How to say age in Japanese
In Japanese, the counter sai is used to express how old one is. It can be written with two different kanji: the traditional 歳 and the simplified and most commonly used 才.
To ask someone "how old are you?," you can say:
- Nan sai desu ka (何歳ですか);
- Or in a more formal way, O ikutsu desu ka (おいくつですか).
The answer will be constructed with the number corresponding to the age followed by sai, then desu for politeness.
For example, to reply "I am 25 years old," say: (Watashi wa) nidjugo-sai desu ((私は) 二十五歳です。)
The table below is a useful reminder on how to say age:
"20 years old" is the only phonetic irregularity and is pronounced hatatchi (二十歳). The counter sai is omitted despite being used in the written form. If you are 20 years old, you will say: Hatatchi desu (二十歳です。)
To say "and a half," just add han (半) after sai. For example, "I am two and a half years old" is translated as Ni-sai han desu (二才半です).