The Soroban Abacus

soroban abacusAbacus is called “soroban” in Japanese and “swanpan” or “suanpan” in China and was imported to Japan from China, via Korea about 1600. Long ago before the Abacus was introduced in Japan the word “sanban” (“san-“ and “-ban” literally mean “calculation” and “board” respectively) already existed. So a new term for Abacus, “soroban,” was created to distinguish it from “sanban.” The Chinese character for “san” can be used in different ways – “sor” or “soun” – so “soro ban” was derived from “san ban.” Surprisingly, 58 different phonetic equivalents for “soroban” have been found.

Explore the wonderful history of and fascinating information about the Japanese Abacus in the pages we’ve provided:

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From Our Parents & Students...

My 5-year-old daughter started Abacus 8 months ago and I’m amazed at what she has accomplished. She is able to do mental calculations with two-digit numbers and she is starting on multiplication! AND she thinks it is FUN!!! Her 2-year-old brother thinks he is missing out on something and tries to mimic her. Sensei Miwako is a passionate abacus teacher who is devoted to each of her students. I’m very grateful that she has shared her special talent with my daughter. Thank you, Sensei! -- Amelia Cheema