Components

Point of interest: counting with a そろばん (Japanese abacus)

POI
counting with a そろばん (Japanese abacus)
Tweet
211 words
The そろばん, or Japanese abacus, is an early form of mechanical calculator using beads mounted on rods. The Japanese form of abacus was imported from China, which also appears to have been the source of the style of abacus used in ancient Rome.
The basic idea of an abacus is that each vertical rod represents 1-9 units. The rightmost rod representing unit 1 (i.e. the numbers 1 to 9), the next left represents unit 10 (i.e. the numbers 10, 20 through to 90), and so on. The horizontal bar in the middle is known as the 'reckoning bar', and when a bead is moved towards the bar, it is 'on'. Moving the top bead down counts as 5 units, and moving each of the four lower beads up towards the reckoning bar counts as 1 unit each.
In this image, the rightmost column represents 8 (5 + 3), and the column to its left represents 7 (5 + 2) times 10 = 70. So this image is showing us the number 78.
そろばん can be written in kanji as 算盤, literally 'calculation carrier', but as the reading そろ for 算 is not considered a Joyo (common) reading, it is more common to write it in kana as そろばん or ソロバン.

Kanji used in this point of interest

サン    calculate   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
バン    tray   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
Problem with this point of interest? Question or comment? Please CONTACT US.
Kanshudo is your AI Japanese tutor, and your constant companion on the road to mastery of the Japanese language. To get started learning Japanese, just follow the study recommendations on your Dashboard. You can use Quick search (accessible using the icon at the top of every page) to look up any Japanese word, kanji or grammar point, as well as to find anything on Kanshudo quickly. For an overview, take the tour.
×