Point of interest: 正の字(せいのじ)

正の字(せいのじ) - the Japanese tally mark
156 words
'Tallying' - the idea of counting things in groups by making a single mark for one item at a time - has been found in human history dating back tens of thousands of years. Interestingly, although several different marks have evolved around the world, most of them count in groups of five - perhaps because of the fact that the easiest way to tally is to use our fingers!
In most English-speaking countries, a symbol that consists of four vertical strokes and a horizontal or diagonal slash is used. In Japanese, the character is used. The usual meaning of 正 is 'correct' (eg as part of the word ただしい), so it's easy to remember that a tally of five is a nice, round correct number!
When referring to the tally mark in Japanese, we might say
('sei' character), and for the act of tallying, we might say
える (count with the tally mark).

Kanji used in this point of interest

セイ   ショウ   ただしい correct   ただ to correct   まさ precise, exact   
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ジ   character   あざ village section   
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スウ   ス   かず number   かぞえる to count   
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