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Wasan: the fascination of tradition Japanese mathematics

By: Susumu, Sakurai.
Contributor(s): Ford, Emma [Translator] | Sekimori, Gaynor [Translator].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: Japan library. Publisher: Tokyo Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture (JPIC) 2018Description: 178 p.: ill.ISBN: 9784866580173.Subject(s): Mathematics - JapaneseDDC classification: 510.952 Summary: Wasan meaning Japanese mathematics is a unique form of mathematics that was developed in the Edo (1603 -1867) period while Japan was isolated from the rest of the world. During this time, mathematics underwent an extraordinary evolution in parallel to, and in many ways, beyond that of the Western world. Everyone, from the nobility to children in farming villages, grew to enjoy mathematics as if it were a game or sport and competed to solve complex mathematical puzzles. Led by Seki Tkakazu (1642 -1708) and Takebe Katahiro (1664 -1739), many world-class mathematicians contributed to the amazing world of Wasan. Jinkoki (1643), a Wasan textbook written by Yoshida Mitsuyoshi in 1627, became a bestseller and was said to have been found in “every household.” It contained very difficult problems, known as Idai, that were presented as challenges, and attempting to solve these complex problems became a popular pastime. With independent discoveries of π and other famous mathematical formulae devised during this time, we have come to realize that many of these problems were on a world-class level. This eye-opening book introduces many of the key figures found in the world of Edo-period mathematics along with each of their contributions to the field of mathematics. With evocative descriptions of contemporary Japanese society, the puzzles and challenges come alive and illustrate how mathematics was a form of entertainment rather than a chore forced upon students in order to pass examinations. Placing the reader into this mindset, the author presents his own Idai as a challenge for the reader to discover a way in which Wasan can contribute to the future of mathematics. https://japanlibrary.japantimes.co.jp/scienceandtechnology/wasan-the-fascination-of-traditional-japanese-mathematics/
List(s) this item appears in: Japan Library Series
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Books Vikram Sarabhai Library
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Slot 1352 (0 Floor, East Wing) Non-fiction 510.952 S8W2 (Browse shelf) Available 201998

Originally published in the Japanese language under the title of Edo no sugaku kyokasho by Shueisha International Inc. in 2009

Table of content

Mathematics fever
Wasan enthusiasts and π
Wasan, alive today
Exercises

Wasan meaning Japanese mathematics is a unique form of mathematics that was developed in the Edo (1603 -1867) period while Japan was isolated from the rest of the world. During this time, mathematics underwent an extraordinary evolution in parallel to, and in many ways, beyond that of the Western world. Everyone, from the nobility to children in farming villages, grew to enjoy mathematics as if it were a game or sport and competed to solve complex mathematical puzzles.
Led by Seki Tkakazu (1642 -1708) and Takebe Katahiro (1664 -1739), many world-class mathematicians contributed to the amazing world of Wasan. Jinkoki (1643), a Wasan textbook written by Yoshida Mitsuyoshi in 1627, became a bestseller and was said to have been found in “every household.” It contained very difficult problems, known as Idai, that were presented as challenges, and attempting to solve these complex problems became a popular pastime. With independent discoveries of π and other famous mathematical formulae devised during this time, we have come to realize that many of these problems were on a world-class level.
This eye-opening book introduces many of the key figures found in the world of Edo-period mathematics along with each of their contributions to the field of mathematics. With evocative descriptions of contemporary Japanese society, the puzzles and challenges come alive and illustrate how mathematics was a form of entertainment rather than a chore forced upon students in order to pass examinations. Placing the reader into this mindset, the author presents his own Idai as a challenge for the reader to discover a way in which Wasan can contribute to the future of mathematics.

https://japanlibrary.japantimes.co.jp/scienceandtechnology/wasan-the-fascination-of-traditional-japanese-mathematics/

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