# Japanese mathematics

**Japanese mathematics** (和算, *wasan*) denotes a distinct kind of mathematics which was developed in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1867). The term *wasan*, from *wa* ("Japanese") and *san* ("calculation"), was coined in the 1870s^{[1]} and employed to distinguish native Japanese mathematical theory from Western mathematics (洋算 *yōsan*).^{[2]}

In the history of mathematics, the development of *wasan* falls outside the Western realms of people, propositions and alternate solutions.^{[clarification needed]} At the beginning of the Meiji period (1868–1912), Japan and its people opened themselves to the West. Japanese scholars adopted Western mathematical technique, and this led to a decline of interest in the ideas used in *wasan*.

### History

This mathematical schema evolved during a period when Japan's people were isolated from European influences. Kambei Mori is the first Japanese mathematician noted in history.^{[3]} Kambei is known as a teacher of Japanese mathematics; and among his most prominent students were Yoshida Shichibei Kōyū, Imamura Chishō, and Takahara Kisshu. These students came to be known to their contemporaries as "the Three Arithmeticians".^{[4]}

Yoshida was the author of the oldest extant Japanese mathematical text. The 1627 work was named *Jinkōki*. The work dealt with the subject of soroban arithmetic, including square and cube root operations.^{[5]} Yoshida's book significantly inspired a new generation of mathematicians, and redefined the Japanese perception of educational enlightenment, which was defined in the Seventeen Article Constitution as "the product of earnest meditation".^{[6]}

Seki Takakazu founded *enri* (円理: circle principles), a mathematical system with the same purpose as calculus at a similar time to calculus's development in Europe; but Seki's investigations did not proceed from conventionally shared foundations^{[clarification needed]}.^{[7]}

### Select mathematicians

The following list encompasses mathematicians whose work was derived from *wasan.*

- Kambei Mori (early 17th century)
- Yoshida Mitsuyoshi (1598–1672)
- Seki Takakazu (1642–1708)
- Takebe Kenkō (1664–1739)
- Matsunaga Ryohitsu (fl. 1718-1749)
^{[8]} - Kurushima Kinai (d. 1757)
- Arima Raido (1714–1783)
^{[9]} - Fujita Sadasuke (1734-1807)
^{[10]} - Ajima Naonobu (1739–1783)
- Aida Yasuaki (1747–1817)
- Sakabe Kōhan (1759–1824)
- Fujita Kagen (1765–1821)
^{[10]} - Hasegawa Ken (c. 1783-1838)
^{[9]} - Wada Nei (1787–1840)
- Shiraishi Chochu (1796–1862)
^{[11]} - Koide Shuke (1797–1865)
^{[9]} - Omura Isshu (1824–1871)
^{[9]}

### See also

- Japanese theorem for cyclic polygons
- Japanese theorem for cyclic quadrilaterals
- Sangaku, the custom of presenting mathematical problems, carved in wood tablets, to the public in Shinto shrines
- Soroban, a Japanese abacus
- Category:Japanese mathematicians

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### Copyright

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