Abaci Gallery

Abacus, Suan Pan, Tschu Pan, Schoty, Soroban (Counting Beads, Counting Frame)


KEEP ISRM FREE!

This is one of the newest galleries at ISRM, and was inspired by a donation of abaci from a couple of donors. As the ISRM curator, I have focused on logarithmic based calculating devices, also fondly known as slide rules, over the past 10 years, and have basically ignored other historic 'mechanical' calculators and methods. This was mostly because of lack of time and resources, but as I have come to learn about, and appreciate, the manufacturing art and long history of abaci in various cultures. I have become a great fan of 'bead math' or 'counting beads' and am just learning the intracacies of their use (and usefulness). I would never have believed that one could do square roots on them, along with multiplication and division, even though most people used them purely for addition and subtraction.

As I acquired artifacts for the gallery, I was puzzled with many Japanese sorobans had upwards of 21 digits, or columns of beads. After all, the United States national debt is in the trillions which is 1012 and only needs 14 digits, counting two decimal points, to display. A good friend of mine, Jiro Higuchi in Japan, explained: "In Japan sorobans are still being manufactured for education. The reason why there are so many digits up to 27 is that, when the calculation of multiplication and division is carried out, the right part and the left part of soroban are used separately. (I am sorry I cannot do multiplication nor division by using soroban, but only addition and substraction) Sometimes they use the left part of soroban to store the result tentatively.". I now understand the significance of the dots on the bridge of sorobans.

I was also surprised, when I started receiving these, at how small most are. The modern era (Showa) sorobans are approximately the same size as slide rules making them very portable, even for the pocket. If you are a regular visitor to ISRM you will have noticed the other new gallery on 'slide rule calculators' which was inspired by the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the HP-35 electronic slide rule, or scientific calculator. Within 5 years, the slide rule industry was out of business. What I did not stop to realize was that the abacus industry also was displaced by the basic electronic four-function calculator, creating significant changes in that part of Japanese manufacturing. I hope to learn more about this as together, we build this gallery. I hope you enjoy sharing the journey with me! As I do with the other galleries, I wish to get donations of abacus from users from different countries so that we can place a name and history with them. Please enjoy this gallery . Mike Konshak.


Abacus is a Latin word meaning sand tray, that has its origins in the Greek words abax or abakon (meaning "table" or "tablet") which in turn, possibly originated from the Semitic word abq, meaning "sand"

Specimens for this gallery, currently under construction, are being acquired through selective purchases and donations by Friends of the Museum. As this gallery is being constructed, one of the best references for the history and use of Abaci is Totten Heffelfinger's website out of Toronto, Canada. Other references, images and texts are provided Wickipedia and other sources.

Instructions on Calculating with Beads


An Introduction to the Abacus

The $1 Lightning Calculator

The $1 Lightning Calculator
(A Brief Introduction to the Abacus)
By Hilary Lew - Published June 1, 1963

(not to be confused by the mechanical Addding Machine of the same name)
Click Here to go to Abaci Ephemera
Historical and Modern Photos of people and locations showing an Abacus. Soroban, Schoty or Suan Pan.
The Chinese Abacus was an early aid for mathematical computations. Its only value is that it aids the memory of the human performing the calculation. A skilled abacus operator can work on addition and subtraction problems at the speed of a person equipped with a hand calculator (multiplication and division are slower). The abacus is often wrongly attributed to China. In fact, the oldest surviving abacus was used in 300 B.C. by the Babylonians. The earliest known written documentation of the Chinese abacus dates to the 2nd century BC.

Another possible source of the suanpan is Chinese counting rods, which operated with a decimal system but lacked the concept of zero as a place holder. The zero was probably introduced to the Chinese in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) when travel in the Indian Ocean and the Middle East would have provided direct contact with India, allowing them to acquire the concept of zero and the decimal point from Indian merchants and mathematicians.

A publication of a French mathematical congress held in 1902 stated that the soroban replaced the use of bamboo rods at the end of the 16th century. According to Sal Restivo in Mathematics in Society and History: Sociological Inquiries (pp. 55-56) Chinese mathematics was in decline as Japanese interests were developing. "The scholar Mori Shigeyoshi [early to mid 17th century] who flourished in this period is Japan's first 'mathematician'. He is, according to legend, supposed to have traveled to China and returned with a knowledge of Chinese mathematical achievements and the suan-pan, a Chinese abacus. There is no historical basis for this story. The suan-pan was probably introduced to Japan much earlier. In any case, Mori was apparently a skilled manipulator of the suan-pan, known as the soroban in Japan . He taught the soroban arithmetic to many pupils, and may have written a text on the soroban, now lost." Two of Shigeyoshi's students wrote extant works which discussed the use of the soroban. Both wrote about square and cube root calculations and one of them also works on areas and volumes.

Suanpan arithmetic was still being taught in school in Hong Kong as recently as the late 1960s, and in Republic of China into the 1990s. However, when hand held calculators became readily available, school children's willingness to learn the use of the suanpan decreased dramatically. In the early days of hand held calculators, news of suanpan operators beating electronic calculators in arithmetic competitions in both speed and accuracy often appeared in the media. Early electronic calculators could only handle 8 to 10 significant digits, whereas suanpans can be built to virtually limitless precision. But when the functionality of calculators improved beyond simple arithmetic operations, most people realized that the suanpan could never compute higher functions, such as those in trigonometry, faster than a calculator. Nowadays, as calculators have become more affordable, suanpans are not commonly used in Hong Kong or Taiwan, but many parents still send their children to private tutors or school- and government- sponsored after school activities to learn bead arithmetic as a learning aid and a stepping stone to faster and more accurate mental arithmetic, or as a matter of cultural preservation. Speed competitions are still held. Suanpans are still being used elsewhere in China and in Japan, as well as in some few places in Canada and the United States.

In mainland China, formerly accountants and financial personnel had to pass certain graded examinations in bead arithmetic before they were qualified. Starting from about 2002 or 2004, this requirement has been entirely replaced by computer accounting.


A Brief History of "Counting Beads"


1899 Photo of Salamis Tablet c300B.C.
The Salamis Tablet was an early counting device (also known as a "counting board") dating from around 300 B.C. that was discovered on the island of Salamis in 1846. A precursor to the abacus, it is thought that it represents a Babylonian means of performing mathematical calculations common in the ancient world. Pebbles (calculus) were placed at various locations and could be moved as calculations were performed. The marble tablet itself has dimensions of approximately 150x75x4.5 cm Originally thought to be a gaming board, the slab of white marble is currently at the National Museum of Epigraphy, in Athens. As with an abacus, pebbles represent small numbers (generally between zero and four) and a system of lines serves to group them by powers of ten. A pebble between the lines represents a five. On this board, physical markers (indicators) were placed on the various rows or columns that represented different values. The indicators were not physically attached to the board. On the tablet Greek numbers are represented.

Abacus using Pebbles in grooves
No actual specimens of the true Roman counting board are known to exist, but historic language in texts, the most reliable and conservative guardian of a past culture, has preserved the fact of the unattached counters. so faithfully, in fact, that we can discern this more clearly than if we possessed an actual counting board. What the Greeks called psephoi, the Romans called calculi. The Latin word calx means 'pebble' or 'gravel stone'; calculi are thus little stones (used as counters)."

Roman Abacus. Bronze Replica by Joern Luetjen, Germany
A Roman hand abacus replica, owned by Professor Joern Luetjen's Abacus-OnLine-Museum. The Romans developed the Roman hand abacus, a portable, but less capable, base-10 version of the previous Babylonian abacus. It was the first portable calculating device for engineers, merchants and presumably tax collectors. It greatly reduced the time needed to perform the basic operations of arithmetic using Roman numerals. Instead of running on wires as in the Chinese and Japanese models, the beads of Roman model run in grooves, presumably making arithmetic calculations much slower. Both the Roman abacus and the Chinese suanpan have been used since ancient times. With one bead above and four below the bar, the systematic configuration of the Roman abacus is coincident to the modern Japanese Soroban, although the soroban is historically derived from the suanpan.

Along The River by Zhang Zeduan,
Saun Pan in Herbal Shop
In the famous long scroll Along the River During the Qingming Festival painted by Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145 AD) during the Song Dynasty (960-1297 AD), a suanpan is supposedly seen lying beside an account book and doctor's prescriptions on the counter of an apothecary's. However, the identification of the object as an abacus is a matter of some debate.
Along The River by Zhang Zeduan
Displayed at Ching Ming Festival

The European Table Abacus (Circa 1299)
The European table abacus or reckoning table became standardized to some extent by this time. The pebbles previously used as counters were replaced by specially minted coin-like objects that were cast, thrown, or pushed on the abacus table. They were called jetons from jeter (to throw) in France, and werpgeld for "thrown money" in Holland. In the wood block shown on the left a wood block from Margarita Philosophica, 1508 by Gregor Reisch (1368-1644), shows a table abacus.

A Baqua circular abacus (1368-1644)
A woman presents a Bagua (the Eight Diagrams) abacus of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) in Huizhou County, east China's Anhui Province July 17, 2006. This 50 digit abacus is approximately 30cm (11.8 inches) in diameter and allows the operator to shift the decimal point in either direction.

Chinese Shop Owner Using Suan Pan
The Chinese Abacus or "Suan Pan" is largely unchanged since early records reaching back to ~500 B.C. The notation is bi-quinary: an upper deck selecting the 0-5 or 6-10 range, and the lower deck representing (in unary notation) 0-5 or 6-10. The beads are moved to add or subtract, and when all beads in a deck are up a carry to the next position is made. Multiplication and division are carried py repetetive addition and subtraction. Divison on an abacus was described in Latin by Bishop Gerbert of Navarro, Spain, who later, in AD. 999, become Pope Sylvester II. Known as the suànpán, (suànpán, lit. "Counting tray"), the Chinese abacus, is typically 20 cm (8 in) tall and comes in various widths depending on the operator. It usually has more than seven rods. There are two beads on each rod in the upper deck and five beads each in the bottom for both decimal and hexadecimal computation. The beads are usually rounded and made of a hardwood. The beads are counted by moving them up or down towards the beam. If you move them toward the beam, you count their value. If you move away, you don't count their value. The suanpan can be reset to the starting position instantly by a quick jerk along the horizontal axis to spin all the beads away from the horizontal beam at the center. Suanpans can be used for functions other than counting. Unlike the simple counting board used in elementary schools, very efficient suanpan techniques have been developed to do multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, square root and cube root operations at high speed. There are currently schools teaching students how to use it.

Frozen Fish Market, St. Petersburg
The Russian abacus is called a "Schoty" (pronounced SHAW-tee). It was invented in the 17th century and is still in use today. The abacus is operated by sliding the beads right-to-left. The Schoty does not have the central bar. The unit beads are colored light and the '5' beads.in the middle are dark. The design of the schoty is based on a pair of human hands. If you hold out both hands in front of you, palms facing out, you will see that your 2 thumbs are beside each other and 2 sets of 4 fingers spread out from there. Similarily, on the schoty, each row has 2 sets of 4 beads of the same colour on the outside, representing the 2 sets of 4 fingers and the 2 innermost beads of the same colour representing the 2 thumbs. The "home" position for the beads is on the right hand side. The bottom-most row represents 1s, the next row up represents 10s, then 100s, and so on. So, counting is similar to counting on one's fingers, the beads move from right to left: 1 to 10, and then carrying upwards to the next row. The one shown is wooden abacus counting with wooden beads on curved steel rods. The rods are intentionally bent in the shape of a slight arc so that when the beads are moved from side to side, gravity will keep them in place. It was made in the Soviet Union.. Size is 240 x 165 mm (9.6x 6.6").

Japanese Student Using Soroban, c1930


Japanese "Merchant Making Accounts" on Soroban by Artist Hokusai
who is one of the main artists of the EDO school, known as "paintings of the floating world". He is also known for the diversity of names used throughout his professional career, Shunro, Sori, Kako, Taito, Gakyonjin, Iitsu and Manji.

A Japanese abacus called "Soroban". The Japanese equivalent for 'reading, writing and arithmetic' is yomi, kaki, soroban. The soroban is supposedly more 'efficient', using only one and four beads, but requires different fingering. There are a wide variety in the number of digits or rods available on a Soroban (like the 1/4 37 digit shown above), which keep the same height but extend the length. The standard is 15 digits. The Roman Abacus used a similar configuration, somewhat matching the represenation by Roman numerals. The modern Showa era Japanese soraban, post 1930, are generally much smaller in width than the Chinese Suan Pan and Russian Schoty making them more portable as hand-held calculators.

The date range of a soroban can be inferred due to the number of beads it contains (Google translates the Japanese word for 'beads' as 'pearls'). The Itsutsudama type Soroban was manufactured in Japan before 1850 and included a 2/5 bead combination (2 beads on the upper deck (Heavan) and 5 beads on the lower deck (Earth). The Japanese formally changed to a Mutsudama type Soroban in the early Meiji Period (1868-1912) which removed one of the '5' beads in heavan. Finally the modern Yotsudama style Soroban reduced the Earth beads to 4 in 1935 which was during the Showa period 1926-1989. This was because one 5-bead and four 1-beads were considered sufficient to do all the calculations. When primary school textbooks were revised in 1935, the four-beaded Yotsudama Soroban became the standard.

The older Meiji Era wooden Japanese soroban were designed like an open box with a closed back. Soroban of this generations, that were designed especially for merchants, had nearly every row of beads identified in beautiful carved kanji with digit markers. More modern Japanese abacus have digit markers only every 3 or 4 rows. The older frames were commonly made of oak while the beads were boxwood. These soroban were likely made exclusively with traditional Japanese hand tools instead of modern power tools. Tools such as the nokogiri (Japanese pull saw) and kana (block plane) may have been used to carefully cut and shape each wooden part and to create the delicate and expert joinery which have held the abacus together all these years.


Abacus, Suan Pan, Schoty, and Soroban Gallery



ISRM Japanese Soroban 1/5 beads 15 digits
Japanese Soroban 1/5 beads 15 digits
Brand:
Marks: a name of small trading company in Osaka, "Norokatsu Ltd." The top mark is the logo.
Material: Black painted wood frame, bare oak bar, wood rods and black painted beads
Age: c1930
Beads: 1/5 (1 above, 5 below), 19mm dia
Digits/Columns: 15
Size: 33 x 11 x 3.5cm
Frame Construction: mitered mortise and tenon joints

ISRM Lotus Flower Suan Pan 2/5 beads 15 digits

Chinese Suan Pan - Lotus Flower 2/5 beads 15 digits
Brand: Lotus Flower, People's Republic of China
Material: Black painted wood frame, wood rods and black painted beads
Age: Unknown
Beads: 2/5 (2 above, 5 below)
Digits/Columns: 13
Size: 25 x 11.8 x 2.3cm
Frame Construction: mitered butt joints, brass corner reinforcements nailed to frame.
Donated by Joel Haertling of Boulder, Colorado, after he saw the ISRM exhibit.
Joel Haertling is the Film Program Coordinator for the Boulder Public Library Cinema Program. Joel Haertling has self-produced 23 films in 8mm and 16mm, alongside performing soundtracks for and/or acting in various Stan Brakhage films. Super 8mm films by Joel Haertling was released in Zurich in 1994, excerpts from his Boyd Rice Documentary were published by Mute Film (UK) in 1995, and others have been broadcast on cable in San Francisco, New York, Denver, Zurich (CH), and Boulder channels 8, 19, and 28. Joel began publishing the Zamizdat Trade Journal, a guide to self-published experimental music, in 1984 and continued with it for over a decade while writing for various other publications on the side. He has played the french horn in orchestra, and has created visuals for raves and live shows, He authored the Charles A. Haertlsing Architect A.I.A. web site. The latter is a dedication to his father.


ISRM Nanjo & Co. - Chinese Suan Pan 2/5 beads 13 digits
Nanjo & Co. - Chinese Suan Pan 2/5 beads 13 digits
Brand: Nanjo & Co. Ltd. Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan, Manufacturers of "Sun" brand Soroban
Material: Black painted wood frame, bare oak bar, wood rods and black painted beads
Age: c1970
Beads: 2/5 (2 above, 5 below), 18mm dia
Digits/Columns: 13
Size: 29 x 13 x 2cm
Frame Construction: mortise and tenon joints


REF Russian Shoty 10 or 4 beads, 10 digits
Russian Shoty 10 or 4 beads, 10 digits
Brand: Unknown
Material: Oak wood frame, curved steel rods and oak beads
Age: Unknown
Beads: 10b x 9 + 4b x 1 Note the 4 beads digit is for 1/4 Kopecks)
Digits/Columns: 10
Size: 240 x 165 mm (9.6x 6.6")
Archive internet photo.

Acquisitions yet to be received and Documented

Posted Above

Chinese (China) 2/5 x 13d, 25x11.8x2.3cm black painted wood frame, wood rods, donation by Joel Haerting
Chinese (japan) 2/5 x 13d, 29x13x2cm black painted wood frame, oak bar. ebay

1/5 Beads

Abacus_Japan_Soroban_1x5b-13d 22x6.8x2cm [ ebay320923643143 #1]
#1 = age" 110+ years, MEIJI PERIOD (1868-1912). Signed "Nakauonumagun Sanka-mura". was established in 1889 and disappeared in 1901.
Abacus_Japan_Soroban_1x5b-13d 16x5cm [ ebay320923643143 #2 ]
Abacus_Japan_Soroban_1x5b-15d 13"x4.25"x1.25" wood frame, brass rods Age:40+ with signature [ebay120930820885]

Dear Mike, This is probably a name of small trading company in Osaka, "Norokatsu Ltd." The top mark is the logo. I guess that this soroban was used by several persons in this company, because it was expensive. We used to write our name or company name on the item, showing who has a right to the property. Regards, Jiro Higuchi
B509SF Vintage Japanese Abacus SOROBAN 13 rows 1/5 Wooden..ADACHI_CHIYOKICHI. Size : 11.4" (29.0 cm) / 4.3" (11cm) / 1.33" (3.4cm) [eisaku-jp 251086081376]
Abacus Japan Soroban 1x5b-15d Ebony Beads Oak Frame [ tetsuguchi ebay370628328550] 1900-1940
Abacus_Japan_Soroban_1x5b-15d 17x5.5cm [ ebay320923643143 #3]
Abacus_Japan_Soroban_1x5b-15d 11.6"x3.8" [ebay251082668020]
B509SB Vintage Japanese Abacus SOROBAN 15 rows 1/5 Wooden..ASAHI Paint Co. Size : 13.1" (33.3 cm) / 4.3" (11cm) / 1.3" (3.0cm) [eisaku-jp 310407850081]
Abacus Japan 1x5b 15d ( RavensdukeEmporium esty85156688)
B509SO Vintage Japanese Abacus SOROBAN 17 rows 1/5 Wooden Beads. Size : 9.8" (25.0 cm) / 2.6" (6.7cm) / 0.63" (1.6cm), reinforcement on the both side..[eisaku-jp 310408215694]
B509SO Vintage Japanese Abacus SOROBAN 17 rows 1/5 Wooden Beads. Size : 9.8" (25.0 cm) / 2.6" (6.7cm) / 0.63" (1.6cm), reinforcement on the both side..[eisaku-jp 310408215694]
B509SK Vintage Japanese Abacus SOROBAN 21 rows 1/5 Wooden Beads, reinforcement on the corners, Size : 13.7" (35.0 cm) / 3.3" (8.5cm) / 0.78" (2.0cm) [eisaku-jp 251086715207]
B509SL Vintage Japanese Abacus SOROBAN 21 rows 1/5 Wooden Beads, Heart Reinforcment, Size : 12.9" (33.0 cm) / 2.9" (7.5cm) / 0.74" (1.9cm) [eisaku-jp 251086715278]
B509SM Vintage Japanese Abacus SOROBAN 21 rows 1/5 Wooden Beads, Size : 12.9" (33.0 cm) / 2.8" (7.2cm) / 0.78" (2.0cm), reinforcement on the both side. a souvenir from a housewarming party.[eisaku-jp 310408215673]
B509SN Vintage Japanese Abacus SOROBAN 27 rows 1/5 Wooden Beads, Size : 15.1" (38.5 cm) / 2.6" (6.7cm) / 0.59" (1.5cm), anti-slip device.[eisaku-jp 310408215684]
Abacus Japan Soroban 1x4b-27d Ebony Beads and Frame 370x58x18mm [ tetsuguchi ebay230812344043 ] made in Japan

1/4 Beads

Abacus Japan Soroban 1x4b-9d [coolgee ebay120931661560]
Abacus_Japan_Soroban_1x4b-15d 12x6.5x1.5cm made by Osumi company, in Kagoshima, an island in Kyushu, south-west Japan [ebay261040587818 ]
Abacus Japan Soroban 1x4b-15d 8.75"x2.5" [patiwagn ebay150852354371] Made by Fuji#440 for Inaba Cloisonne Co. Kyoto, Japan
Abacus Japan Soroban 1x4b-21d Kodama Brand [ muggjuggs ebay380416706506 ]
Abacus_Japan_Soroban_1x4b-21d 12"x2.5" made in Japan Ushudo [ebay251082668536]
B509SP Vintage Japanese Abacus SOROBAN 21 rows 1/4 Wooden Beads. BANSHU SOROBAN KOGYO KUMIAISize : 12.7" (32.3 cm) / 2.5" (6.6cm) / 0.7" (1.8cm), .[eisaku-jp 310408215699]
Abacus Japan 1x4b 21d 39x6cm ( TokyoVintage26 [esty85156712]
Abacus Japan 1x4b 23d 33x6cm Ebony frame and beads [ TokyoVintage 26esty85156663]
Abacus_Japan_Soroban_1x4b-27d 15.4"x2.5" [ebay251082669576] made in Japan
Abacus Japan Soroban 1x4b-27d 15.25"x2.75"x0.62 [pjksut ebay280922364936] Purchased 1971 in Korea
Abacus Japan Soroban 1x4b-27d Daruma Sanei Special [ 969brambles ebay300739403555 made in Japan

Russian

Abacus_Russian_10b_7d Size:7.1" x 4.8" x 0.9"(180 x 121 x 23mm) [ebay140768975977]
Abacus_Russian_10b_12d Size:8.5" x 5.3" x 1.3"(215 x 134 x 33mm) [ebay140768975982]
Abacus_Russian_10b_10d Size:9" x 6" x 1.3" [VintageEuro esty85149254]
Abacus_Russian_10b_10d Size:5x4.5x1.3" [VintageEuro esty85149253]
Vintage Old Russian ABACUS METAL mini USSR RARE [novozoi 261043948972]

Misc Abacus

Abacus_Chinese Wall Decoration 5/2+2/5b-25d Size: 21.25" x 1in [ 270996924939_1 ]
Abacus Japan NEW Modern 1x4b 12d AutoClearMechanism 28x3x10cm[bargainstore6012 320918042106]
Abacus Chinese NEW Modern 2x5b_13d 25.5x10.5x2cm All Plastic w/ Metal Rods [bargainstore6012 220995281435]
Abacus Taiwan Lee Kai-chen's Improved Abacus (Version 2) 1959 [HeatherVintage88 esty85184481]
Abacus Chinese SuanPan 2x5b 9d Box and manual [ranweiler ebay150838914227]
Abacus Chinese SuanPan 2x5b 9d Black Jade [3jade1 ebay400304333333]
Abacus Chinese 2x5b 10d (angelinabella [esty85156730]
Abacus Japan 2x5b 13d Daruma Multi-Colored Beads [ artsie*girls ebay320945784962 ]
Abacus Chinese SuanPan 2x5b 20d [tatorro1 ebay160843210377]
The Meiji period, known as the Meiji era, is a Japanese era which extended from September 1868 through July 1912. This period represents the first half of the Empire of Japan during which Japanese society moved from being an isolated feudalism to its modern form. Fundamental changes affected its social structure, internal politics, economy, military, and foreign relations. -->

Makers

UNSHUDO: Website Established April 30 (1897) Meiji, March 49 (1974) Showa
Early Meiji - Engaged in making abacus Yokota, Shimane Prefecture, be laid up in luxury Hino crest
1897 - In 2-chome, Kitahama, Osaka City (first) Tokuji Hino, established a state wholesalers Osaka abacus cloud
Early Taisho - Transferred to the district town north warp. Manufactures and sells high-end formula abacus state summoned craftsmen from the state of cloud cloud
1923 - "Development abacus diagonal"
1927 - "Development abacus formula million years"
Early Showa - Japan, as well as expanding the market to Manchuria, Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula
During the war - Country bright second generation assessment committee will be entrusted with abacus
1955 - Established Tokyo Branch
1974 - Change in corporate structure
~ 1975 - Proposal-based product development utilizing the manufacturing technology of abacus
1985 - Appointed Representative Director Kazuteru third generation
2001 - Headquarters moved to join the sales department and the current crayon pastel cherry, Inc.
Naito abacus:Website Suehiro, Yasuyuki
History of the abacus Banshu
Introduction of Japanese abacus
It is said that it was transmitted to the Japanese abacus, and some have developed since the Song Dynasty period of China, the first year of depreciation statement about the Muromachi period (1444), for the trade deal, and told the country that Chinese merchants. It is said and began to spread at the time, since the guidance Kanbei Shigeyoshi Mori in Kyoto.
First look of the abacus in Japan, Yoshinobu Kano wrote the Warring States period, the "??-craftsman" Kitain, and it is depicted the figure of moneychangers were the abacus in hand, you have at it. In addition, the "artisan ?? colored paper form" seems to be almost a thing of the same period, the abacus has been drawn at the storefront of the shop was also a money exchange shop, fish shop, bookstore.
After the mid-Edo period, the rise of commercial capitalism, private school-feudal shogunate Nishimonai indoctrination policy has been established, which was an increase from the fiscal year ended explosively cultural Bunsei. Its educational content, as the so-called "3Rs", in thriving commercial area, the acquisition of Abacus has been touted.
From the introduction to Japan, one of five ball, I went to migrate to a five ball "abacus ball five." Also reduced by one into a ball Showa, the current "abacus ball four" (one of five balls, one four ball) has become. The origin of the abacus
It is believed the origin of the abacus, and was converted from "Suanpan" in Chinese. Domestic manufacturing of abacus
Abacus Muromachi period, were introduced from China, began to be made ??in Nagasaki.
Years (1615 - 1596) Keicho, was transmitted to the Otsu process from Nagasaki. At the time, Otsu is a strategic point of transportation, may also have been close to Osaka and Kyoto's thriving commercial, manufacturing of abacus was developed. (Abacus Otsu) Abacus (unknown but is likely to historical fact) in a rural Banshu, why
Part of the year when eight residents Tensho (1580) ("Hashiba Hideyoshi" at the time) Hideyoshi Toyotomi, has captured the castle of Miki Miki City, the neighboring town of Ono City, who fled the war has displaced in the direction of Otsu, where abacus It has been said to learn the preparation of, and after production began to return home to local, and it does the origin of the abacus Banshu. Miki castle to fall, is transferred to the Akashi Castle during the Edo period, many of us Miki carpenter looking for work, I went and turned into a production hardware abacus.
To the end of the Edo grew to use the subcontractors of more than 200 hotels and wholesaler of 8.
At first, It had been manufactured in the city center Miki, as the propagation in the surrounding area, the center It went to move to Ono City. (Transition to the production of Ono)
The above theory, there is only lore (lore), the truth is so unclear. There are also various other theories, especially the leading theory is from the city of Miki (Osaka Sakai present) Sakai Settsu circa 1750, that its technology has been transmitted.
Ono City is located in the heart of Banshu plains, fertile land in the watershed also Kakogawa, agriculture was thriving. In the agricultural off-season, had been manufacturing the abacus. In addition, it was suitable for wood drying climate. Ono independent abacus
After the Sino-Japanese War, "an expression made by machine Okawa Pearl" by the water wheel power on behalf of the potter's wheel was invented hand with an ax, it is mass production became possible. Independent from the capital of Miki, abacus by capital Manufacturing Co., Ltd. It was founded by Ono.
Rise of the abacus Banshu
After the Second World War, was the promulgation of the promulgation of the law enforcement system 6.3.3 by the Fundamental Law of Education of School Education-1947.
Along with the development and growth of the Japanese economy then the demand for extension abacus, circa 1960 production volume has reached 3,000,000 Ding.
However, from around 1965, the demand went abacus is decreased rapidly by the spread of the calculator.
Traditional crafts
Banshu abacus as a traditional craft
1976 was the "traditional crafts" designated by the Minister of International Trade and Industry (1976). Union president at the time abacus, the abacus was not to admit it as a craft limited company abacus Suehiro Mr. Naito Yat two second-generation president of efforts has been. Technology, and traditional and advanced manufacturing process is close to 100 was recognized as a traditional craft.