I often hear Japanese using a different method for saying a number like "248" as によんぱ — especially for highways and license plates.

While this one is easy to understand, there are others that I don't quite understand. Could someone provide a list of the different pronunciations of each number?

"2525" being ニコニコ is probably a good example of what I'm talking about.


  • 2
    – YOU
    Jun 9 '11 at 4:56
  • 4
    Used a lot in phone numbers too. Sometimes you're allowed to choose the last 4 digits of a new number, but 8686 (はろはろ) is always gone.
    – nevan king
    Jun 9 '11 at 9:29

That's called 語呂合わせ and you could find full article at Wikipedia.

Quoted from Wikepedia

1 : いち、い、ひとつ、ひと

2 : に、ふたつ、ふた、ふ、つ(英語から)、じ

3 : さん、さ、みっつ、みつ、み

4 : よん、よ、よっつ、し、ふぉ(英語から)、ほ

5 : ご、こ、い、いつつ、いつ

6 : ろく、ろ、むっつ、むつ、む

7 : しち、ななつ、なな、な

8 : はち、は、ぱあ、やっつ、やつ、や、やあ

9 : きゅう、きゅ、く、ここのつ、ここの、こ

0 : れい、れ、ぜろ、ない、わ(字形から)、まる(字形から)、おー(アルファベットのOから。)


There is no rule per se and an exhaustive list will need to be in a form of community wiki to be editable by everyone.

A mix of "on-" and "kun-" readings (without the last consonant) + some English pronunciation + some kana modification will work.

I'll list what I've heard with some example if possible: (I'm sure there are some commercial playing on these to advertise their phone numbers as well as a lot of other puns with numbers)

0: オ (0840 = おはよう), レイ, マル
1: ィ (0141 = おいしい)
2: ツ, 二
3: サン (~さん), サ, ミ
4: シ, ヨ (4649 = よろしく)
5: ゴ, ィ
6: ロ (168 = いろは), ム (361 = さむい)
7: ナ (723 = なつみ)
8: パ (883 = パパさん), ハ
9: ク (931 = くさい)
10: ト, トウ, テン


As with @repecmps's answer, there's no real set rule, but often businesses will make up catchy words so that you can easily remember them. For example, the phone number 0840-0141 could be おはよう、おいしい to remind you of a breakfast diner. Also, people with the last name Saito (さいとう) often attach 3110 (3-さ, 1-い, 10-とう) to their email address, screen names, etc. You just have to be clever.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.