of Japan is 120 million people.

2. 百万 (Hyakuman)

Another formal way to express “million” in Japanese is by using “百万.” This translates to “one hundred ten thousands,” similar to the previous example with slightly different phrasing. Here’s an example:

彼は百万円の寄付をしました。(Kare wa hyakuman’en no kifu wo shimashita.)

He donated one million yen.

2. Informal Ways to Say “Million” in Japanese

In casual conversations or everyday situations, the formal expressions may sound a bit stiff. In such cases, native Japanese speakers tend to use simpler and more informal variations. Let’s explore some of them:

1. 一千万 (Issenman)

This informal way of saying “million” uses the counter for millions (千万/senman). It translates to “ten millions,” signaling that we are talking about millions without explicitly stating the number. Here’s an example:

新作映画が一千万人に観覧されました。(Shinsaku eiga ga issenman’nin ni kanran sa remashita.)

The new movie was watched by millions of people.

2. ミリオン (Mirion)

In some casual contexts, especially influenced by Western culture, native Japanese speakers may directly use the loanword “ミリオン” (mirion). Although it’s not an authentic Japanese word, it is widely understood and accepted. Here’s an example:

そのアーティストはミリオンセラーを達成しました。(Sono artisto wa mirion sera o tassei shimashita.)

That artist achieved a million-seller.

Tips and Variations

Now that we have covered the main ways to say “million” in Japanese, here are some additional tips and variations you might find useful:

  • Regional Variations: While the expressions listed above are widely used throughout Japan, it’s worth noting that there might be slight variations in regional dialects. However, these variations are less common and mainly occur in certain local communities or specific situations.
  • Compound Numbers: In Japanese, you can create different numbers by combining the basic numbers. For example, you can say “三百万” (sanbyakuman) to indicate “three million,” and so on.
  • Counters for Specific Objects: In addition to the general counters covered above, there are specific counters for some objects. For instance, you can use “本” (hon) for long, cylindrical objects like trees, candles, or bottles. So, you might say “一百本のロウソク” (hyaku hon no rousoku) to mean “a hundred candles.”

Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve learned various formal and informal ways to say “million” in Japanese. Remember to use the formal expressions in official settings, while the informal variations are suitable for casual conversations. Feel free to practice these expressions, and don’t forget to explore more about numbers in Japanese to enhance your overall language skills. Happy speaking and counting!

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Written by Mia Savannah

Konnichiwa! I'm Mia, your friendly language guru, sharing my passion and knowledge of the beautiful Nihongo (Japanese language). Exploring words, phrases, and the nuanced meanings within cultural contexts is my specialty, whether it's "absorption" or "Adrian," "cliff" or "cystic fibrosis." Sip on a café au lait with me while I tell you about "cute girl" or "checkmate"; Gusoku de renshū suru (practice in full armor) with "dragon fist" or "gouache." Dive deep with blobfish and climb high with "sky." Let's express emotions, from "I really like you" to "you're a pig!" Let's empower ourselves with language!

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