Books on Japanese Counters
Reviewed by Gary Harper


ものの数え方の本 
by 校舎国語研究会 from 長岡書店 (¥486 plus tax)  

I don't know about you, but I have had occasional problems with using the correct counter, including stopping in mid-sentence because I didn't know how to count a particular item. This very reasonably priced book contains the correct counters for a great many items, with short explanations on when each is used. For example, a necktie can be counted as 一駆け(ひとかけ) or 一本. While less than a complete listing, this little book is adequate for many purposes and excellent for the student on a limited budget.

数え方の辞典 
by 飯田朝子 from 小学館 (¥2,200 plus tax)

This is an extremely comprehensive listing of counters for just about everything. Where more than one counter can be used (a very common thing), explanations on the proper use are provided. Also, explanations on why certain odd counters are used, such as 羽 for rabbits. In thumbing through this book, I found that 着 is used to count cocktail dresses and 点 can be used to count headwear in certain circumstances. An excellent reference; if you can afford it, get it. This book is also included in the 70 or so books contained in Casio's XD-H6500 (about ¥29,000 street price).

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