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第143ー パーセンテージ

Hello everyone and welcome to another JapaBit!

One thing you will, at one time or another, find yourself having to talk about in any language is percentages. This post will cover the basics of talking about percentages in Japanese!

The “Bun”

Before discussing the percentages though, let’s make sure everyone understand this kanji 分(ふん)which could mean “minute(s)” or “parts/sections.” For our discussion here, we will be using the latter meaning “parts/sections” only, which will always be pronounced ぶん in this context.

The counting will start from two parts, i.e. 2分にぶん.

The General Terms

I think when learners of Japanese first come across the Japanese way of talking about percentages they get a little confused. Beyond the initial phase, the logic is pretty easy to understand.

The logic is to say the total number of parts first, then the amount you actually want to point out.
The most common ones are going to be the following, which regardless of how many parts you have, will always be said this way:

2分にぶんの1= half
3分さんぶんの1= one third
4分よんぶんの1= one quarter

Notice how the meaning literally translates to “one of two parts” for half, “one of three parts” for third, and “one of four parts” for quarter, respectively. This does not mean the thing you are talking about only has two, three, or four parts. It is just a general way of referring to portions. So if you have a pizza with 8 slices, you will not say 8分はちぶんの4 to mean half. You simply use 2分にぶんの1.

One tenth, seven eights, etc.

Aside from the general terms, but following the same logic, you can refer to other fractions such as 1/10 or 7/8 by again saying the total number possible (in this case 10 and 8 respectively), then the amount you want to point out (1 and 7 respectively).

10分じゅうぶんの1 = one tenth
8分はちぶんの7 = seven eighths

Keep in mind that the numbers come in the opposite order from English and I think you will have no problems!

Saying Percents Directly

Aside from using the general terms above to talk about portions, you can just literally say the percent in Japanese by saying any number you want and the word パーセント after.

10パーセント (10%)、25パーセント (25%)、37パーセント (37%)、100パーセント(100%) etc.

This is the most straightforward way and you cannot go wrong using it. 

The “Wari”

One other way of referring to percentages, although this one is in increments of 10, is to use the word 割 which means “proportion” or “divide/split/cut” etc.

It is very straightforward as the examples below will show:

1割いちわり = 10%
2割にわり = 20%
5割 ごわり= 50%
10割じゅうわり = 100%

You can think of 割 in this case as literally “-0%” meaning whatever number comes before it gets a “zero” and “percent” added to it.

The “Ten”

Let us not forget our decimal numbers!

When you have something like 25.7% and want to say it outloud in Japanese, you will simply say てん for the “point” and read the rest of the numbers as usual. Examples examples:

25.7% = にじゅうご-てん-ななパーセント
64.2% = ろくじゅうよん-てん-にパーセント

You get the point… (no pun intended)

I put a little dash just to clearly show where the てん (point) comes.

わり is especially used a lot in stores when they put something on discount. You will see a sign saying 10割じゅうわり or whatever the percentage is above the product that is for sale.

Finally, some example sentences:

1- わたしきなアパレルブランドが今日きょう全品ぜんぴん20パーセント*オフセールをおこなっている。
My favorite apparel brand is having a 20% ​​off sale on all items today.

2- 今夜こんやのコンサートにはあの人気にんきアイドルが来るとあって、いつもの五割ごわふやし(50パーセントふやし)の人があつまる予定よていだ。
There will be a 50% increase in the people coming tonight because that famous idol will be coming.

3- しゃの50周年記念しゅうけんきねんパーティには世界中せかいじゅうひと参加さんかしてくれたが、日本人にほんじん全体ぜんたいの10パーセント(10分じゅうぶんの1)にすぎなかった。
People from all over the world attended our 50th anniversary party, but Japanese people were no more than 10 percent (1 / 10th) of the total.

4- 日本にほん中学生ちゅうがくせいの90パーセント以上いじょう高校こうこう進学しんがくし、やく半分はんぶん高校生こうこうせい大学だいがく進学しんがくする。
More than 90% of Japan’s junior high students go on to high school, and around half of the high school students go on to university.

5- 冷蔵庫れいぞうこにあったはずのぼく誕生日たんじょうびケーキの4分よんぶん1いちがなくなっていた。
A quarter of what was supposed to be my birthday cake in the fridge is gone.

* 5分ごぶんいちセール is not used.

I hope you found this post helpful and that it shed some light on percentages in Japanese because it could be very confusing.

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