This question stems from the name of the game: Ni No Kuni which in Japanese is 二ノ国.

  1. Why there is no in Katakana here? Is this still the particle の?
  2. If so, then does this form a Genitive, Ordinal Number, or something else, like "The Country of Two" vs "The Second Country" or maybe "Another Country"?

I'm not sure what the intended meaning is here.

  • Isn't it 仁ノ国? (serious question)
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 20:42
  • 2
    No, the game's title is definitely 二ノ国.
    – jogloran
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 20:48
  • @jogloran #TheMoreYouKnow
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 20:54
  • 2
    @istrasci 🌈 The More You Know
    – jogloran
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 21:01
  • 2
    @jogloran 🌈⭐ How did I miss that one? 😆 Also, I think I was confusing it with the game 仁王.
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 21:24

2 Answers 2


Usage of の

The particle の connects two nouns, where one modifies the other.

While it is true that in many instances this denotes a relation of possession (genitive):

AのB。"B belongs to A"

私の名前 "My name"

it is not always the case, and の may indicate any relationship or connection between both nouns arbitrarily. The nature of this relationship is determined by context, like many other aspects in Japanese:

司会のミラーさん。"Moderator Miller" (A is qualifying or describing B)

男の人。 "A man" (Again A is qualifying B)

Note that among learners of Japanese as a foreign language, there's a whole category of the so called "の adjectives", where an "adjective" modifies a noun connected by the の particle. From the standpoint of Japanese grammar, there's no such category and the supposed "の adjectives" are simply nouns, that happen to modify other nouns by connecting both with の.

The particular case of 二ノ国

To answer your first question, "Is this still the particle の ?" the answer is yes, ノ in 二ノ国 corresponds to the particle の without a doubt.

I found this entry in the sister site anime.stackexchange.com where they try to determine the meaning of the title. The accepted answer states that:

So the final title is either: "The Country of Two" [...] or "Second Country"

I checked the entry for 二ノ国 at the Japanese Wikipedia. It turns out that besides 二ノ国, there is also an 一ノ国. Since there are actually 2 countries, it only makes sense to translate 二ノ国 as "Second Country" or "Country number two" rather than "The country of two":


Shizuku is said to have come from a parallel world called Ni no Kuni, which is different from the real world ("Ichi no Kuni"). Ichi no Kuni and Ni no Kuni were two sides of the same world where the souls of those who lived there were connected.

A note on numbers in Japanese

Please note that 二ノ国 is not the common way to count stuff in Japanese. Usually, to count objects in Japanese you should use counters. This is a complex topic and I can't explain it here, just beware that numberのnoun is not the only nor the standard way to count things in Japanese. Here you are some examples of numbers combined with nouns (counters in bold font):

三{み}つのミカン Three mandarines (general counter)

三{さん}番{ばん}目{め} の車 The car in the 3rd position (ordinal counter)

第{だい}3課{か} The 3rd lesson (counter for lessons)

三{さん}月{がつ} The 3rd month, March (counter for months)

三{さん}ヵ月{げつ} Three months (counter for months)

There is a counter for countries, with the same kanji 国, but it is pronounced 国{こく} instead of 国{くに}. However, this counter does not seem to be used regularly (see the discussion in the comments section):

三{さん}国{ごく} Three countries (counter for countries).

  • 4
    Generally speaking, 国 is better understood as "land" or "world" in many cases. Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 23:57
  • 1
    Yes, not only in general, but in this particular case it also makes more sense to understand 一ノ国 and 二ノ国 as "lands" or "worlds" rather than "countries". So probably "the second world" is better than "second country".
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Oct 10, 2022 at 9:27
  • Is it really accurate to say that 国{こく} by itself is a counter for countries? I know it appears combined with numbers in words like 三国{さんごく}, as well as in compounds like 三国同盟 , but I'm not convinced it's functioning as a 助数詞 in either of those cases. And when a number of countries is being specified in a general context, I think I usually see ~ヶ国 (or ~か国), or else [some number] + の + 国々. For example, the Japanese Wikipedia page for G20 says "G20(ジートゥエンティ)は、'Group of Twenty' の略で、G7に参加する7ヶ国、EU、ロシア、および新興国11ヶ国の計20の国々と地域から成るグループである". Also, my dictionary also lacks an entry for 国 as a counter.
    – Nanigashi
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 18:01
  • @Nanigashi, I'm afraid that beyond a couple of resources backing my statement I can't really argue your point. I am not experienced with using 国 as a counter, but given that the question is about countries (or worlds) and involves numbers, I thought it was a good idea to lookup whether there's a specific counter for countries, and that in my answer is what I found. Rereading the source, it really reinforces your point that 国 is not used as a regular 助数詞, however this didn't prevent the authors of such article to deem it a counter anyways.
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 21:40
  • 350 Japanese counters grouped by usefulness: "国 is used for counting countries. It's mostly used in older titles and for idioms. You may also see 箇国 or ヶ国, which are used when the speaker or writer is emphasizing a single country. [....] ヶ国 is used to count the number of individual countries. If you're just generally counting countries, just the counter 国 will be fine."
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Oct 11, 2022 at 21:41

Well, the quick and easy answer, it is just being used as katakana to be pretty. No actual reason. Like in the pic: Like here

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .