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I was looking at the following sentence under a picture that I unfortunately cannot provide:

七五三のしゃしんです。

I believe the sentence reads "It's a picture of 753"... which doesn't make sense.

I know that we have the numbers here 七 (7), 五 (5) and 三 (3). However, I don't believe numbers are structured like this in Japanese, as far as I know. Methinks this sentence is trying to say the number 753, but in Japanese, wouldn't that be instead written as 七百五十三?

Am I wrong, am I merely interpreting this incorrectly, or is there another problem I am overlooking? May someone please help me and correct me if I am wrong?

ありがとうございます。

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    Your thinking too literally. Have you tried looking up 七五三 in a dictionary? – user3856370 Feb 26 at 22:31
  • @user3856370 No, I came to ask here. I don't have a dictionary that specialises in translating Japanese; and my teacher tells me not to use Google Translate as it is inaccurate half the time. (My teacher isn't here, now. I am just studying this for homework.) – Feeds Feb 26 at 22:33
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    jisho.org and to some extent wwwjdic are decent online Japanese dictionaries once you know how to use them. They're very different to using Google Translate (on which I agree with your teacher - it is unreliable and especially bad if you're dealing with words that have nuance or metaphorical meanings). – ConMan Feb 27 at 0:56
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    For those who can't picture what a 七五三のしゃしん might look like, see search.yahoo.co.jp/image/… – l'électeur Mar 2 at 2:45
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Just to make a proper answer, 七五三 (read “shichi-go-san”, not “nana-go-San”) refers to a traditional Japanese festival and is used in the literal meaning “seven, five, three”. From Wikipedia:

Shichi-Go-San (七五三, lit. "Seven-Five-Three") is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three- and seven-year-old girls and five-year-old (and less commonly three-year-old) boys, held annually on November 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children.

At a guess, the sentence refers to someone’s photo from this festival.

By the way, it’s not the case here but long numbers written out positionally with Kanji for numbers (plus ○ for zero) without 千、百、十 etc. do happen in Japanese (e.g. in price lists) although they’re rare in spoken speech AFAIK.

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    This is not a holiday in the sense of "day off". – naruto Mar 1 at 22:32
  • おめでとうございま! You have earned yourself a giant green tick! :D – Feeds Mar 2 at 6:45

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