Wasan, the Fascination of Traditional Japanese Mathematics

Wasan, the Fascination of Traditional Japanese Mathematics

Sakurai Susumu
Translated by Emma Ford, with Gaynor Sekimori

Published by JPIC | Hardcover | ISBN 978-4-86658-017-3 | 180 pages | 188mm (h) x 128mm (w) | March 2018

夢中になる! 江戸の数学

夢中になる! 江戸の数学
桜井 進 著
集英社 刊



About the Book

Wasan—a unique form of Japanese mathematics—was developed during the Edo period (1603–1868), a time when the entire country was isolated from the rest of the world. Mathematics was enjoyed as a form of entertainment by adults and children alike and by people of all social classes. Jinkōki, an extraordinary mathematics textbook, was used at private elementary schools called terakoya and became a bestseller that could be found in every household. Furthermore, world-class works were produced by Japanese mathematicians such as Seki Takakazu and Takebe Katahiro.

This book explores the beauty and fascination surrounding wasan by providing a guided tour that goes back in time over three hundred years and navigates through the mysterious and incredible world of mathematical wizardry found during the Edo period Japan.

About the Author


Born in Yamagata Prefecture in 1968, Sakurai Susumu graduated from the Department of Mathematics and the graduate school at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He is a science navigator and was a Fellow of the Center for the Study of World Civilizations at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (2007–2013). While studying at the university, he taught at cram schools and explained mathematics and physics to students in interesting ways. In doing so, he developed “Science Entertainment,” which includes activities that communicate the surprising and inspiring nature of mathematics through human interactions between people and familiar objects. Sakurai lectures all over Japan and has authored books such as Omoshirokute nemurenaku sūgaku (Mathematics, Too Exciting to Sleep), Kandō suru sūgaku, (Inspirational Mathematics), and Setsugetsuka no sūgaku (Mathematics of Snow, Moon, and Flowers).