Soroban, Japanese abacus

by Masaki

The first abacus was invented 5500 years ago in Mesopotamia.


After that, it traveled to China by way of the Silk Road about 1700 years ago.


Soroban, Japanese abacus

It came into Japan in the 16th century from China.


Japanese people improved this imported abacus and called it soroban.


Soroban, Japanese abacus

In the Edo period at temple elementary schools, children learned how to calculate with soroban as well as to reading and writing.


Seki Kazutaka, a great mathematician, contributed to the evolution of soroban by creating "wasan" such as algebra and differentials.


The origin of the current soroban was made in the Edo period.

Soroban were widespread among merchants, samurai, and ordinary people.


In the Meiji period, parents asked the government to adopt soroban education in school curriculum. In this way, children began to use soroban at school.


At present, many school children practice soroban.


Soroban, Japanese abacus

They do mental calculations at amazing speeds together with grown-ups without using soroban.


They surprise people overseas.  International soroban contests are held periodically throughout the world .


Japanese abacus are exported to 48 countries around the world.


29 Jun 2017

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