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Counting on one's fingers

Dateline: 03/23/98

When Japanese count on their fingers they use only one hand. Counting from one through five starts with the thumb, then proceeds to the pinky. Each finger is folded down as it is counted. Six through ten are counted on the same hand in the reverse order, opening the fingers as they are counted. This is the most common method used in Japan regardless of age or sex.

When indicating numbers to another, a Japanese person will raise his/her palm, facing the other person, and raise the appropriate fingers starting with the forefinger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky. The thumb is used last, and the second hand will be added for numbers over five.

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