"Why does Japanese have kanji for very large numbers?"
@wim_v12e @ipfactor Wim, this is a superb post! I was really curious if this had something to do with counting the Buddha’s past existences or something (the Japanese took many of the extant Buddhisms in entirely new and freaky directions).
Were the specific kanji chosen for each slot picked arbitrarily or is there some phonetic reference I’m not getting or did they have Chinese antecedents for numeric placeholders? Why those kanji?
@22 Thank you very much! 😊 I enjoyed writing it.
There is no single explanation for the choice of the specific kanji. I had a quick look at the first four. 万 has always meant "myriad" (it is most likely a variant of the swastika symbol); for 億, "hundred million" is a a generalisation of the original meaning "full of ideas"; for 京 it is probably a generalisation of the meaning "height";
for 兆, "trillion" is a borrowed meaning.
If I have time I'll dig a bit deeper into the others as well.
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