UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
AT LOS ANGELES
ROLF HOFFMANN
A HISTORY
OF
vPANESE MATHEMATICS
BY
DAVID EUGENE SMITH
AND
YOSHIO MIKAMI
CHICAGO
THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING COMPANY
1914
Printed by W. Drugulin, Leipzig
Mathematics/
Sckrnoes
PREFACE
Although for nearly a century the greatest mathematical
classics of India have been known to western scholars, and
several of the more important works of the Arabs for even
longer, the mathematics of China and Japan has been closed
to all European and American students until very recently.
Even now we have not a single translation of a Chinese
treatise upon the subject, and it is only within the last dozen
years that the contributions of the native Japanese school
have become known in the West even by name. At the
& second International Congress of Mathematicians, held at Paris
^ in 1900, Professor Fujisawa of the Imperial University of Tokio
gave a brief address upon Mathematics of the old Japanese
p School, and this may be taken as the first contribution to the
j history of mathematics made by a native of that country in
J a European language. The next effort of this kind showed
? itself in occasional articles by Baron Kikuchi, as in the Nieuw
1 Archief voor Wiskunde, some of which were based upon his
contributions in Japanese to one of the scientific journals of
Tokio. But the only serious attempt made up to the present
time to present a wellordered history of the subject in a
European language is to be found in the very commendable
papers by T. Hayashi, of the Imperial University at Sendai.
The most important of these have appeared in the Nieuw
Archief voor Wiskunde, and to them the authors are much
indebted.
Having made an extensive collection of mathematical manu
scripts, early printed works, and early instruments, and having
154988
IV Preface.
brought together most of the European literature upon the
subject and embodied it in a series of lectures for my classes
in the history of mathematics, I welcomed the suggestion of
Dr. Carus that I join with Mr. Mikami in the preparation of
the present work. Mr. Mikami has already made for himself
an enviable reputation as an authority upon the wasan or
native Japanese mathematics, and his contributions to the
Bibliotheca Mathematica have attracted the attention of western
scholars. He has also published, as a volume of the Abhand
lungen zur Geschichte der Mathcmatik, a work entitled Mathe
matical Papers from the Far East. Moreover his labors with
the learned T. Endo, the greatest of the historians of Japanese
mathematics, and his consequent familiarity with the classics
of his country, eminently fit him for a work of this nature.
Our labors have been divided in the manner that the cir
cumstances would suggest. For the European literature, the
general planning of the work, and the final writing of the text,
the responsibility has naturally fallen to a considerable extent
upon me. For the furnishing of the Japanese material, the
initial translations, the scholarly search through the excellent
library of the Academy of Sciences of Tokio, where Mr. Endo
is librarian, and the further examination of the large amount of
native secondary material, the responsibility has been Mr. Mi
kami's. To his scholarship and indefatigable labors I am in
debted for more material than could be used in this work,
and whatever praise our efforts may merit should be awarded
in large measure to him.
The aim in writing this work has been to give a brief
survey of the leading features in the development of the ivasan.
It has not seemed best to enter very fully into the details of
demonstration or into the methods of solution employed by
the great writers whose works are described. This would not
be done in a general history of European mathematics, and
there is no reason why it should be done here, save in cases
where some peculiar feature is under discussion. Undoubtedly
several names of importance have been omitted, and at least
a score of names that might properly have had mention have
Preface. V
been the subject of correspondence between the authors for
the past year. But on the whole it may be said that most
of those writers in whose works European scholars are likely
to have much interest have been mentioned.
It is the hope of the authors that this brief history may
serve to show to the West the nature of the mathematics
that w r as indigenous to Japan, and to strengthen the bonds
that unite the scholars of the world through an increase in
knowledge of and respect for the scientific attainments of a
people whose progress in the past four centuries has been
one of the marvels of history.
It is only just to mention at this time the generous assistance
rendered by Mr. Leslie Leland Locke, one of my graduate
students in the history of mathematics, who made in my
library the photographs for all of the illustrations used in this
work. His intelligent and painstaking efforts to carry out the
wishes of the authors have resulted in a series of illustrations
that not merely elucidate the text, but give a visual idea of
the genius of the Japanese mathematics that words alone
cannot give. To him I take pleasure in ascribing the credit
for this arduous labor, and in expressing the thanks of the
authors.
Teachers College,
Columbia University, David Eugene Smith.
New York City,
December r, 1913.
VOCABULARY FOR REFERENCE
The following brief vocabulary will be convenient for reference in con
sidering some of the Japanese titles:
ho, method or theory. Synonym of jutsu. It is found in expressions like
shosa ho (method of differences).
hyo, table.
jutsu, method or theory. Synonym of ho, It is found in words like
kaku jutsu (polygonal theory) and tatsujutsu (method of expanding a
root of a literal equation).
ki t a treatise.
roku, a treatise. Synonym of ki.
sampo, mathematical treatise, or mathematical lules.
sangi, rods used in computing, and as numerical coefficients in equations
soroban, the Japanese abacus.
tengen, celestial element. The Japanese name for the Chinese algebra.
tenzan, the algebra of the Seki school.
wasan, the native Japanese mathematics as distinguished from the yosan,
the European mathematics.
yenri, circle principle. A term applied to the native calculus of Japan.
In Japanese proper names the surname is placed first in accordance with
the native custom, excepting in the cases of persons now living and who
follow the European custom of placing the surname last.
CONTENTS
CHAPTER PAGE
I. The Earliest Period I
II. The Second Period 7
III. The Development of the Soroban 18
IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra . . . 47
V. The Third Period 59
VI. Seki Kowa 91
VII. Seki's Contemporaries and possible Western Influences .... 128
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle H3
IX. The Eighteenth Century 163
X. Ajima Chokuyen 195
XL The Opening of the Nineteenth Century 206
XII. Wada Nei 220
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan 230
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics 252
Index . 281
CHAPTER I.
' The Earliest Period.
The history of Japanese mathematics, from the most remote
times to the present, may be divided into six fairly distinct
periods. Of these the first extended from the earliest ages to
552 T , a period that was influenced only indirectly if at all by
Chinese mathematics. The second period of approximately a
thousand years (552 1600) was characterized by the influx
of Chinese learning, first through Korea and then direct from
China itself, by some resulting native development, and by a
season of stagnation comparable to the Dark Ages of Europe.
The third period was less than a century in duration, extend
ing from about 1600 to the beginning of Seki's influence (about
1675). This may be called the Renaissance period of Japanese
mathematics, since it saw a new and vigorous importation of
Chinese science, the revival of native interest through the efforts
of the immediate predecessors of Seki, and some slight intro
duction of European learning through the early Dutch traders
and through the Jesuits. The fourth period, also about a century
in length (1675 to 1775) may be compared to the synchro
nous period in Europe. Just as the initiative of Descartes,
Newton, and Leibnitz prepared the way for the labors of the
Bernoullis, Euler, Laplace, D'Alembert, and their contemporaries
of the eighteenth century, so the work of the great Japanese
teacher, Seki, and of his pupil Takebe, made possible a note
worthy development of the wasan 2 of Japan during the same
1 All dates are expressed according to the Christian calendar and are to
be taken as after Christ unless the contrary is stated.
2 The native mathematics, from Wa (Japan) and san (mathematics). The
word is modern, having been employed to distinguish the native theory from
the western mathematics, the yosan.
I
2 I. The Earliest Period.
century. The fifth period, which might indeed be joined with
the fourth, but which differs from it much as the nineteenth
century of European mathematics differs from the eighteenth,
extended from 1775 to 1868, the date of the opening of Japan
to the Western World. This is the period of the culmination
of native Japanese mathematics, as influenced more or less by
the European learning that managed to find some entrance
through the Dutch trading station at Nagasaki and through
the first Christian missionaries. The sixth and final period
begins with the opening of Japan to intercourse with other
countries and extends to the present time, a period of marvelous
change in government, in ideals, in art, in industry, in edu
cation, in mathematics and the sciences generally, and in all
that makes a nation great. With these stupendous changes
of the present, that have led Japan to assume her place among
the powers of the world, there has necessarily come both loss
and gain. Just as the world regrets the apparent submerging
of the exquisite native art of Japan in the rising tide of com
mercialism, so the student of the history of mathematics must
view with sorrow the necessary decay of the wasan and the
reduction or the elevation of this noble science to the general
cosmopolitan level. The mathematics of the present in Japan
is a broader science than that of the past; but it is no longer
Japanese mathematics, it is the mathematics of the world.
It is now proposed to speak of the first period, extending
from the most remote times to 552. From the nature of the
case, however, little exact information can be expected of this
period. It [is like seeking for the early history of England
from native sources, excluding all information transmitted
through Roman writers. Egypt developed a literature in
very remote times, and recorded it upon her monuments
and upon papyrus rolls, and Babylon wrote her records upon
both stone and clay; but Japan had no early literature, and if
she possessed any ancient written records they have long since
perished.
It was not until the fifteenth year of the Emperor Ojin (284),
so the story goes, that Chinese ideograms, making their way
I. The Earliest Period. 3
through Korea, were first introduced into Japan. Japanese
nobles now began to learn to read and write, a task of enor
mous difficulty in the Chinese system. But the records them
selves have long since perished, and if they contained any
knowledge of mathematics, or if any mathematics from China
at that time reached the shores of Japan, all knowledge of
this fact has probably gone forever. Nevertheless there is
always preserved in the language of a people a great amount
of historical material, and from this and from folklore and tra
dition we can usually derive some little knowledge of the early
life and customs and numberscience of any nation.
So it is with Japan. There seems to have been a number
mysticism there as in all other countries. There was the
usual reaching out after the unknown in the study of the stars,
of the elements, and of the essence of life and the meaning
of death. The general expression of wonder that comes from
the study of number, of forms, and of the arrangements of
words and objects, is indicated in the language and the tradi
tions of Japan as in the language and traditions of all other
peoples. Thus we know that the Jindai monji, "letters of the
era of the gods", 1 go back to remote times, and this suggests
an early cabala, very likely with its usual accompaniment of
number values to the letters; but of positive evidence of this
fact we have none, and we are forced to rely at present only
upon conjecture. 2
Practically only one definite piece of information has come
1 Nothing definite is known as to these letters. They may have been
different alphabetic forms. Monji (or moji) means letters, Jin is god, and
dai is the age or era. The expression may also be rendered "letters of the
age of heros", using the term hero to mean a mythological semidivinity,
as it is used in early Greek lore.
2 There is here, howewer, an excellent field for some Japanese scholar
to search the native folklore for new material. Our present knowledge of
the Jindai comes chiefly from a chapter in the Nihongi (Records of Japan)
entitled Jindai no Maki (Records of the Gods' Age), written by Prince Toneri
Shinno in 720. This is probably based upon early legends handed down by
the Kataribe, a class of men who in ancient times transmitted the legends
orally, somewhat like the old English bards.
i*
4 I. The Earliest Period.
down to us concerning the very early mathematics of Japan,
and this relates to the number system. Tradition tells us that
in the reign of IzanaginoMikoto, the ancestor of the Mikados,
long before the unbroken dynasty was founded by Jimmu
(660 B. C), a system of numeration was known that extended
to very high powers of ten, and that embodied essentially the
exponential law used by Archimedes in his Sand Reckoner* 1 that
a'"a n = a m +*.
In this system the number names were not those of the present,
but the system may have been the same, although modern
Japanese anthropologists have serious doubts upon this matter.
The following table 2 has been given as representing the ancient
system, and it is inserted as a possibility, but the whole matter
is in need of further investigation:
Ancient
Modern
Ancient
Modern
I hito
ichi
TOO
momo
hyaku
2 futa
ni
IOOO
chi
sen
3 mi
san
IOOOO
yorozu
man
4 yo
shi
IOOOOO
so yorozu
jiu man
5 itsu
g
lOOOOOO
momo yorozu
hyaku man
6 mu
roku
lOOOOOOO
chi yorozu
sen man
7 nana
shichi
IOOOOO OOO
yorozu yorozu
oku
8 ya
hachi
IOOOOOOOOO
so yorozu yorozu
jiu oku
9 koko
ku
10 to
jiu
^, De harena numero, as it appears in Basel edition of 1544.
2 ENDO, T., Dai Nikon Sitgaku Shi (History of Japanese mathematics, in
Japanese. Tokio 1896, Book I, pp. 3 5; hereafter referred to as ENDU).
See also KNOTT, C. G., The Abacus in its historic and scientific aspects, in the
Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Yokohama 1 886, vol. XIV, p. 38;
hereafter referred to as Knott. Another interesting form of counting is still
in use in Japan, and is more closely connected with the ancient one than
is the common form above given. It is as follows: (I) hitotsu, (2) futatsu,
(3) mittsu, (4) yottsu, (5) itsutsu, (6) muttsu, (7) nanatsu, (8) yattsu, (9^ koko
notsu, (10) to. Still another form at present in use, and also related to the
ancient one, is as follows: (l) hi, (2) fu, (3) mi, (4) yo, (5) itsu, (6) mvi,
(7) nana, (8) ya, (9) kono, (10) to. Each of these forms is used only in
counting, not in naming numbers, and their persistence may be compared
I. The Earliest Period. 5
The interesting features of the ancient system are the deci
mal system and the use of the word yorozu, which now means
10000. This, however, may be a meaning that came with the
influx of Chinese learning, and we are not at all certain that
in ancient Japanese it stood for the Greek myriad. x The use
of yorozu for 10000 was adopted in later times when the
number names came to be based upon Chinese roots, and it
may possibly have preceded the entry of Chinese learning in
historic times. Thus IQS was not "hundred thousand" 2 in this
later period, but "ten myriads", 3 and our million* is a hundred
myriads, s Now this system of numeration by myriads is one
of the frequently observed evidences of early intercourse between
the scholars of the East and the West. Trades people and
the populace at large did not need such large numbers, but
to the scholar they were significant. When, therefore, we find
the myriad as the base of the Greek system, 6 and find it
more or less in use in India, 7 and know that it still persists
in China, 8 and see it systematically used in the ancient Japa
nese system as well as in the modern number names, we are
with that of the "counting out" rhymes of Europe and America. It should
be added that the modern forms given above are from Chinese roots.
1 Mupioi, 10000.
2 Which would, if so considered, appear as momo chi t or in modern Japa
nese as hyaku sen.
3 So yorozu, a softened form of to yorozu. In modern Japanese, jiu man,
man being the myriad.
4 Mille f on, "big thousand", just as saloon is salle \ on, a big hall, and
gallon is gill \ on, a big gill.
5 Momo yorozu, or, in modern Japanese, hyaku man.
6 See, for example, Gow, J., History of Greek Mathematics, Cambridge 1884,
and similar works.
^ See CoLEBROOKE, H. T., Algebra, with Arithmetic and Mensuration, from
the Sanscrit of Brahmegupta and Bhascara. London 1817, p. 4; TAYLOR, J.,
Lilawati. Bombay 1816, p. 5.
8 WILLIAMS, S. W., The Middle Kingdom. New York 1882; edition of 1895,
vol. I, p. 619. Thus Wan sui is a myriad of years, and Wan sui Yeh means
the Lord of a Myriad Years, /. e., the Emperor. The swastika is used by
the Buddhists in China as a symbol for myriad. This use of the myriad in
China is very ancient.
6 I. The Earliest Period.
convinced that there must have been a considerable intercourse
of scholars at an early date. 1
Of the rest of Japanese mathematics in this early period we
are wholly ignorant, save that we know a little of the ancient
system of measures and that a calendar existed. How the
merchants computed, whether the almost universal finger compu
tation of ancient peoples had found its way so far to the East,
what was known in the way of mensuration, how much of a
crude primitive observation of the movements of the stars was
carried on, what part was played by the priest in the orien
tation of shrines and temples, what was the mystic significance
of certain numbers, what, if anything, was done in the record
ing of numbers by knotted cords, or in representing them by
symbols, all these things are looked for in the study of any
primitive mathematics, but they are looked for in vain in the
evidences thus far at hand with respect to the earliest period
of Japanese history. It is to be hoped that the spirit of in
vestigation that is now so manifest in Japan will result in
throwing more light upon this interesting period in which
mathematics took its first root upon Japanese soil.
* There is considerable literature upon this subject, and it deserves even
more attention. See, for example, the following: KLINGSMILL, T. W., The
Intercourse of China with Eastern Turkestan . . . in the second century B. C., in
the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, N. S., London 1882, vol. XIV, p. 74.
A Japanese scholar, T. Kimura, is just at present maintaining that his people
have a common ancestry with the races of the GrecoRoman civilization,
basing his belief upon a comparison of the mythology and the language of
the two civilizations. See also P. VON BOHLEN, Das alie Indien mil besonderer
Riicksicht anf ^Egypten. Konigsberg 1830; REINAUD, Relations politiques et com
merciales de F Empire Romain avec FAsie orient ale. Paris 1863; P. A. DI SAN
FlLIPO, Delle Relazioni antiche et moderne fra L' Italia e I' India. Rome 1 886;
SMITH and KARPINSKI, The HinduArabic Numerals. Boston 1911, with exten
sive bibliography on this point.
CHAPTER II.
The Second Period.
The second period in the history of Japanese mathematics
(552 1600) corresponds both in time and in nature with the
Dark Ages of Europe. Just as the Northern European lands
came in contact with the South, and imbibed some slight
draught of classical learning, and then lapsed into a state of
indifference except for the influence of an occasional great soul
like that of Charlemagne or of certain noble minds in the
Church, so Japan, subject to the same Zeitgeist, drank lightly
at the Chinese fountain and then lapsed again into semi
barbarism. Europe had her Gerbert, and Leonardo of Pisa,
and Sacrobosco, but they seem like isolated beacons in the
darkness of the Middle Ages; and in the same way Japan, as
we shall see, had a few scholars who tended the lamp of
learning in the medieval night, and who are known for their
fidelity rather than for their genius.
Just as in the West we take the fall of Rome (476) and the
fall of Constantinople (1453), two momentous events, as con
venient limits for the Dark Ages, so in Japan we may take
the introduction of Buddhism (552) and the revival of learning
(about 1600) as similar limits, at least in our study of the
mathematics of the country.
It was in round numbers a thousand years after the death
of Buddha 1 that his religion found its way into Japan. 2 The
1 The Shinshiu or "True Sect" of Buddhists place his death as early as
949 B. C., but the Singalese Buddhists place it at 543 B. C. Rhys Davids,
who has done so much to make Buddhism known to English readers, gives
412 B. C., and Max Miiller makes it 477 B. C., See also SUMNER, J, Buddhism
and traditions concerning its introduction into Japan, Transactions of the Asiatic
Society of Japan, Yokohama 1886, vol. XIV, p. 73. He gives the death of
Buddha as 544 B. C.
2 It was introduced into China in 64 A. D., and into Korea in 372.
8 II. The Second Period.
date usually assigned to this introduction is 552, when an image
of Buddha was set up in the court of the Mikado; but evidence 1
has been found which leads to the belief that in the sixteenth
year of Keitai Tenno (an emperor who reigned in Japan from
507 to 531), that is in the year 522, a certain man named
Szuma Ta 2 came from NanLiang 3 in China, and set up a
shrine in the province of Yamato, and in it placed an image
of Buddha, and began to expound his religion. Be this as it
may, Buddhism secured a foothold in Japan not far from the
traditional date of 552, and two years later* Wang Paosan,
a master of the calendar, s and Wang Paoliang, doctor ot
chronology, 6 an astrologer, crossed over from Korea and made
known the Chinese chronological system. A little later a
Korean priest named Kanroku 7 crossed from his native country
and presented to the Empress Suiko a set of books upon
astrology and the calendar. 8 In the twelfth year of her reign
(604) almanacs were first used in Japan, and at this period
Prince Shotoku Taishi proved himself such a fosterer of
Buddhism and of learning that his memory is still held in high
esteem. Indeed, so great was the fame of Shotoku Taishi
that tradition makes him the father of Japanese arithmetic
and even the inventor of the abacus. 9 (Fig !)
A little later the Chinese system of measures was adopted,
and in general the influence of China seems at once to have
1 See SUMNER, loc. cit., p. 78.
2 In Japanese, Shiba Tatsu.
3 I. e., South Liang, Liang being one of the southern monarchies.
4 I. e., in 554, or possibly 553.
5 In Europe he would have had charge of the Compotus, the science of
the Church calendar, in a Western monastery.
6 Also called a Doctor of Yih. The doctrine of Yih (changes) is set forth
in the Yih King (Book of Changes), one of the ancient Five Classics of the
Chinese. There is a very extensive literature upon this subject.
7 Or Ch'iianlo.
8 SUMNER, loc. cit , p. 80, gives the date as 593. Endo, who is the leading
Japanese authority, gives it as 602.
9 That this is without foundation will appear in Chapter III. The soroban
which he holds in the illustration here given is an anachronism.
II. The Second Period.
become very marked. Fortunately, just about this time, the
Emperor Tenchi (Tenji) began his short but noteworthy reign
(668 671). ' While yet crown prince this liberalminded man
invented a water clock, and divided the day into a hundred
hours, and upon ascending the throne he
showed his further interest by founding a
school to which two doctors of arithmetic
and twenty students of the subject were
appointed. An observatory was also
established, and from this time mathema
tics had recognized standing in Japan.
The official records show that a uni
versity system was established by the
Emperor Monbu in 701, and that mathe
matical studies were recognized and were
regulated in the higher institutions of
learning. Nine Chinese works were speci
fied, as follows: (i) Choupei(Suanching),
(2) Suntsu (Suan eking), (3) Liuchang,
(4) Sank'ai Chung ch' a, (5) Wufsao
(Suans/m), (6) Haitao (SuansJni),
(7) Chiuszu, (8) Chiuchang, (9) Chui
skn. 2 Of these works, apparently the most
famous of their time, the third, fourth,
and seventh are lost. The others are
probably known, and although they are
not of native Japanese production they so Shotoku Taishi, with a
it . ,, .. ' f soroban. From a bronze
greatly influenced the mathematics ot
statuette.
Japan as to deserve some description at
this time. We shall therefore consider them in the order
above given.
i. Choupei SuancJiing. This is one of the oldest of the
Chinese works on mathematics, and is commonly known in
Fig. i.
1 MURRAY, D., The Story of Japan. N. Y. 1894, p. 398, from the official
records.
2 ENDO, Book I, pp. 12 13.
IO II. The Second Period.
China as Chowpi, said to mean the "Thigh bone of Chow". 1
The thigh bone possibly signifies, from its shape, the base and
altitude of a triangle. Chow is thought to be the name of a
certain scholar who died in 1105 B. C, but it may have been
simply the name of the dynasty. This scholar is sometimes
spoken of as Chow Kung, 2 and is said to have had a discussion
with a nobleman named Kaou, or Shang Kao,3 which is set
forth in this book in the form of a dialogue. The topic is our
socalled Pythagorean theorem, and the time is over five hundred
years before Pythagoras gave what was probably the first
scientific proof of the proposition. The work relates to geo
metric measures and to astronomy. 4
2. Suntsu Suanching. This treatise consists of three books,
and is commonly known in China as the Swanking (Arith
metical classic) of Suntsu (Suntsze, or Swentse), a writer
who lived probably in the 3d century A. D., but possibly much
earlier. Ttie work attracted much attention and is referred to
by most of the later writers, and several commentaries have
appeared upon it. Suntsu treats of algebraic quantities, and
gives an example in indeterminate equations. This problem is
to "find a number which, when divided by 3 leaves a remainder
of 2, when divided by 5 leaves 3, and when divided by
7 leaves 2."s This work is sometimes, but without any good
reason, assigned to Sun Wu, one of the most illustrations men
of the 6th century B. C.
3. Liu Chang. This is unknown. There was a writer named
'* Pi means leg, thigh, thighbone.
2 Chi Tan, known as Chow Kung (that is, the Duke of Chow), was brother
and advisor to the Emperor Wu Wang of the Chow dynasty. It is possible
that he wrote the Chow Li, "Institutions of the Chow Dynasty", although it
is more probable that it was written for him. The establishment and
prosperity of the Chow dynasty is largely due to him. There is no little
doubt as to the antiquity of this work, and the critical study of scholars may
eventually place it much later than the traditional date here given.
3 Also written Shang Kaou.
4 For a translation of the dialogue see WYLIE, A., Chinese Researches.
Shanghai 1897, Part III, p. 163.
5 His result is 23. For his method of solving see WYLIE, loc. cit., p. 175.
II. The Second Period. II
Liu Hui 1 who wrote a treatise entitled Chung ctt a, but this
seems to be No. 4 in the list.
4. Sanfcai Chung eft a. This is also unknown, but is per
haps Liu Hui's Cliungcftakealtsihwangchishuh (The
whole system of measuring by the observation of several
beacons), published in 263. The author also wrote a com
mentary on the Chiuchang (No. 8 in this list). It relates
to the mensuration of heights and distances, and gives only
the rules without any explanation. About 1250 Yang Hway
published a work entitled SiangkiaiKewchangSwanfa (Ex
planation of the arithmetic of the Nine Sections), but this is too late
for our purposes. He also wrote a work with a similar title Siang
kiaiJehyungSwanfa (Explanation of arithmetic for daily use).
5. Wut'sao Suanshu. The author and the date of this work
are both unknown, but it seems to have been written in the
2d or 3d century. 2 It is one of the standard treatises on
arithmetic of the Chinese.
6. Haitao Suanshu. This was a republication of No. 4, and
appeared about the time of the Japanese decree of 701. The
name signifies "The Island Arithmetical Classic", 5 and seems
to come from the first problem, which relates to the measuring
of an island from a distant point.
7. Chiuszu. This work, which was probably a commentary
on the SuansJm (Swanking] of No. 8, is lost.
8. CJduchang. Chiuchang Suanshu* means "Arithmetical
Rules in Nine Sections". It is the greatest arithmetical classic
of China, and tradition assigns to it remote antiquity. It is
related in the ancient Tungkienkangmuh (General History of
China) that the Emperor Hwangti,s who lived in 2637 B. C,
1 Lewhwuy according to Wylie's transliteration, who also assigns him to
about the 5th century B. C.
2 But see WYLIE, loc. cit., who refers it to about the 5th century, and
improperly states that Wut'sao is the author's name. He gives it the com
mon name of Swan king (Arithmetical classic).
3 Also written Haetaouswanking.
4 Kew changswanshu, Kiuchangsansuh, Kieou chang.
5 Or Hoanti, the "Yellow Emperor". Some writers give the date much earlier.
12 II. The Second Period.
caused his minister Li Show 1 to form the Ckiuchang.* Of
the text of the original work we are not certain, for the reason
that during the Ch'in dynasty (220 205 B. C.) the emperor
Chi Hoangti decreed, in 213 B. C, that all the books in
the empire should be burned. And while it is probable that
the classics were all surreptitiously preserved, and while they
could all have been repeated from memory, still the text may
have been more or less corrupted during the reign of this
oriental vandal. The text as it comes to us is that of Chang
T'sang of the second century B. C., revised by Ching Ch'ou
ch'ang about a hundred years later. 3 Both of these writers
lived in the Former Han* dynasty (202 B. C. 24 A. D.), a
period corresponding in time and in fact with the Augustan age
in Europe, and one in which great effort was made to restore
the lost classics, s and both were ministers of the emperor.
This classical work had such an effect upon the mathematics
of Japan that a summary of the contents of the books or chapters
of which it is composed will not be out of place. The work
contained 246 problems, and these are arranged in nine sect
ions as follows:
(1) Fangtien, surveying. This relates to the mensuration of
various plane figures, including triangles, quadrilaterals, circles,
circular segments and sectors, and the annulus. It also contains
some treatment of fractions.
(2) Suhpu (Shupoo). This treats chiefly of commercial
problems solved by the "rule of three".
(3) Shwaifen (Shwaefun, SJmaifeii). This deals with partner
ship.
1 Or Lishou.
2 WVLIE, A., Jottings of the Science of Chinese Arithmetic, North China
Herald for 1852, Shanghai Almanac for 1853, Chinese Researches, Shanghai
1897, Part III, page 159; BIERNATZKI, Die Arithmetic der Chinesen, CRELLE'S
Journal for 1856, vol. 52.
3 For this information we are indebted to the testimony of Liu Hui, whose
commentary was written in 263.
4 Also known as the Western Han.
5 LEGGE, J., The Chinese Classics. Oxford 1893, 2nd edition, vol. I, p. 4.
II. The Second Period. 13
(4) Shaokang (Sliaoukwang). This relates to the extraction
of square and cube roots, the process being much like that of
the present time.
(5) Shangkung. This has reference to the mensuration of
such solids as the prism, cylinder, pyramid, circular cone,
frustum of a cone, tetrahedron, and wedge.
(6) KinsJiu (Kiunshoo, GhiinsJni) treats of alligation.
(/) Yingputsu (Yungyu, Yinnuk). This chapter treats of
"Excess and deficiency", and follows essentially the old rule
of false position. J
(8) Fangctieng (Fangcheng, Fang cliing). This chapter
relates to linear equations involving two or more unknown
quantities, in which both positive (ching) or negative (foo) terms
are employed. The following example is a type: "If 5 oxen
and 2 sheep cost 10 taels of gold, and 2 oxen and 8 sheep
cost 8 taels, what is the price of each?" It is probable that
this chapter contains the earliest known mention of a negative
quantity, and if the ancient text has not been corrupted Jit
places this kind of number between 2000 and 3000 B. C.
(9) Kouku, a term meaning a right triangle. The essential
feature of this chapter is the Pythagorean theorem, which is
stated as follows: "The first side and the second side being
each squared and added, the square root of the sum is
the hypotenuse." One of the twenty four problems in this
section involves the equation x 2  + (20 + 14) x 2 x 20 x 1775 = o,
and a rule is laid down that is equivalent to the modern for
mula for the quadratic. If these problems were in the original
text, and that text has the antiquity usually assigned to it,
concerning neither of which we are at all certain, then they
contain the oldest known quadratic equation. The interrelation
of ancient mathematics is seen in two problems in this chapter.
One is that of the reed growing i foot above the surface in the
center of a pond 10 feet square, which just reaches the surface
when drawn to the edge of the pond, it being required to find the
1 The Regula falsi or Regula positionis of the Middle Ages in Europe. The
rule seems to have been of oriental origin.
14 II. The Second Period.
depth of the water. The other is the problem of the broken
tree that has been a stock question for four thousand years.
Both of these problems are found in the early Hindu works
and were among the medieval importations into Europe.
The value of it 1 used in the "Nine Sections" is 3, as was
the case generally in early times. 2 Commentators changed this
later, Liu Hui (263) giving the value , which is equivalent to
3*4 3
9. Chuishu. This is usually supposed to be Tsu Ch'ung
chih's work which has been lost and is now known only by name.
This list includes all of the important Chinese classics in
mathematics that had appeared before it was made, and it
shows a serious attempt to introduce the best material available
into the schools of Japan at the opening of the 8th century.
It seemed that the country had entered upon an era of great
intellectual prosperity, but it was like the period of Charle
magne, so nearly synchronous with it, a temporary beacon
in a dark night. Instead of leading scholars to the study of
pure mathematics, this introduction of Chinese science, at a
time when the people were not fully capable of appreciating
it, seemed rather to foster a study of astrology, and mathe
matics degenerated into mere puzzle solving, the telling of
fortunes, and the casting of horoscopes. Japan itself was given
up to wars and rumors of wars. The "Nine Sections" was
forgotten, and a man who actually knew arithmetic was looked
upon as a genius. The samurai or noble class disdained all
commercial pursuits, and ability to operate with numbers was
looked upon as evidence of low birth. Professor Nitobe has
given us a picture of this feudal society in his charming little
book entitled Bushido, TJie Soul of Japan. * " Children," he
1 In Chinese Choule; in Japanese yenshu ritsu.
2 It is also found in the Choupei, No. 1 in this list.
f 3 MlKAMI, Y., On Chinese Circle Squarers, in the Bibliotheca Mathcnialica,
1910, vol. X(3), p. 193.
4 Tokio 1905) p. 88. Some historical view of these early times is given
in an excellent work by W.H. SHARP, The Educational System of Japan. Bombay
1906, pp. I, 10, II.
II. The Second Period. 15
says, "were brought up with utter disregard of economy. It
was considered bad taste to speak of it, and ignorance of the
value of different coins was a token of good breeding. Know
ledge of numbers was indispensable in the mastering of forces
as well as in the distribution of benefices and fiefs, but the
counting of money was left to meaner hands." Only in the
Buddhist temples in Japan, as in the Christian church schools
in Europe, was the lamp of learning kept burning. * In each
case, however, mathematics was not a subject that appealed
to the religious body. A crude theology, a purposeless logic,
a feeble literature, these had some standing; but mathematics
save for calendar purposes was ever an outcast in the temple
and the church, save as it occasionally found some eccentric
individual to befriend it. In the period of the Ashikaga
shoguns it is asserted that there hardly could be found in all
Japan a man who was versed in the art of division. 2 To divide,
the merchant resorted to the process known as Shokeizan, a
scheme of multiplication 3 which seems in some way to have
served for the inverse process as well. 4 Nevertheless the asser
tion that the art of division was lost during this era of constant
wars is not exact. Manuscripts on the calendar, corresponding
to the European compotus rolls, and belonging to the period
in question, contain examples of division, and it is probable
that here, as in the West, the religious communities always
had someone who knew the rudiments of calendarreckoning.
(Fig. 2.}
Three names stand out during these Dark Ages as worthy
of mention. The first is that of Tenjin, or Michizane, counsellor
and teacher in the court of the Emperor Uda (888 898).
1 Notably in the case of the labors of the learned Kobo Daishi, founder
of the Chenyen sect of Buddhists, who was born in 774 A. D. See Professor
T. TANIMOTO'S address on Kobo Daishi. Kobe 1907.
2 ENDO, Book I, p. 30.
3 UCHIDA GOKAN, Kokon Sankwan, 1832, preface.
4 This is the opinion of MURAI CHIIZEN who lived in the 1 8th century.
See his Sampo Doshimon. 1781. Book I, article on the origin of arith
metic.
16
II. The Second Period.
Fig. 2. Japanese Calendar Rolls.
Uda's successor, Daigo, banished him from the court and
he died in 903. He was a learned man, and after his death
he was canonized under the name Tenjin (Heavenly man) and
II. The Second Period.
Fig. 3' Tenjin, from an old bronze.
was looked upon as the patron of science and letters. (See
Fig. 3.) The second is that of Michinori, Lord of the pro
vince of Hyuga. His name is connected with a mathematical
theory called the KeisJii
san. I It seems to have been
related to permutations and
to have been thought of
enough consequence to
attract the attention of
Yoshida a and of his great
successor Seki3 in the
1 7th century. Michinori's
work was written in the
Hogenperiod(ii56 1159).
The third name is that
of Gensho, a Buddhist priest
in the time of Shogun
Yoriyiye, at the opening
of the 1 3th century. Trad
ition* says that he was distinguished for his arithmetical powers,
but so far as we know he wrote nothing and had no per
manent influence upon mathematics.
Thus passes and closes a period of a thousand years, with
not a single book of any merit, and without advancing the
science of mathematics a single pace. Europe was backward
enough, but Japan was worse. China was doing a little, India
was doing more, but the Arab was accomplishing still more
through his restlessness of spirit if not through his mathe
matical genius. The world's rebirth was approaching, and this
Renaissance came to Japan at about the time that it came to
Europe, accompanied in both cases by a grafting of foreign
learning upon native stock.
1 ENDd, Book I, p. 28; Murai Chuzen, Sampo Doshimon,
2 See his Jinkoki of 1627.
3 See Chapter VI.
4 See ISOMURA KlTTOKU, Shusho Ketstigisho, 1684, Book 4, marginal note.
Isomura died in 1710.
2
CHAPTER III.
The Development of the Soroban.
Before proceeding to a consideration of the third period of
Japanese mathematics, approximately the seventeenth century
of the Christian era, it becomes necessary to turn our attention
to the history of the simple but remarkable calculating machine
which is universal in all parts of the Island Empire, the soroban.
This will be followed by a chapter upon another mechanical
aid known as the sangi, since each of these devices had a
marked influence upon higher as well as elementary mathe
matics from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. 1
The numeral systems of the ancients were so unsuited to
the purposes of actual calculation that probably some form of
mechanical calculation was always necessary. This fact is the
more evident when we consider that convenient writing material
* The literature of these forms of the abacus is extensive. The following
are some of the most important sources: VISSIERE, A., Recherches sur I'origine
de fabacque chinois, in Bulletin de Geographie. Paris 1892; KNOTT, C. G., The
Abacus in its historic and scientific aspects, in the Transactions of the Asiatic
Society of Japan, Yokohama 1886, vol. 14, p. 18; GOSCHKEWITSCH, J., Ueber
das Chinesiche Rechenbrett, in the Arbeiten der Kaiserlich Russischen Gesand
schaft zu Peking, Berlin 1858, vol. I, p. 293 (no history); VAN NAME, R., On
the Abacus of China and Japan, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 18/5,
vol. X, proc., p. CX; RODET, L., Le souanpan des Chinois, Bulletin de la
Sociele mathematique de France, 1880, vol. VIII; DE LA CoUPERIE, A. T., The
Old Numerals, the Counting Rods, and the Swanpan, Numismatic Chronicle,
London 1883, vol. Ill (3), p. 297; HAYASHI, T., A brief history of Japanese
Mathematics, part I, p. 18; HUBNER, M., Die charakteristischen Formen des
Rechenbretts, Zeitschrift fur Lehrmittehvesen etc., Wien 1906, II. Jahrg., p. 47
(not historical). There is also an extensive literature relating to other forms
of the abacus.
III. The Development of the Soroban. 19
was a late product, papyrus being unknown in Greece for
example before the seventh century B. C., parchment being an
invention of the fifth r century B. C, paper being a relatively
late product, 2 and metal and stone being the common media
for the transmission of written knowledge in the earlier centuries
in China. On account of the crude numeral systems of the
ancients and the scarcity of convenient writing material, there
were invented in very early times various forms of the abacus,
and this instrumental arithmetic did not give way to the
graphical in western Europe until well into the Renaissance
period. 3 In eastern Europe it never has been replaced, for the
tschotii is used everywhere in Russia today, and when one
passes over into Persia the same type of abacus* is common
in all the bazaars. In China the swanpan is universally used
for purposes of computation, and in Japan the soroban is as
strongly entrenched as it was before the invasion of western
ideas.
The Japanese soroban is a comparatively recent invention, having
been derived from the Chinese swanpan (Fig. 10), which is also
relatively modern. The earlier means employed in China are
known to us chiefly through the masterly work of Mei Wen
ting (1633 1721)5 entitled KouswanK > ik'ao. 6 Mei Wenting
was one of the greatest Chinese mathematicians, the author
of upwards of eighty works or memoirs, and one of the lead
ing writers on the history of mathematics among his people.
He tells us that the early instrument of calculation was a set.
1 Pliny says of the second century B. C.
2 It seems to have been brought into Europe by the Moors in the twelfth
century.
3 See SMITH, D. E., Rara Arithmetica, Boston 1909, index under Counters.
4 Known in Armenia as the choreb, in Turkey as the coulba.
5 Surnamed Tingkieou and Woungan. He lived. in the brilliant reign of
Kanghi, who had been educated partly under tbe influence of the Jesuit
missionaries.
6 Researches on ancient calculating instruments. See VisslEre, loc. cit.,
p. 7, from whom I have freely quoted; WYLIE, A., Notes on Chinese Literature,
p. 91.
2*
2O III. The Development of the Soroban.
of rods, ch'eouS The earliest definite information that we have
of the use of these rods is in the Han Sim (Records of the
Han Dynasty), which was written by Pan Ku of the Later Han
period, in the year 80 of our era. According to him the
ancient arithmeticians used comparatively long rods, 2 and the
commentary of Sou. Lin on the Han history tells us that two
hundred seventyone of these formed a set. 3 Furthermore, in
the Chechouo (Narrative of the Century), written by Lieou Yi
k'ing in the fifth century, it appears that ivory rods were used.
We also find that the ancient ideograph for swan (reckoning)
is 1 1 1 J]"[ , a form that is manifestly derived from the rods, and
that is evidently the source of the present Chinese ideograph.
Mei Wenting says that it is impossible to give the origin of
these rods, but he believes that the ancient classic, the Yi/iking,
gives evidence, in its mystic trigrams, of their very early use. 4
As to the size of the rods in ancient times we are not informed,
none being now extant, but an early work on cooking, the Cliong
k'oueilou, speaks of cutting pieces of meat 3 inches long, like
a calculating rod, from which we get some idea of their length.
As to the early Chinese method of representing numbers,
we have a description by Ts'ai Ch'en, surnamed Kieoufong
(1167 1230), a philosopher of the Song dynasty. In his Hong
fan (Book of Annals) he gives the numerals as follows:
i ii 111 mi HUM mi. ..in. .limn iiiiTTiii
123456789 12 25 46 69 99
* There is not space in this work to enter into a discussion of the possible
earlier use of knotted cords, a primitive system in many parts of the world.
Laotze, "the old philosopher", refers to them in his Taotehking, a famous
classic of the sixth century B. C., saying: "Let the people return to knotted
cords (chiengshing) and use them." See the English edition by Dr. P. CARCS.
Chicago, 1898, pp. 137, 272, 323.
2 The text says 6 units (inches) but we do not know^the length of the
unit (inch) of that periojd.
3 The old word means, possibly, a handful.
4 The date of the YihKing or Book of Changes is uncertain. It is often
spoken of as Antiquissimus Sinarum liber, as in an edition by JULIUS MOHL,
Stuttgart, 1834 9, 2 vols. It is ascribed to Fuhhi (B. C. 3322) the fabled
founder of the nation. There is an extensive literature upon the subject.
III. The Development of the Soroban. 21
Furthermore the great astronomer and engineer of the Mongol
dynasty, Kouo Sheoukin (1281), in his SJieoushe Li, a treatise
on the calendar, gives the number 198617 in the following
form, which may be compared with the Japanese sangi of
which we shall presently speak:   i ~~ J[. This plan
is much older than the thirteenth century, however, for in the
Snntsu SnancJiing mentioned in Chapter II, written by Sun
tsu about the third century, it is stated that the units should
be vertical, the tens horizontal, the hundreds vertical, the
thousands horizontal, and so on, and that for 6 one should not
use six rods, since a single rod suffices for 5. These rules are
repeated, almost verbatim, in the Hiaheou Yang Suanching,
one of the Chinese mathematical classics, probably of the sixth
century. The rods are therefore very old, and they were the
common means of representing numbers in China, as we shall
see was also the case in Japan, until a relatively late period.
As to the methods of operating with the rods, Yang Houei,
in his SiukouCJiaikiSwanfa of 1275 or 1276, gives the
following example in multiplication:
= 1 1 1 1 _ = multiplier = 247
_L 1 1 1 J_ = multiplicand = 736
I J= I J= ITTT = = P^duct = 181 792
From China the calculating rods passed to Korea where the
natives use them even to this day. These sticks are commonly
made of bamboo, split into square prisms, and numbering
about 1 50 in a set. They are kept in a bamboo case, although
some are made of bone and are kept in a cloth bag as shown
in the illustration, (Fig. 4.). The Korean represents his numbers
from left to right, laying the rods as follows:
i ii 111 mi x xi xn xui xini T 1
123 4 56 7 8 9 10 ii
i We are indebted to an educated Korean, Mr. C. Cho, of the Methodist
Publishing House in Tokio, for this information. On the mathematics of
Korea in general, see LOWELL, P., The Land of the Morning Calm. Boston
1886, p. 250. One of the leading classics of the country is the Song yang
Jwei soan fa, or Song yang houi san pep (Treatise on Arithmetic by Yang Hoei
22
III. The Development of the Soroban.
r"
Fig. 4. Korean computing rods.
of the Song Dynasty), written in 1275 by Yang Hoei, whose literary name was
Khien Koang; see M. COURANT, Bibliographic Coreenne. Paris 1896, vol. Ill, p. I.
III. The Development of the Soroban. 23
The date of the introduction of the rods into Japan is un
known, but at any rate from the time of the Empress Suiko
(593 628 A. D.) 1 the chikusaku (bamboo rods) were used.
These were thin round sticks about 2 mm. in diameter and
1 2 cm. in length, but because of their liability to roll they were
in due time replaced by the sangi pieces, square prisms about
7 mm. thick and 5 cm. long. (Fig. 5.) When this transition
Fig. 5. The sangi or computing rods. Nineteenth century specimens.
took place is unknown, nor is it material since the methods
of using the two were the same.*
The method of representing the numbers by means of the
sangi was the same as the one already described as having
long been used by the Chinese. The units, hundreds, ten
1 HAYASHI, T , A brief history of the Japanese Mathematics, in the Nienw
Archief voor Wiskunde, tweede Reeks, zesde en sevende Deel, part I, p. 1 8.
2 Indeed it is not certain that there was a sudden change from one to
the other or that the names signified two different forms. The old Chinese
names were ch'eou (which is the Japanese sangi) and t'se, and these were
used as synonymous.
24 III. The Development of the Soroban.
thousands, and so on for the odd places, were represented as
follows:
I II III MM HIM T M" "HT MM
1234 56789
The tens, thousands, hundred thousands, and so on for the
the even places, were represented as follows:
IO 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
These numerals were arranged in a series of squares resembling
our chessboard, called a swanpan, although not at all like
the Chinese abacus that bears this name. The following illustra
tion (Fig. 6), taken from Sato Shigeharu's Tengen Sliinan of
1698, shows its general form:
t
Fig. 6. The general form of the sangi board, from a work of 1698.
III. The Development of the Soroban. 25
The number 38057, for example, would be represented thus:
III
=
^E
1
The number 1267, represented by the sangi without the ruled
board. Is shown in Fig. 7.
From representing the numbers by the sangi on a ruled
board came a much later method of transferring the lines to
Fig. 7. The number 1267 represented by sattgi.
paper, and using a circle to represent the vacant square. This
could only have occurred after the zero had reached China
and had been passed on to Japan, but the date is only a
matter of conjecture. By this method, instead of having 38057
represented as shown above, we should have it written thus:
In laying down the rods a red piece indicated a positive number
and a black one a negative. In writing, however, a mark
placed obliquely across a number indicated subtraction. Thus,
pU meant 3, and T" meant 6.
The use of the sangi in the fundamental operations may be
illustrated by the following example in which we are required
26
III. The Development of the Soroban.
to find the sho (quotient) given the jitsu (dividend) 276, and
the ho (divisor) I2. 1
sho
jitsu (276)
ho (12)
II
_L
T
II
First consider the jitsu as negative, indicating the fact in this
manner:
sho
jitsu
ho
H
T
II
The first figure
of the sho is evidently 2:
sho
H
.
T
jitsu
II
ho
Multiply the ho by 20, and put the product, 240, beside the
jitsu, thus:
n
E
T
II
sho
jitsu
ho
1 These examples are taken from HAYASHI'S History.
III. The Development of the Soroban.
which, by combining numbers in the jitsu, reduces to
27
sho
$
T
jitsu
II
ho
The ho is now advanced one place, exactly as was done in
the early European plan of division by the galley method,
after which the next figure of the slid is evidently 3, and the
work appears as follows:
Ill
sho
jitsu
ho
^
T
II
Multiplying the ho by 3 the product, 36, is again written beside
the jitsu, giving
II
jitsu
ho
or
sho
a result which is written thus : 1 1 1 .
In order that the appearance of the sangi in actual use may
be more clearly seen, a page from Nishiwaki Richyu's Sampo
Tengen Roku of 1714 is reproduced in Fig. 8, and an illustra
tion from Miyake Kenryu's Shojutsu Sangaku Zuye of 1795 in i/
Fig. 9.
28 III. The Development of the Soroban.
t, 
y
i ^^
a
y
III
__
i
111
1
T
A
*
T
" r^L
*.
II
1
f
r
III
II
A E3 7 *
1 ?*
I] t IP) V ? ^ 3% %_
m ^ ^ . T ^ '^^l
L ^ ife El H ^ 
a^ > \ .* > ^
Fig. 8. Sangi board. From Nishiwaki Richyu's Sampo Tettgen Roku of 1 7 14.
In the later years of the sangi computation the custom of
arranging the even places differently from the odd places
changed, and instead of representing 38057 by the old method 1
as shown 'on page 25, it was represented thus:
1 Called SonshiReppuho, the Method of arrangement of Suntsu.
III. The Development of the Soroban.
III TIT
TT
This was done only on the ruled squares, however, the written
form remaining as shown on page 25.
The transition from the cJteou or rod calculation to the
present form of abacus in China next demands our attention.
Mei Wenting, whose name has already been mentioned, ex
presses regret that an exact date for the abacus cannot be
Fig. 9. From Miyake Kenryu's work of 1795.
fixed. He says, however, <l lf, in my ignorance, I may be
allowed to hazard a guess, I should say that it began with the
first years of the Ming Dynasty." This would be
when T'aitsou, the first Ming emperor, undertook to refo
the calendar. At any rate, Mei Wenting concludes that in
the reform of the calendar in 1281 rods were used, while in
that of 1384 the abacus was employed. There is evidence,
however, that the abacus was known in China in the twelfth
century, but that it was not until the fourteenth that it was
commonly used. 1 Since a division table such as is used in
manipulating the swanpan is given in a work by Yang Hui
who flourished at the close of the Song Dynasty, in the latter
1 VISSIKRE, loc. dt.\ MIKAMI, Y., A Remark on the Chinese Mathematics in
Cantor's Geschichtc der Mathemalik, Archiv dcr Mathematik und Physik, vol. XV (3),
Heft i.
30 III. The Development of the Soroban.
half of the thirteenth century, we have reason to believe that
the swanpan was known at that time. Moreover we have the
titles of several books such as Chonpan Chi and Panchou CJd
recorded in the Historical Records of the Song Dynasty, which
seem to refer to this instrument. It must also be admitted
that at least one much earlier work mentions "computations
by means of balls," although this seems to have been only a
Fig. 10. The Chinese swanpan, indicating the number 27091.
local plan known to but few. That the Roman abacus should
have been known very early in China is not only probable
but fairly certain, in view of the relations between China and
Italy at the time of the Caesars. 1
The Chinese abacus is known commonly as the swanpan
(swan /an, "reckoning table"). In southern China it is also
known as the soopan, z and in Calcutta, where the Chinese
shroffs employ it, the name is corrupted to swinbon. The
literary name is clioup'an ("ball table" or "pearl table"). As
will be seen by the illustration there are five balls below the
1 See SMITH and KARPINSKI, loc. tit., p. 79.
2 BOWRING, J., The Decimal System. London 1854, p. 193.
III. The Development of the Soroban.
s
line and two above, each of the latter counting as five. In
the illustration (Fig. 10) the balls are placed to represent 27091.
The balls are called chou (pearls) or
tse (son, child, grain), and are common
ly spoken of as swan fan chontse.
The transverse bar is the leang (beam)
or tsileang (spinal colum, also used
to designate the ridgepole of a roof).
The columns are called wei (positions),
hang (lines), or tang (steps, or bars).
The left side is called ts'ien (front)
and the right side heou (rear). This
was the instrument that replaced the
ancient rods about the year 1300, per
haps suggested by the ancient Roman
abacus which it resembles quite closely,
perhaps by some form of instrument
in Central Asia, and perhaps invented
by the Chinese themselves. The re
semblance to the Roman form, and
the known intercourse with the West,
both favor the first of these hypo
theses.
Just as the Japanese received the
sangi from China, perhaps by way of
Korea, so they received the abacus
from the same source. They call their
nstrument by the name soroban, which
some have thought to be a corruption
of the Chinese swanpan, T and others
to have been derived from the word
soroiban, meaning an orderly arranged
table. 2
The soroban is an improvement upon
the swanpan, as will be seen by the illustration. Instead of
1 KNOTT, loc. cit., p. 45.
2 OYAMADA, Matsunoya Hikki.
?2 III. The Development of the Soroban.
having two 5balls it has only one, and it replaces the balls
by buttons having a sharp edge that the finger easily engages
without slipping. In the illustration (Fig. n) the number 90278
is represented in the center of the soroban.
The invention of the soroban, or rather the importation and
the improvement of the swanpan, is usually assigned to the
close of the sixteenth century, although we shall show that
this is probably too late a date. In the Sampo Tamatebako,
by Fukuda Riken, published in 1879, an account is given of
the journey of one Mori Kambei Shigeyoshi, a scholar of the
sixteenth century, to China. Mori was in his early days in
the service of Lord Ikeda Terumasa, and was afterwards a
retainer of the great hero Toyotomi Hideyoshi, better known
as Taiko, who in the turbulent days of the close of the Ashi
kaga Shogunate 1 subdued the entire country, compelling peace
by force of arms. The story goes that Taiko, wishing to
make his court a center of learning, sent Mori to China to
acquire the mathematical knowledge that was wholly wanting
in Japan at that period. Mori, however, was a man of humble
station, and his requests on behalf of his master were treated
with such contempt that he returned to his native land with
little to show for his efforts. Upon relating his trials and
humiliation to Taiko, the latter bestowed upon him the title of
Dewa no Kami, or Lord of Dewa. Again Mori set out for
China, but again he was destined to meet with some dissap
pointment, for hardly had he set foot on Chinese soil than
Taiko began his invasion of Korea. China at once became
involved in the defence of what was practically a vassal state,
and as the war progressed it became more and more a matter
of danger for a Japanese to reside within her borders. Mori
was not received with the favor that he had hoped for, and
in due time returned to his native land. Although he had spent
some time abroad, he had not accomplished his entire purpose.
Nevertheless he brought back with him a considerable knowledge
1 This just preceded the Tokugawa shognnate, which lasted from 1603
to 1868.
III. The Development of the Soroban. 33
of Chinese mathematics, and also the swan pan, which was
forthwith developed into the present soroban. If the story is
true, Mori must have spent some years in China, for Taiko
began his invasion in 1592 and died in 1598, and he was
already dead when Mori returned. Mori repaired to the Castle
of Osaka which Taiko had built and where he had lived, and
there he was hospitably received by the son and successor
of the great warrior. There he lived and wrote until the
city was besieged in 1615, and the castle taken by Japan's
greatest hero, Tokugawa lyeyasu, founder of the Tokugawa
shogunate, whose tomb at Nikko is a Mecca for all tourists
to that delightful region. We are told by Araki, 1 who lived
at the beginning of the eighteenth century, that Mori thence
forth taught the soroban arithmetic in Kyoto.
Although this story of Mori's visit to China and of his intro
duction of the soroban is a recent one, it has been credited
by some of the best writers in Japan. 2 Nevertheless there is
a good deal of uncertainty about his journey,3 and still more
about his having been the one to introduce the soroban into
Japan. Fukuda Riken who, as we have said, first published
the story in 1879, gives no sources for his information. He
received his information largely from his friend C. Kawakita,
who tells the writers that it was Uchida Gokan who started
the story of Mori's first Chinese journey, claiming that he had
read it once upon a time in a certain old manuscript that
was in the library of Yushima, in Yedo. Unfortunately on
the dissolution of the shogunate, at the time of the rise of
1 In the Araki Sonyei Chadan, or Stories told by Araki (Hikoshiro) Son
yei (16401718).
2 ENDO, Book I, p. 45 46, 5456; HAYASHI, History, p. 30, and his bio
graphical sketch of Seki Kowa in the Honcho Siigaku Koenshii (Lectures on
the Mathematics of Japan), 1908, pp. 8 to.
3 For example, ALFRED WESTPHAL claims that it was Korea rather than
China that Mori visited. See his Beitrag zur Geschichte der Mathematik, in
the Mittheilungen der deutschen Gesellschaft fur Natur iind Volkerkunde Osl
asiens in Tokyo, IX. Heft, 1876. The Chinese journey is looked upon as fic
tion by the learned C. Kawakita, who has studied very carefully the bio
graphies of the Japanese mathematicians.
3
34 HI. The Development of the Soroban.
the modern Empire, the books of this library were dispersed
and the manuscript in question seems to have been irretrievably
lost. That Uchida claims to have seen it we have been per
sonally informed both by Mr. Kawakita and by Mr. N. Oka
moto, to whom he told the circumstance. Nevertheless as
historical evidence all this is practically worthless. Uchida was
a learned man, but his reputation was not above reproach.
He never told the story until the manuscript had disappeared,
and no one has the slightest idea of the age, the character,
or the reliability of the document. Moreover the older writers
make no mention of this Chinese journey, as witness the Araki
Sonyei Chadan which was written only a century after Mori
lived and which gives a sketch of his life and a brief state
ment concerning the early Japanese mathematics. In Murai's
Sampo Doshimon, * written nearly a century later still, no men
tion is made of the matter. Indeed, it is not until after the
story was started by Uchida that we ever hear of it. 2
But whether or not Mori went to China, he did much for
mathematics and he was an expert in the manipulation of
the soroban. He was also possessed of a wellknown Chinese
treatise on the swanpan, written by Ch'eng Taiwei 3 and
published in I593, 4 a work that greatly influenced Japanese
mathematics even long after Mori's death. Mori himself publish
ed a work on arithmetic in two books entitled Kijo Ranjd 5 ,
and he left a manuscript on mathematics written in 1628. 6
Both have been lost, however, and of the contents of neither
1 Book I, chapter on the Origin of Arithmetic, published in 1781.
* The oldest manuscript that we have found that speaks of it is SHIRAISHI'S
Siika JimmeiShi, but since the author was a contemporary of Uchida he
probably simply related the latter's story.
3 Erroneously given in ENDO as Ju Szupu. Book I, p. 45.
4 The Suanfa Tungtsong.
5 The Kijoho method of division on the soroban, described later. See
MURAI, Sampo Doshimon, 1781, Book I; and ENDO, Book I, p. 45.
6 This fact is recorded in an anonymous manuscript entitled Sanwa Zni
hitsu, which relates that the original manuscript, signed and sealed by Mori
himself, was in the possession of a mathematician named Kubodera early in
the nineteenth century.
III. The Development of the Soroban. 35
have we any knowledge. Mori seems to have made a livelihood
after the fall of Osaka by teaching arithmetic in Kyoto, where
hundreds of pupils flocked to learn of him and study with the
man who proclaimed himself "The first instructor in division
in the world." He is said to have spent his last years at Yedo,
the modern Tokyo. Three of his pupils, 1 Yoshida Koyu, Ima
mura Chisho, and Takahara Kisshu, known to their contempo
raries as "The three Arithmeticians," 2 did much to revive the
study of the science in what we have designated as the third
period of Japanese mathematics, and of them we shall speak
more at length in a later chapter.
There are various reasons for believing that the swanpan
was not first brought to Japan by Mori. In the first place,
such simple devices of the merchant class usually find their
way through the needs of trade rather than through the efforts
of the scholar. It was so with the Hindu Arabic numerals in
the West, 3 and it was probably so with the swan pan in the
East. There is a tradition that another Mori, 4 Mori Misaburo,
an inhabitant of Yamada in the province of Ise, owned a swan
pan in the Bunan Era, i. e., in 14441449. This instrument
is still preserved and is now in the possession of the Kita
batake family, s It is also related that the great general and
statesman Hosokawa Yusai, in the time of Taiko, owned a
small ivory soroban, but of course this may have come from
his contemporary Mori Kambei. It is, however, reasonable to
believe that, with the prosperous intercourse between China
and Japan during the Ashikaga Shogunate, from the fourteenth to
the end of the sixteenth centuries the swanpan could not have
failed to become known to the Japanese merchants, even if it
was not extensively used by them. On the other hand, Mori
Kambei was the first great teacher of the art of manipulating it,
1 See ENDO, Book I, p. 55, and the Araki Sonyei Chadan.
2 Also as the Sanshi, or "three honorable scholars."
3 See SMITH and KARPINSKI, be. df. t p. 114.
4 Not Mori, however.
5 It was exhibited not long ago in Tokyo. We are indebted for this in
formation to Mr. N. OKAMOTO.
3*
III. The Development of the Soroban.
so that much credit is due to him for its general adoption. We
may, therefore, fix upon about the year 1600 as the beginning
of the use of the soroban, and the
century from 1600 to 1700 as the
period in which it replaced the ancient
bamboo rods.
It is proper in this connection to
give a brief description of the soroban
and of the method of operating with
it, particularly with a view to the needs
of the Western reader. As already
stated, the value of the ball above
the beam is five, one being the value
of each ball below the beam. In
Fig. 12 the righthand column has
been used to represent units, the next
one tens, and so on. In the picture
these columns have been numbered
by arranging the balls so that the
units are I, the tens 2, the hundreds
3, and so on. As a result, the number
represented isr98765432i. 1
To add two numbers we have only
to set down the first as in the illu
stration and then set down the second
upon it. Thus to add 2 and 2, we
put 2 balls at the top of the colunn
and then 2 more, making 4. To add
2 and 3, we put 2 balls at the top,
and then add 3 ; but since this makes
5 we push back the 5 balls and move
down the one above the beam. To
add 4 and 3, we take 4 balls; then
we add the 3 by first adding r, moving
down the one above the beam to replace the 5, and then
1 The best description of this instrument, in English, is that given by
KNOTT, he. dt., p. 45.
III. The Development of the Soroban. 37
adding 2 more, leaving the fiveball and 2 unit balls. To add 7
and 6, we set down the 7 by moving the fiveball and 2 unit
balls; we then move 3 more balls, which give us 10, and we
indicate this by moving i ball in tens' column, clearing the
units' column at the same time, and then we add 3 more,
making i ten and 3 units. It will be seen that as fast as
any number is set down it is thereby added to the preceding
sum, thus making the work very rapid in the hands of a skilled
operator. Subtraction is evidently performed with equal ease.
For multiplying readily on the soroban it is necessary to
learn the multiplication table. In this table the Japanese have
two points of advantage over the Western peoples: (i) they
do not use the words "times" or "equals", thus saving con
siderably in time and energy whenever they employ it; (2) they
learn their products only one way, as 6 7's but not 7 6's. Thus
their table for 6 is as follows : z
Japanese names In our figures
ichi roku roku 2 166
ni roku ju ni 2 6 12
san roku 3 ju hachi 3 6 18
shi roku ni ju shi 4 6 24
go roku san ju 5 6 30
roku roku san ju roku 6 6 36
roku shichi shi ju ni 67 42
roku hachi* shi ju hachi 6 8 48
roku kus go ju shi 6 9 54
This table reminds us of the one in common use by the
Italian merchants from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century,
and which was probably quite universal in the mercantile houses.
For purposes of historic interest we take to illustrate the
process of multiplication an example from the Jinkoki of
1 KNOTT, loc. at., p. 50.
2 This is usually stated as "in roku ga roku" the ithi being corrupted to in
and the ga inserted for euphony.
3 Corrupted to sabu roku.
4 The hachi is abbreviated to ha in this case, for euphony.
5 Roku ku may here be abbreviated to rokku.
154988
38 III. The Development of the Soroban.
Yoshida, published in 1627, and described more fully in
Chapter V. To multiply 625 by 16 the multiplier is placed
to the left of the multiplicand on the soroban, a plan that is
exactly opposite to the Chinese arrangement as set forth in the
Suanfa Tungtsong of 1593. It represents one of the im
Fig. 13. 16 625.
provements of Mori or of Yoshida, and has always been
followed in Japan.
We first take the partial product 5 x 6 = 30, and place the
30 just to the right of the 625, 1 so that the soroban reads
16 62530
Fig. 14. 16 62530.
We now take 5x1 = 5, and add this 5 to the 3, making
the product 80 thus far. The 5 of the 625 now having been
1 In general, the units' figure of this product is placed as many columns
to the right as there are figures in the multiplier.
III. The Development of the Soroban. 39
multiplied by 16, it is removed, so that the figures stand as
follows: 16 62080
Fig. 15. 16 62080.
The next step is the multiplication of 2 by 16, and this is
done precisely as the 5 was multiplied. Expressed in figures
the operation on the soroban is as follows:
1 6 62080
2x6= 12
2x1= 2^
Cancel 2 16 60400
the 2 in 62080 being removed because the multiplication of
2 by 1 6 has been effected.
Fig. 1 6. 1 6 60400.
The next step is the multiplication of 6 by 16, and the work
appears on the soroban as follows:
1 6 60400
6x6= 36
1x6= 6
16 loooo
40 III. The Development of the Soroban.
The result is therefore 10000.
Fig. 17. 16 i oooo.
The process of division is much more complicated, and re
quires the perfect memorizing of a table technically known as
the Ku ki ho, or "Nine Returning Method." It is given here
only for 2, 6, and 7.*
Ni ichi ten saku no go 21 replace by 5
Nitchin in ju 2 22 gives I ten
Ni shi shin ga ni ju 2 4 gives 2 tens
Ni roku shin ga san ju 26 gives 3 tens
Ni hachi shin ga shi ju 2 8 gives 4 tens
Table for 6.
Roku ichi kakka no shi 6 i 14
Roku ni san ju no ni 62 32
Roku san ten saku no go 6 3 50
Roku shi roku ju no shi 64 64
Roku go hachi ju no ni 65 82
Roku chin in ju 6 6 gives i ten
Table for 7.
Shichi ichi kakka no san 7 i 13
Shichi ni kakka no roku 7 2 26
Shichi san shi ju no ni 73 42
Shichi shi go ju no go 7 4 55
Shichi go shichi ju no ichi 7 5 71
Shichi roku hachi ju no shi 7 6 84
Shichi chin in ju 7 7 gives I ten
1 KNOTT, loc. tit., as corrected by Mr. MIKAMI.
2 This and some others are given in the usual abridged form.
III. The Development of the Soroban. 41
The table is not so unintelligible as it seems to a stranger,
and in fact its use has certain advantages over Western me
thods. In the first place it is not encumbered with such words
as "divided by" or "contained in," and in the second place it
is not carried beyond the point where the dividend number as
expressed in the table equals the divisor. It is in fact merely
a table of quotients and remainders. Consider, for example,
the table for 7. This states that
10:7= I, and 3 remainder
20 : 7 = 2, and 6 remainder
30 : 7 = 4, and 2 remainder
40 : 7 = 5, and 5 remainder
50 : 7 = 7, and I remainder
60 : 7 = 8, and 4 remainder
70 : 7 = 10
Taking again an example from the classical work of Yoshida,
let us divide 1234 by 8. These numbers will be represented
on the soroban in the usual way, and placed as follows:
8 1234
The table now gives "8 I 12", meaning that IO:8 I, with
a remainder 2. We therefore leave the I untouched and add
2 to the next figure, the numbers then appearing as follows:
8 1434
where the i represents the first figure in the quotient, and 434
represents the next dividend.
The table now tells us "8 4 50", meaning that 40 : 8 = 5,
with no remainder. We therefore remove the first 4 and put
5 in its place, the soroban now indicating
8 1534
where 15 represents the first two figures in the quotient, and
34 represents the next dividend.
The table now tells us "83 36", meaning that 30 : 8 = 3,
with a remainder 6. This means that the next figure of the
quotient is 3, and that we have 6 + 4 still to divide. The soroban
is therefore arranged to indicate
8 153 (10)
42 III. The Development of the Soroban.
But 10 : 8 = I, with a remainder 2, so the soroban is arranged
to indicate 8 1542
meaning that the quotient is 1 54 and the remainder is 2. We
may now consider the result is 154 1/4, or we may continue
the process and obtain a decimal fraction.
If the divisor has two or more figures it is convenient to
have the following table in addition to the one already given:
i with i, make it 91
2
2,
,, 9 2
3
3,
93
4
4,
94
5
5, ,,
95
6 ,
6,
, 96
7
7>
97
8
8,
98
9
9,
99
This means that 10 : I =9 and I remainder, 20 : 2 = 9 and
2 remainder, and so on.
We shall sketch briefly the process of dividing 289899 by
486 as given by Yoshida. Arrange the soroban to indicate
486 289899.
The table gives "4 2 50", so we change the 2 to 5 and
arrange the soroban to indicate the following:
486 589899
5x8= 40
5x6= 30_
486 546899
Here 5 is the first figure of the quotient and 46899 is the
remainder to be divided. Looking now at the last table we
find "4 4 94", so we change the 4 to 9 and add 4 to the
following digit. The soroban is arranged to indicate the following:
486 546899
Then 486 596899
Add 4 4
Then 9x8= 72
9x6= 54
Subtract 72 and 54 486 593159
III. The Development of the Soroban.
43
Here 59 is the first part of the quotient and 3159 is the
remainder to be divided.
Proceeding in the same way, the next figure in the quotient
is 6, and the soroban indicates
486 596759
486 596243
486 5965
and the quotient is 596.5.
Fig. 1 8. From the work of Fujiwara Norikaze, 1825.
This method of division is that given in the Jinkoki, but in
1645 another plan was suggested by a wellknown teacher,
Momokawa Chubei. x This was the Slid j oho, or method of di
vision by the aid of the ordinary multiplication table, as in
wiitten arithmetic. Momokawa sets it forth in a work entitled
1 ENDO gives his personal name as Jihei, but this is open to doubt.
44
III. The Development of the Soroban.
Kameizan (1645), and thenceforth the method itself bore this
name. This plan, like the Jinkoki, is fundamentally a Chinese
IftfliflHUsUlJ
^^^ >N.^C A ^  >X ^ >X ^ >Xg7J^
? ^
^^L
Fig. 19. From an anonymous Kwaisanki of the seventeenth century.
method, as it appears in the Suan fa T'ungtsong of 1593, but
it has never been so popular in Japan as the one given by
Yoshida in the Jinkoki.
III. The Development of the Soroban.
45
It is hardly worth while to consider the method of extracting
roots by the help of the soroban, since the general theory does
not differ from the one used in the West, and the subsidiary
operations have been sufficiently explained.
Although the soroban began to replace the bamboo rods
soon after 1600, it took more than a century for the latter to
disappear as means for computation, and, as we shall see, they
continued to be used for about two hundred years longer in
connection with algebraic work. In Isomura Kittoku's Sampo
Ketsugisho of 1660 (second edition 1684), and Sawaguchi's
Kokon Sampoki of 1670, for example, we find both the rods
Fig. 20. From Miyake Kenryu's work of 1795
and the soroban explained, and in another work of 1693 only
the rods are given. The Tengen Shinan, by Sato Shigeharu,
printed in 1698, also gives only the rods, as does the Kwatsuyo
Sampo (Method of Mathematics) which Araki Hikoshiro Son
yei, being old, caused his pupil Otaka Yoshimasa to prepare
in 1709.* In Murata Tsushin's Wakan Sampo, published in
1743, both systems are used, and in a primary arithmetic
printed in 1781 only the rods are employed, so that we see
that it was a long time before the soroban completely replaced
the more ancient method of computation. In general we may
say that all algebras used the sangi in connection with the
"celestial element" method of solving equations, explained in
the next chapter, while little by little the soroban replaced them
1 It was printed in 1712.
46 III. The Development of the Soroban.
for arithmetical work. The pictures of children learning to use
the soroban are often interesting, as in the one from the arith
metic of Fujiwara Norikaze, of 1825 (Fig. 18). The early
pictures of the use of the instrument in mercantile affairs are
also curious, as in Fig. 19, taken from an anonymous work of
the seventeenth century. An illustration of a pupil learning
the use of the soroban, from Miyake Kenryu's work of 1795*
is shown in Fig. 20.
1 The first edition was 1716.
CHAPTER IV.
The Sangi applied to Algebra.
As stated in the preceding chapter, it seems necessary to
break the continuity of the historical narative by speaking of
the introduction of the soroban and the sangi, since these
mechanical devices must be known, at least in a general way,
before the contributions of the later writers can be understood.
As already explained, the chiknsaku or "bamboo rods" had
been brought over from China at any rate as early as 600 A. D.,
and for a thousand years had held sway in the domain of
calculation. They had formed one of the inheritances of the
people, and the fact that they are still used in Korea shows
how strong their hold would naturally have been with a patriotic
race like the Japanese. We have much the same experience
in the Western World in connection with the metric system
today. No one doubts for a moment that this system will in
due time be commonly used in England and America, the race
for world commerce deciding the issue even if the merits of
the system should fail to do so. Nevertheless such a change
comes only by degrees in democratic lands, and while our
complicated system of compound numbers is rapidly giving
way, the metric system is not so rapidly replacing it.
So it was in Japan in the i/th century. The samurai despised
the plebeian soroban, and the guild of learning sympathized with
this attitude of mind. The result was that while the soroban
replaced the rods for business purposes, the latter maintained
their supremacy in the calculations of higher mathematics.
There was a further reason for this attitude of mind in the fact
that the rods were already in use in the solution of the equation,
48 IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra.
having been well known for this purpose ever since Ch'in Chiu
shao(i247), Li Yeh (1248 and 1257), and Chu Chichieh (1299)**
had described them in their works.
As stated in Chapter III, the early bamboo rods tended to
roll off the table or out of the group in which they were
placed. On this account the Koreans use a trian'guloid prism
as shown in the illustration on page 22, and the Japanese in
due time resorted to square prisms about 7 mm. thick and
5 cm. long. These pieces had the name sanc/m, or, more
commonly, sangi, and part of each set was colored red and
part black, the former representing positive mumbers and the
latter negative. A set of these pieces, now a rarity even in
Japan, is shown on page 23.
This distinction between positive and negative is very old.
In Chinese, cheng was the positive and fu the negative, and
the same ideographs are employed in Japan today, only one of
the terms having changed, sei being used for cheng. These
Chinese terms are found in the Chiuchang Suanshu as revised
by Chang T'sang in the 2nd century B. C, 2 and hence are
probably much more ancient even than the latter date. The
use of the red and black for positive and negative is found in
Liu Hui's commentary on the Chiuchang, written in 263 A. D., 3
but there is no reason for believing that it originated with him.
It is probably one of the early mathematical inheritances of
the Chinese the origin of which will never be known. As
applied to the solution of the equation, however, we have no
description of their use before the work of Ch'in Chiushao in
1247. In the treatises of Li Yeh and Chu Chichieh 4 there is
given a method known as the fienyuenshu, or tengen jutsu
1 Chu Shichieh, or Choo Shiki. Takebe's commentary (1690) upon his
work of 1299 is mentioned in Chapter VII. He also wrote in 1303 a work
entitled Szeyuen yuhkien, "Precious mirror of the four elements," but this is
not known to have reached Japan.
2 See No. 8 of the list described in Chap. II, p. II.
3 See p. ii.
4 His work was known as Suanhsiao Chimeng, or Sivanhsiichchimong.
It was lost to the Chinese for a long time, but Lo Shihlin discovered a
Korean edition of 1660 and reprinted it in 1839.
IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra. 49
as it has come into the Japanese, a term meaning "The method
of the celestial element."
These three writers appeared in widely separated parts of
China, under the contending monarchies of Song and Yuan,
at practically the same time, in the I3th century. 1 The first,
Ch'in Chiushao, 2 introduced the Monad as the symbol for the
unknown quantity, and solved certain equations of the 6th,
7th, 8th, and even higher degrees. The ancient favorite of
the West, the problem of the couriers, is among his exercises.
He states that he was from a province at that time held by
the Yuan people (the Mongols).
The second of this trio, Li Yeh, 3 wrote "The mirror of the
mensuration of circles" in which algebra is applied to trigono
metry.* The third of the group is Chu Chichieh, to whose
work we have just referred. That other writers of prominence
had treated of algebra before this time is evident from a pas
sage in the preface of Chu Chichieh's work. In this he refers
to Chiang Chou Li Wend, Shih HsingDao, and Liu JuHsieh
as having written on equations with one unknown quantity; to
Li Te Tsi, who used equations with two unknowns, and to Liu
Ta Chien, who used three unknowns. Chu Chichieh 5 seems to
have been the first Chinese writer to treat of systems of linear
equations with four unknowns, after the old "Nine Sections."
1 WYLIE, A., Chinese Researches, Shanghai, 1897, Part III, p. 175; MIKAMI, Y.,
A Remark on the Chinese Mathematics in Cantor's Geschichte der Mathematik t
Archiv der Math, und Physik, vol. XV (3), Heft I.
2 Tsin Kiutschau, Tsin Kew Chaou. His work, entitled Sushu Chiu
chang, or Shu hsiieh Chi^t Chang, appeared in 1247. He also wrote the Shu
shu ta Lueh (General rules on arithmetic).
3 Or Liyay. Li was the family name, and Yeh or Yay the personal
name, this being the common order. He is also known by his familiar
name, Jinking, and also as Li Ching Chai.
4 His two works are entitled T'seyitan Haiching (1248) and Iku Yentuan
(1257). The dates are a little uncertain, since Li Yeh states in the preface
that the second work was printed II years after the first. Tseyiian means
"to measure the circle'', and Haiching means "mirror of sea".
5 For a translation of his work I am indebted to Professor Chen of Peking
University. D. E. S.
4
5O IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra.
In order that we may have a better understanding of the
basis upon which Japanese algebra was built, a few words are
necessary upon the state to which the Chinese had brought the
science by this period. While algebra had been known before
the 1 3th century, it took a great step forward through the
labors of the three men whose names have been mentioned.
They called their method by various names, but the one al
ready given, and Lihtienyiienyih, "The setting up of the Ce
lestial Monad", are the ones commonly used.
In general in this new algebra, unity represents the unknown
quantity, and the successive powers are indicated by the place,
the sangi being used for the coefficients, thus:
=
!==_ + isx*
TX 7T + 66x
Li Yeh puts the absolute term on the bottom line as here
shown, in his work of 1248. In his work of 1259 and in the
works of Ch'in and Chu it is placed at the top. The symbol
after 66 was called yilen and indicated the monad, while the
one after 360 was called tai, a shortened form of taikieJi, "the
extreme limit". In practice they were commonly omitted. The
circle is the zero in 360, and the cancellation mark indicates
that the number is negative, a feature introduced by Li Yeh.
With the sangi, red rods would be used for i, 15, and 66, and
black ones for 360. It will be noticed that this symbolism is
in advance of anything that was being used in Europe at this
time, and that it has some slight resemblance to that used by
Bhaskara, in India, in the I2th century.
Ch'in Chiushao (1247) gives a method of approximating the
roots of numerical higher equations which he speaks of as the
Linghmgkaefang, "Harmoniously alternating evolution", a plan
in which, by the manipulation of the sangi, he finds the root
IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra. 51
by what is substantially the method rediscovered by Homer,
in England, in 1819. Another writer of the same period,
Yang Hwuy, in his analysis of the Chiuchang* gives the
same rule under the name of Tsangchingfang, "Accumu
lating involution", but he does not illustrate it by solved
problems. We are therefore compelled to admit that Horner's
method is a Chinese product of the I3th century, and we
shall see that the Japanese adopted it in what we have called
the third period of their mathematical history.
It is also interesting to know that Chu Chichieh in the Sze
yiien Yukien (1303) gives as an "ancient method" the relation
of the binomial coefficients known in Europe as the "Pascal
triangle", 2 and that among his names for the various monads
(unknowns) is the equivalent for thing.* This is the same as
the Latin res and the Italian cosa, both of which had un
doubtedly come from the East. It is one of the many interest
ing problems in the history of mathematics to trace the origin v
of this term. *
Chu Chichieh writes the equivalent of a + b + c I
+ x as is here shown, except that we use T for i T I
the symbol tai, and the modern numerals instead I
of the sangi forms. The square of this expression he writes
thus:
I
2 O 2
2
i o T o i
2
2 O 2
I
a method that is quickly learned and easily employed.
* See p. ir.
2 This was also known in Europe long before Pascal. See SMITH, D. E.,
Kara Arithmetica, Boston, 1909, p. 156.
3 He uses the names heaven, earth, man, thing, although the first three
usually designated known quantities.
4 The resemblance to the Egyptian ahe, mass (or hait, heap), of the
Ahmes papyrus, c. 1700 B. C, will possibly occur to the reader.
4*
52 IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra.
The "celestial element" process as given by Chu Chichieh
in 1299 found its way into Japan at least as early as the
middle of the i/th century, and the SuanJisiao Chimeng was
reprinted there no less than three times. 1 The single rule laid
down in this classical work for the use of the sangi in the
solution of numerical equations contains but little positive infor
mation. Retaining the Japanese terms, and translating quite
literally, we may state it as follows:
"Arrange the seki in the jitsu class, adjusting the ho, ren,
and gu classes. Then add the likesigned and subtract the
unlikesigned, and evolve the root."
This reminds one of the cryptic rules of the Middle Ages
and early Renaissance in Europe, but unlike some of these it
is at least not an anagram to which there is no key. The
seki is the quantity in a problem that must be expressed in
the absolute term before solving, and which is represented by
the sangi in next to the top row, the jitsu class. The coeffi
cients of the first, second, and third powers of the unknown
are then represented by the sangi in the successive rows below,
in the ho, ren, and gu classes. The rest of the rule amounts
to saying that the pupil should proceed as he has been taught.
The method is best understood by actually solving a numerical
higher equation, but inasmuch as the manipulation of the sangi
has already been explained in the preceding chapter, the coeffi
cients will now be represented by modern numerals. The
problem which we shall use is taken from the eighth book of
the Tengen Shinan of Sato Moshun or Shigeharu, published in
1698, and only the general directions will be given, as was the
custom. The reader may compare the work with the common
Horner method in which the reasoning involved is more clear.
Let it be required to solve the equation
II 520 432* 236^ + 4*3 + #4 =
1 For the first time in 1658. Dowun, a Buddhist priest, with the possible
nom de plume of Baisho, mentions one Hisada (or Kuda) Gentetsu (probably
also a priest) as the editor. It was also printed in 1672 by Hoshino Jitsusen,
and some time later by Takebe KenkO.
IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra. 53
Arrange the sangi on the board to indicate the following:
(r)
(o)
(O
(2)
(3)
(4)
i
i
5
2
4
3
2
2
3
6
4
i
Here the top line, marked (r), is reserved for the root, and
the lines marked (o), (i), (2), (3), (4) are filled with the sangi
representing the coefficients of the oth, 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th
powers of the unknown quantity. With the sangi, the negative
432 and 236 would be in black, while the positive 1 1 520, 4,
and i would be in red.
First advance the ist, 2d, 3d, and 4th degree classes i, 2,
3, 4 places respectively, thus:
(r)
(o)
(O
(2)
(3)
(4)
I
I
5
2
O
4
3
2
2
3
6
4
I
The root will have two figures and the tens' figure is i.
Multiply this 10 by the i of class (4) and add it to class (3),
thus making 14 in class (3). Multiply this 14 by the root, 10,
and add it to 236 of class (2), thus making 96 in class (2).
Multiply this 96 by the root, 10, and add it to 432 of class
54
IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra.
(i), thus making 1392 in class (i). Multiply this 1392 by
the root, 10, and add it to 11520 of class (o), thus making
2400. The result then appears as follows:
(r)
(o)
(I)
(2)
(3)
(4)
i
2
4
o
O
 I
3
9
2
9
6
I
4
I
Now repeat the process, multiplying the root, 10, into class (4)
and adding to class (3), making 24; multiply 24 by the root
and add to class (2), making 144; multiply 144 by the root
and add to class (i), making 48. The result then appears as
follows:
(r)
(o)
(i)
(2)
(3)
(4)
I
2
4
o
4
8
I
4
4
2
4
I
Repeat the process, multiplying the root, 10, into class (4)
and adding to class (3), making 34; multiply 34 by the root
and add to class (2) making 484.
Again repeat the process, multiplying the root into class (4)
and adding to class (3), making 44.
Now move the sangi representing the coefficients of classes
IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra.
55
(0, ( 2 X (3)> (4), to the right I, 2, 3, 4, places, respectively, and
we have:
(r)
(o)
(i)
(2)
(3)
(4)
i
2
4
o
4
8
4
8
4
4
4
i
The second figure of the root is 2. * Multiply this into class
(4) and add to class (3), making 46. Multiply the same root
figure, 2, into this class (3) and add to class (2), making 576.
Multiply this 576 by 2 and add to class (I), making 1200.
Multiply this 1200 by 2 and add to class (o), making o. The
work now appears as follows:
(r)
(o)
(i)
(2)
(3)
(4)
i
2
i
2
5
7
6
4
6
i
The root therefore is 12.
It may now be helpful to give a synoptic arrangement of
the entire process in order that this Chinese method of the
1 3th century, practiced in Japan in the I7th century, may be
1 It is not stated how either figure is ascertained.
56 IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra.
compared with Horner's method. The work as described is
substantially as follows:
Given x* + 4** 2^6x 2 432^ + 1 1 520 = o
i+ 4 236 432+11520
10 140 960 13920
I
14
IO
96
24O
1392
1440
24OO
I
24
IO
144
340
4 8
24OO
2400
I
34
10
484
4 8
1152
I
44
2
484
92
I20O
I 46 576
Chu Chichieh also gives, in the Suanhsiao Chiineng^ rules
for the treatment of negative numbers. The following transla
tions are as literal as the circumstances allow:
"When the samenamed diminish each other, the different
named should be added together. 1 If then there is no opponent
for a positive term, make it negative; and for a negative, make
it positive." 2
"When the differentnamed diminish each other the same
named should be added together. If then there is no opponent
for a positive, make it positive; and for a negative, make it
negative." 3
"When the samenamed are multiplied together, the product
is made positive. When the differentnamed are multiplied
together, the product is made negative."
The method of the "celestial element", with the sangi, and
with the rules just stated, entered into the Japanese mathe
1 This is intended to mean that when (+ 4) (+ 3)= + (4 3\ then
(+ 4)  ( 3) should be + 4 + 3
2 That is, o (f 4) = 4, and o ( 4) = f 4.
3 When (+ p)  ( q) = + p + q, then ( p)  (f q) =  (p + q> Also,
= + 4 and o+( 4)= 4.
IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra.
57
matics of the iyth century, to be described in the following
chapter. They were purely Chinese in origin, but Japan ad
vanced the method, carrying it to a high degree of perfection
at the time when China was abandoning her native mathe
matics under the influence of the Jesuits. It is, therefore, in
Japan rather than China that we must look in the iyth cen
tury for the strictly oriental development of calculation, of al
gebra, and of geometry.
Among the other writers of the period several treated of
magic squares. Among these was Hoshino Sanenobu, whose
Koko'gen Sho (Triangular Extract) appeared in 1673. Half of
one of his magic squares in shown in the following facsimile :
t
f
A
W
It
if
f
S
w
1"
1L
ft
ft
it
.
I
It
f
f
ea
A
71
I A
5
Fig. 21. Half of a magic square, from Hoshino Sanenobu's work of 1673.
One who is not of the Japanese race cannot refrain from mar
velling at the ingenuity of many of these problems proposed
during the i/th century, and at the painstaking efforts put
forth in their solution. He is reminded of the intricate ivory
58 IV. The Sangi applied to Algebra.
carvings of these ingenious and patient people, of the curious
puzzles with which they delight the world, and of the finish
which characterizes their artistic productions. Few of these
problems could be mistaken for western productions, and the
solutions, so far as they are given, are like the art and the
literature of the people, indigenous to the soil of Japan.
CHAPTER V.
The Third Period.
It was stated in the opening chapter that the third of the
periods into which we arbitrarily divide the history of Japanese
mathematics was less than a century in duration, extending
from about 1600 to about 1675. The first of these dates is
selected as marking approximately the beginning of the activity
of Mori Kambei Shigeyoshi, who was mentioned in Chapter III,
and the last as marking that of Seki. It was an era of
intellectual awakening in Japan, of the welcoming of Chinese
ideas, and of the encouragement of native effort. Of the work
of Mori we have already spoken, because he had so much to
do with making known, and possibly improving, the soroban.
It now remains to speak of his pupils, and first of Yoshida.
Yoshida Shichibei Koyu, or Mitsuyoshi, was born at Saga,
near Kyoto, in 1 598, as we are told in Kawakita's manuscript,
the Honchd Siigakii Sliiryo. He belonged to an ancient family
that had contributed not a few illustrious names to the history
of the country. Yoshida Sokei, for example, who died in 1572,
was well known in medicine, and had twice made a journey to
China in search of information, once with a Buddhist bonze 1
in 1539, and again in 1547. His son Koko, (1554 1616), was
a noted engineer, and is known for his work in improving
navigation on the Fujikawa and other rivers that had been
too dangerous for the passage of boats. Koko's son Soan
was, like his father, well known for his learning and for his
engineering skill. 2 Yoshida Koyu, the mathematician, was a
* Priest. The name is a Portuguese corruption of a Japanese term.
2 See the Sentetsu Sodan Zokuhen, 1884, Book I.
6O V. The Third Period.
grandson, on his mother's side, of Yoshida Koko. 1 He was
also related in another way to the Yoshida family, being the
eldest son of Yoshida Shuan, who was the greatgrandson of
Sokei's father, Sochu.
Yoshida, as we shall now call him, early manifested a taste
for mathematics, going as a youth to Kyoto that he might
study under the renowned Mori. His ignorance of Chinese was
a serious handicap, however, and his progress was a disap
pointment. He thereupon set to work to learn the language,
studying under the guidance of his relative Yoshida Soan, and
in due time became so proficient that he was able to read the
Suanfa Tungtsong of Ch'eng Taiwei. 2 His progress in
mathematics then became so rapid that it is related 3 that he
soon distanced his master, so that Mori himself was glad to
become his pupil. Yoshida also continued to excel in Chinese,
so that, whereas Mori knew the language only indifferently,
his quondam pupil became master of the entire mathematical
literature.
Mori's works were the earliest native Japanese books on
mathematics of which we have any record, but they seem to
be irretrievably lost. It is therefore to Yoshida that we look
as the author of the oldest Japanese work on mathematics
extant. This work was written in 1627 and is entitled Jinko
ki. The name is interesting, the Chinese ideogram jin meaning
(among other things) a small number, ko meaning a large
number, and ki a treatise, so that the title signifies a treatise
on numbers from the greatest to the least. Yoshida tells us
in the preface that it was selected for him by one Genko, a
Buddhist priest, and it is typical of the condensed expressions
of the Japanese.
The work relates chiefly to the arithmetical operations as
performed on the soroban, including square and cube root, but
it also has some interesting applications and it gives 3.16 for
1 ENDO, Book I, p. 35.
2 Which had appeared in 1593. See p. 34.
3 By KAWAKITA in the Honcho Sugaku Shiryo.
V r . The Third Period. 6 1
the value of TT. It is based largely upon the Suanfa T'ung
tsong already described, and the preface states that it originally
consisted of eighteen books. Only three books have come
down to us, however, and indeed we are assured that only
three were ever printed. : This was the first treatise on mathe
matics ever printed in Japan, or at least the first of any im
portance. * It appeared in 16273 and was immediately received
with great enthusiasm. Even during Yoshida's life a number
of editions appeared, 4 and the name Jinkoki was used so
often after his death, by other authors, that it became a syno
nym for arithmetic, as algorismus did in Europe in the late
Middle Ages.s Indeed it is hardly too much to compare the
celebrity of the Jinkoki in Japan with that of the arithmetic
of Nicomachus in the late Greek civilization. Yoshida also
wrote on the calendar, but these works 6 were not so well
known.
So great was the fame of Yoshida that he was called to
the court of Hosokawa, the feudal lord of Higo, that he might
instruct his patron in the art of numbers Here he resided for
a time, and at his lord's death, in 1641, he returned to his
native place and gathered about him a large number of pupils,
even as Mori had done before him. In his declining years an
affection of the eyes, which had troubled him from his youth,
became more serious, and finally resulted in the affliction of
1 By the bonze GenkO who wrote the preface, and by Yoshida himself
at the end of the 1634 edition.
2 Mr. ENDO has shown the authors the copy of the edition of 1634 in
the library of the Tokyo" Academy and has assured us that the edition
of 1627 was the first Japanese mathematical work of any importance. There
is a tradition that MORI'S Kijo Ranjo was also printed.
3 That is, the 4th year of Kwanei.
4 As in 1634, 1641, and 1669, all edited by Yoshida. There were several
pirated editions. See MURAMATSU'S Sanso of 1663, Book III; ENDO, Book I,
PP 58, 59, 84 etc.
5 Compare the German expression "Nach Adam Riese", the English "Accord
ing to Cocker", the early American "According to Daboll", and the French
word Bareme.
6 For example, the IVakan Goun and the Koreki Benran.
62 V. The Third Period.
total blindness, the fate of Saunderson and of Euler as well.
He died in 1672 at the age of seventyfour. 1
The immediate effect of the work of Mori and Yoshida was
a great awakening of interest in computation and mensuration.
In 1630 the Shogun established the Kobunin, a public school
of arts and sciences. Unfortunately, however, mathematics
found no place in the curriculum, remaining in the hands of
private teachers, as in the days of the German Rechenmeister.
Nevertheless the science progressed in a vigorous manner and
numerous books were published upon the subject. Yoshida
had appended to one of the later editions of his Jinkoki a
number of problems with the proposal that his successors
solve them. These provoked a great deal of discussion and
interest, and led other writers to follow the same plan, thus
leading to the socalled idai skoto, 2 "mathematical problems
proposed for solution and solved in subsequent works". This
scheme was so popular that it continued until 1813, appearing
for the last time in the Sangaku Kochi of Ishiguro Shinyu.
The particular edition of Yoshida's Jinkoki in which these
problems appeared is not extant, but the problems are known
through their treatment by later writers, and some of them
will be given when we come to speak of the work of Isomura.
The second of Mori's "three honorable scholars" mentioned
in Chapter III was Imamura Chisho, and twelve years after the
appearance of the Jinkoki, that is in 1639, ne published a
treatise entitled, Jugairoku.* Yoshida's work had appeared
in Japanese, although it followed the Chinese style, but Ima
mura wrote in classical Chinese. Beginning with a treatment
of the soroban, he does not confine himself to arithmetic, as
Yoshida had done, but proceeds to apply his number work to
the calculations of areas and volumes, as in the case of the
1 C. KAWAKITA, Honcho Sugaku Shiryo; ENDO, Book I, p. 84.
2 A term used by later scholars.
3 Mr. Endo has shown the authors a copy of Ando's commentary in the
library of the Academy of Science at Tokyo, and Dr. K. Kano has a copy
of the original at present in his valuable library. At the end of the work
the author states that only a hundred copies were printed.
V. The Third Period. 63
circle, the sphere, and the cone. While Yoshida had taken
3. 1 6 for the value of TT, Imamura takes 3. 162. Ando Yuyeki
of Kyoto refers to this in his Jugairoku Kanasho, printed in
1660, as obtained by extracting the square root of 10. If this
is true, Yoshida obtained his in the same way, the square root
of 10 having long been a common value for TT in India and
Arabia, as well as in China. Liu Hui's commentary on the
"Nine Sections" asserts that the first Chinese author to use
this value was Chang Heng, 78 139 A. D. It was also
used by Ch'en Huo in the eleventh century, and by Ch'in
Chiushao in his Sushu Chiuchang of 1247.' Some Chinese
writers even in the present dynasty have used it, and it was
very likely brought from that country to Japan. It is of interest
to note that lumbermen and carpenters in certain parts of
Japan use this value at the present time.
Imamura gives as a rule for finding the area of a circle
that the product of the circumference by the diameter should
be divided by 4. The volume of the sphere with diameter
unity is given as 0.51, which does not fit his value of rr as
closely as might have been expected. He also gives a number
of problems about the lengths of chords, and writes extensively
upon \hQKakujutsu or "polygonal theory", calculations relating
to the regular polygons from the triangle to the decagon. This
theory attracted considerable attention on the part of his suc
cessors and added much to Imamura's reputation. 2 This
treatise was translated into Japanese and a commentary was
added by Imamura's pupil, Ando Yuyeki, in 1660.
The year following the appearance of the original edition
Imamura published the Inki Sanka (1640), a little work on the
soroban, written in verse. The idea was that in this way the
rules could the more easily be memorized, an idea as old as
civilization. The Hindus had followed the same plan many
1 MIKAMI, Y., On the development of the Chinese mathematics (in Japanese),
in the Journal of the Tokyo Physics School, No. 203, p. 450; Mathematical papers
from the Far East, Leipzig, 19 to, p. 5.
2 ENDO, Book I, pp. 59, 60.
6 4
V. The Third Period.
centuries earlier, and a generation or so before Imamura wrote
it was being followed by the arithmetic writers of England.
The third of the Sanski of Mori was Takahara Kisshu, also
known as Yoshitane. 1 While he contributed nothing in the
way of a published work, he was a great teacher and numbered
among his pupils some of the best mathematicians of his time.
During this period of activity numerous writers of prominence
appeared, particularly on the soroban and on mensuration.
Among these writers a few deserve a brief mention at this
time. Tawara Kamei wrote his Shinkan Sampoki in 1652,
wii
*H?
O
v
,.. Fig. 22. From Yamada's Kaisanki (1656), showing a rude trigonometry.
and Yenami Washo his Sanryoroku in the following year. In
/vC i656 Yamada Jusei published the Kaisanki (Fig. 22) which
was very widely read, and the title of which was adopted,
with various prefixes, by several later writers. The following
year (1657) saw the publication of Hatsusaka's Yempo Shikan
ki and Shibamura's Kakuchi Sansho. A year later (1658)
appeared Nakamura's Shikaku Mondo, followed in 1660 by
\satauT2iSKetsugtsk0, in 1663 by Muramatsu's Sanso, in 1664
1 The names are synonyms.
V. The Third Period. 65
by Nozavva r lQ\c\\6'sJDdkalshd, and in 1666 by Sato's Kongenki.
These are little more than names to Western readers, and yet
they go to show the activity that was manifest in the field of
elementary mathematics, largely as the result of the labors of
Mori and of Yoshida. The works themselves were by no
means commercial arithmetics, for they perfected little by little
the subject of mensuration, the method of approximating the
value of IT, and the treatment of the regular polygons, besides
offering a considerable insight into the nature of magic squares
and magic circles. To these books we are indebted for our
knowledge of the work of this period, and particularly to the
Kaisanki (1656), the ShikakuMondo (1658), and the Ketsugi
sho, (1660).
The last mentioned work, the Ketsugisho, was written by
a pupil of Takahara Kisshu, 1 who was one of the Sanski oi
Mori. His name was Isomura 2 Kittoku, and he was a native
of Nihommatsu in the northeastern part of Japan. Isomura's
KetsugisJw* appeared in five books in 1660, and was again
published in 1684 with notes. We know little of his life, but
he must have been very old when the second edition of his
work appeared for he tells us in the preface that at that time
he could hardly hold a soroban or the sangi.
Two features of the Ketsugislio deserve mention, Isomura's
statement of the Yoshida problems (including an approach to
integration, as seen in Fig. 23) and similar ones of his own,
and his treatment of magic squares and circles. Each of these
throws a flood of light upon the nature of the mathematics of
Japan in its Renaissance period, just preceding the advent of
the greatest of her mathematicians, Seki, and each is therefore
1 OZAWA, Sanka Furyaku, "Brief Lineage of Mathematicians", manuscript
of 1801.
2 ENDO gives it as ISOMURA, Book I, pp. 65, 67, and Book II, p. 20 etc.,
and in this he was at first followed by HAYASHI, History, part I, p. 33,
although the latter soon after discovered that IWAMURA was the better form.
HAYASHI gives the personal name as Yoshinori.
3 Or Sampokelsugisho.
5
66
V. The Third Period.
worthy of our attention. Of the Yoshida problems the following
are types: 1
"There is a log of precious wood 18 feet 2 long, whose bases
are 5 feet and 2^ feet in circumference. ... Into what lengths
should it be cut to trisect the volume?"
"There have been excavated 560 measures of earth which
are to be used for the base of a building. 3 The base is to
be 30 measures square and 9 measures high. Required the
size of the upper base."
Fig. 23. From the second (1684) edition of Isomura's Ketsugisho.
"There is a mound of earth in the form of the frustum of
a circular cone. The circumferences of the bases are 40 mea
sures and 1 20 measures, and the mound is 6 measures high.
If 1 200 measures of earth are taken evenly off the top, what
will then be the height?"
"A circular piece of land 100 measures in diameter is to be
divided among three persons so that they shall receive 2900,
1 The Ketsugisho of 1660, Book 4.
2 In the original "3 measures".
3 That is, for a mound in the form of a frustum of a square pyramid.
V. The Third Period. 67
2500, and 2500 measures respectively. 1 Required the lengths
of the chords and the altitudes of the segments."
The rest of the problems relate to the triangle and to linear
simultaneous equations of the kind found in such works as the
"Nine Sections", the Suanfa Tungtsong, and the Suanhsiao
Chimeng. The last of the problems given above is solved by
Isomura as follows:
"Divide 7900 measures, 2 the total area, by 2900 measures
of the northern segment, the result being 2 724. 3 Double this
result and we have 5448. Divide the square of the diameter,
100 measures, by 5448 and the result is 1835.554* measures.
The square root of this is 42.85 measures. Subtract this from
half the diameter and we have 7.15 measures. Multiply the
42.85 by this and we have 306.4 measures. We now multiply
by a certain constant for the square and the circle, and divide
by the diameter and we have 3.45 measures. Subtract this
from 42.85 measures and we have 39.4 measures for the
height of the northern segment . . ."
Following Yoshida's example, Isomura gives a series of
problems for solution, a hundred in number, placing them in
his fifth book. A few of these will show the status of mathe
matics at the time of Isomura:
"From a point in a triangle lines are drawn to the vertices.
Given the lengths of these lines and of two sides of the triangle,
to find the length of the third side of the triangle." (No. 28.)
"A string 62.5 feet long is laid out so as to form Seimei's
Seal, s Required the length of the side of the regular pentagon
in the center." (No. 38.)
"A string is coiled so as first to form a circle 0.05 feet in
diameter, and [then so that the coils shall] always keep 0.05
feet apart, and the coil finally measures 125 feet in diameter.
1 By drawing two parallel chords.
2 It would have been 7854 if he had taken ir= 3.1416.
3 I. e., 2.724+
4 Where we now introduce the fraction for clearness.
5 Abe no Seimei was a famous astrologer who died in 1005. His seal
was the regular pentagonal star, the badge of the Pythagorean brotherhood.
5*
68 V. The Third Period.
What is the length of the string?" (No. 39.) The reading
of this problem is not clear, but Isomura seems to mean that
a spiral of Archimedes is to be formed coiled about an inner
circle, and finally closing in an outer circle. The curve has
attracted a good deal of attention in Japan.
"There is a log 18 feet long, the diameter of the extremities
being I foot and 2.6 feet respectively. This is wound spirally
with a string 75 feet long, the coils being 2.5 feet apart. How
many times does the string go around it?" (No. 41.)
"The bases of a frustum of a circular cone have for their
respective diameters 50 measures and 120 measures, and the
height of the frustum is 1 1 measures. Required to trisect the
volume by planes perpendicular to the base." (No. 44.)
"The bases of a frustum of a circular cone have for their re
spective diameters 120 and 250 measures, and the height of the
frustum is 25 measures. The frustum is to be cut obliquely.
Required the perimeter of the section." (No. 45.) Presumably
the cutting plane is to be tangent to both bases, thus forming
a complete ellipse, a figure frequently seen in Japanese works.
"In a circle 3 feet in dia
meter 9 other circles are to be
placed, each being 0.2 of a
foot from every other and from
the large circle. Required the
diameter of the larger circle in
the center, and of the smaller
circles surrounding it." (No. 60.)
This requires us to place a
circle A in the center, ar
ranging eight smaller circles B
about it so as to satisfy the
conditions.
"If 19 equal circles are described outside a given circle that
has a circumference of 12 feet, so as to be tangent to the
given circle and to each other; and if 19 others are similarly
described within the given circle, what will be the diameters
of the circles in these two groups?" (No. 61.)
V. The Third Period.
69
"To find the length of the minor axis of an ellipse whose
area is 748.940625, and whose major axis is 38 measures."
(No. 84.)
"To find one axis of an ellipsoid of revolution, the other
axis being 1.8 feet, and the volume being 2422, the unit of
volume being a cube whose edge is o.i of a foot." (N. 85.)
Here the major axis is supposed to be the axis of revolution.
Isomura was also interested in magic squares, and these forms
were evidently the object of much study in his later years,
since the 1684 edition of his Ketsugisho contains considerable
material relating to the subject. In the first edition (1660)
there appear both odd and evencelled squares. The following
types suffice to illustrate the work. 1
40
38
2
6
i
42
46
4i
20
17
37
19
32
9
3
16
26
21
28
34
47
39
36
27
25
23
14
1 1
43
35
22
29
24
15
7
5
18
33
13
3i
30
45
4
12
48
44
49
8
10
55
4
2
62
64
60
6
7
5i
20
22
17
50
42
44
14
9
49
40
28
25
37
16
56
12
46
29
3i
34
36
19
53
13
18
35
33
32
30
47
52
54
41
26
38
39
27
24
ii
8
21
43
48
15
23
45
57
58
61
63
3
i
5
59
10
1 It should be said that the history of the magic square has never ade
quately been treated. Such squares seem to have originated in China and
to have spread throughout the Orient in early times. They are not found
in the classical period in Europe, but were not uncommon during and after
the 1 2th century. They are used as amulets in certain parts of the world,
and have always been looked upon as having a cabalistic meaning. For a
study of the subject from the modern standpoint see ANDREWS, W. S., Magic
Squares, Chicago, 1907, and subsequent articles in The Open Court.
V. The Third Period.
51
46
53
6
i
8
69
64
7i
52
50
48
7
5
3
70
68
66
47
54
49
2
9
4
65
72
67
60
55
62
42
37
44
24
'9
26
61
59
57
43
4i
39
25
23
21
56
63
58
38
45
40
20
27
22
IS
10
17
78
73
80
33
28
35
16
14
12
79
77
75
34
32
30
1 1
18
13
74
Si
76
29
36
3i
92
9i
i5
89
4
84
14
99
I I
6
13
73
22
20
80
83
78
24
25
88
85
69
38
40
35
68
60
62
32
16
3
27
67
58
46
43
55
34
74
98
96
30
6 4
47
49
52
54
37
7 1
5
8
3i
36
53
5i
50
48
65
70
93
18
72
59
44
56
57
45
42
29
83
94
26
39
61
66
33
4i
63
75
7
i
76
79
81
21
19
23
77
28
IOO
95
10
86
12
97
17
87
2
90
9
In the last (1684) edition he gives a number of new arrange
ments, including the following:
V. The Third Period.
5
23
16
4
25
15
14
7
18
II
24
17
13
9
2
20
8
19
12
6
I
3
10
22
21
IO
8
35
33
24
i
19
26
17
15
6
28
5
12
30
34
16
H
23
21
3
7
25
32
18
31
22
20
ii
9
36
13
4
2
29
27
Isomura did also a good deal of work on magic circles,
the following appearing in his 1660 edition:
V. The Third Period.
V. The Third Period.
In the 1684 edition
of his Ketsugisho he
gives what he calls
sets of magic wheels.
Here, and on pages
74 and 75, the sums
in the minor circles
are constant.
Isomura's method 1
of finding the area
of the circle is as
1 1660 edition of the
Ketsugisho, Book III.
74
V. The Third Period.
follows: Take a circle of diameter 10 units, and divide the
circumference into parts whose lengths are each a unit. It
will then be found that there are 31 of these equal arcs, with
a smaller arc of length 0.62. Join the points of division to the
center, thus making a series of triangular shaped figures. By
(28
(28
do)
(13)
(37;
(26
(121
38.
wo;
(39)
119}
(31,
(21;
(25)
(16)
(20)
(29)
27)
(35;
(1V)
(30J
(11J
(331
dovetailing these triangles together we can form a rectangular
shaped figure whose length is 15.81, and whose width is 5, so that
the area equals 5 x 15.81, or 79.05. Hence, in modern notation,
 x diameter is the area.
4
In the 1660 edition of the KetsugisJw he gives the surface
of a sphere as onefourth the square of its circumference, which
V. The Third Period.
75
would make it n 2 ; 2 instead of 4Trr 2 . In the 1684 edition, 1
however, he says that this is incorrect, although he asserts
that it had been stated by Mori, Yoshida, Imamura, Takahara,
Hiraga, Shimada, and others. It seems that the rule had been
derived from considering the surface of the sphere as if it were
20
36
34
63
,31
53
12
44
13
52
29
40
60
43
11
27
'23
39
58
59
55
26
51 s
14
19
35
30
32
'48
64l
17
,57
16
56
the skin of an orange that could be removed and cut into
triangular forms and fitted together in the same manner as
the sectors of a circle. The error arose from not considering
the curvature of the surface. To rectify the error Isomura
1 Book IV, note.
76 V. The Third Period.
took two concentric spheres with diameters 10 and 10.0002.
He then took the differences of their volumes and divided this
by o.oooi, the thickness of the rind that lay between the two
surfaces. This gave for the spherical surface 314.160000041888,
from which he deduced the formula, s = ~ = nd 2 . This in
genious process of finding s, which of course presupposes the
ability to find the volume of a sphere, has since been employed
by several writers. I
It should be mentioned, before leaving the works of Isomura,
that the 1684 edition of the Ketsugisho contains a few notes
in which an attempt is made to solve some simultaneous linear
equations by the method of the "Celestial element" already
described. The author states, however, that he does not favor
this method, since it seems to fetter the mind, the older
arithmetical methods being preferable.
Isomura seems not to have placed in his writings all of his
knowledge of such subjects as the circle, for he distinctly
states that one must be personally instructed in regard to some
of these measures. Possibly he was desirous of keeping this
knowledge a secret, in the same way that Tartaglia wished to
keep his solution of the cubic. Indeed, there is a igth century
manuscript that is anonymous, although probably written by
Furukawa Ken, bearing the title Sanwa Zuihitsu (Miscellany
about Mathematical Subjects), in which it is related that Iso
mura possessed a secret book upon the mensuration of the
circle, and in particular upon the circular arc. It is said that
this was later owned by Watanabe Manzo Kazu, one of Aida
Ammei's pupils, and a retainer of the Lord of Nihommatsu,
where Isomura one time dwelt. The writer of the Sanwa
Zuihitsu asserts that he saw the book in 1811, during a visit
at his home by Watanabe, and that he made a copy of it at
that time. He says that the methods were not modern and
that they contained fallacies, but that the explanations were
1 It is given in Takebe Kenko's manuscript work, the Fnkyii Tetsujtitsu
of 1722, in an anonymous manuscript entitled Kigenkai, and in a work of
the I gth century by Wada Nei.
V. The Third Period. 77
minute. The title of the work was Koshigen Yensetsu Hompo,
and it was dated the i$th day of the 3d month of 1679.
Next in rank to Isomura, in this period, was Muramatsu
Kudayu Mosei. 1 He was a pupil of Hiraga Yasuhide, a
distinguished teacher but not a writer, who served under the
feudal Lord of Mito, meeting with a tragic death in 1683. 2
Muramatsu was a retainer of Asano, Lord of Ako, whose
forced suicide caused the heroic deed of the "Forty seven
Ronins" so familiar to readers of Japanese annals. Muramatsu
is sometimes recorded as one of the honored "Fortyseven",
but it was his adopted son, Kihei, and Kihei's son, who were
among the number. 3 As to Muramatsu himself, he died at
an advanced age after a life of great activity in his chosen
field.
In 1663 Muramatsu began the publication of a work in five
books, entitled the Sanso.* In this he treats chiefly of arith
metic and mensuration, following in part the Chinese work,
Suanhsiao Chimeng, written by Chu Chichieh, as mentioned
on page 48, but he fails to introduce the method of the "Ce
lestial element". The most noteworthy part of his work relates
to the study of polygons s and to the mensuration of the circle. 6
Taking the radius of the circumscribed circle as 5, he cal
culates the sides of the regular polygons as follows:
No. of sides. Length of side. No. of sides. Length of side.
5
5.8778
ii
2.801586
6
5
12
2.5875
7
43506
13
2393
8
3.82682
14
2.22678
9
3.4102
15
2.07953
IO
3.0876
16
1.95093
1 Not Matsumura, as given by ENDO. The name Mosei appears as Shigekiyo
in his Mantoku Jinkoki (1665).
2 See the Stories told by Araki.
3 AOYAMA, Lives of the Fortyseven Loyal Men (in Japanese).
4 The last book bears the date 1684, and may not have appeared earlier.
5 Book 2. 6 Book 4.
78 V. The Third Period.
To calculate the circumference Muramatsu begins with an
inscribed square whose diagonal is unity. He then doubles the
number of sides, forming a regular octagon, the diameter of
the circumscribed circle being one. He continues to double
the number of sides until a regular inscribed polygon of 3278
sides is reached. He computes the perimeters of these sides
in order, by applying the Pythagorean Theorem, with the
following results:
No. of sides. Perimeter.
2* 3.06146745892071817384
2 4 3.121445152258052370213
2 6 3.140331156954753
2? 3.1412792509327729134016
2 8 3.141513801144301128448
29 3.14157294036/091435162
2 10 3.14158772527715976659
2" 3.141591421511186733296
2 12 3.1415923455701046761472
2*3 3.1415925765848605108681
2 14 3.14159263433855298
2*5 3.141592648777698869248
Having reached this point, Muramatsu proceeded to compare
the various Chinese values of TT, and stated his conclusion that
3.14 should be taken, unaware of the fact that he had found
the first 8 figures correctly. 1
Muramatsu gives a brief statement as to his method of
finding the volume of a sphere, but does not enter into details. 2
He takes 10 as the diameter, and by means of parallel planes
he cuts the sphere into 100 segments of equal altitude. He
then assumes that each of these segments is a cylinder, either
with the greater of the two bases as its base, or with the
lesser one. If he takes the greater base, the sum of the vol
1 EXDO, Book I, p. 70.
2 The Sanso, Book 5.
V. The Third Period.
79
umes is 562.5 cubic units; but if he takes the lesser one this
sum is only 493.04 cubic units. He then says that the volume
of the sphere lies between these limits, and he assumes, without,
Fig. 24. Magic circle, from Muramatsu Kudayii Mosei's Mantoku Jinkoki (1665).
stating his reasons, that it is 524, which is somewhat less than
either their arithmetic (527) or their geometric (526.6) mean, 1
and which is equivalent to taking TT as 3.144.
Muramatsu was also interested in magic squares 2 and magic
* ENDO thinks that he may have reached this value by cutting the sphere
into 200, 400 or some other number of equal parts. History, Book I, p. Jl.
2 His rakusho (afterwards called hojiri) problems.
8o
V. The Third Period.
circles. 1 One of his magic squares has 19* cells, as did one
published by Nozawa Teicho in the following year. 8 One of
his magic circles, in which 129 numbers are used, is shown in
Fig. 24 on page 79. With the numbers expressed in Arabic
numerals it is as follows:
In Muramatsu's work also appears a variant of the famous
old Josephus problem, as it is often called in the West, a
problem that had already appeared in the Jinkoki of Yoshida.
1 His ensan problems. Sanso, Book 2.
2 In his Dokaisho of 1664,
V. The Third Period.
81
Fig. 25. The Josephus problem, from Muramatsu Kudayu Mosei's Mantoku /v\
Jinkori (1665).
82
V. The Third Period.
As given by Seki, a little later, it is as follows: "Once upon
a time there lived a wealthy farmer who had thirty children,
half being born of his first wife and half of his second one.
The latter wished a favorite son to inherit all the property,
and accordingly she asked him one day, saying: Would it
not be well to arrange our thirty children on a circle, calling
Fig. 26. The Josephus problem, from Miyake Kenryfi's Shojutsu
Sangaku Zuye (1795 edition).
one of them the first and counting out every tenth one until
there should remain only one, who should be called the heir.
The husband assenting, the wife arranged the children as shown
in the figure T . The counting then began as shown and resulted
in the elimination of fourteen stepchildren at once, leaving
only one. Thereupon the wife, feeling confident of her success,
1 The step children are represented by dark circles, and her own children
by light ones. In the old manuscripts the latter are colored red.
V. The Third Period.
said: Now that the elimination has proceeded to this stage,
let us reverse the order, beginning with the child I choose.
The husband agreed again, and the counting proceeded in the
reverse order, with the unexpected result that all of the second
wife's children were stricken out and there remained only the
stepchild, and accordingly he inherited the property." The
original is shown in Fig. 25, and an interesting illustration from
Miyake's work of 1795 in Fig. 26, but the following diagram
will assist the reader:
120 End
V
Reverse count begins here
Figures outside.
Direct count begins here
Figures inside.
no
Perhaps it is more in accord with oriental than with oc
cidental nature that the interesting agreement should have
6*
84 V. The Third Period.
remained in force, with the result that the heir should have
been a stepson of the wife who planned the arrangement.
Seki also gave the problem, having obtained it from the Jinko
ki of Yoshida, although he mentions only the fact that it is an
old tradition. Possibly it was one of Michinori's problems in
the twelfth century, but whether it started in the East and
made its way to the West, or vice versa, we do not know.
The earliest definite trace of the analogous problem in Europe
is in the Codex Einsidelensis, early in the tenth century,
although a Latin work of Roman times 1 attributes it to Flavius
Josephus. It is also mentioned in an eleventh century manu
script in Munich and in the Ta'hbula of Rabbi Abraham ben Ezra
(d. 1067). It is to the latter that Elias Levita, who seems first
to have made it known in print (1518), assigns its origin. It
commonly appears as a problem relating to Turks and Christians,
or to Jews and Christians, half of whom must be sacrificed to
save a sinking ship. 3
The next writer of note was Nozawa Teicho, who published
his Dokaisho in 1664, and who followed the custom begun by
Yoshida in the proposing of problems for solution. Nozawa
solved all of Isomura's problems and proposed a hundred new
ones. He also suggested the quadrature of the circle by cutting
it into a number of segments and then summing these partial
areas. He went so far as to suggest the same plan for the
sphere, but in neither case does he carry his work to com
pletion. It is of interest to see this approach to the calculus
in Japan, contemporary with the like approach at this time in
Europe. Muramatsu had approximated the volume of the
* De bello judaico, III, 16. This was formerly attributed to Hegesippus of
the second century A. D., but it is now thought to be by a later writer of
uncertain date.
2 Common names are Ludus Josephi, Josephsspiel, Sankt Peder's lek (Swedish),
and the Josephus Problem. The Japanese name was Mamekodate, the step
children problem. It was very common in early printed books on arithmetic,
as in those of Cardan (1539), Ramus (1569), and Thierfelder (1587). The best
Japanese commentary on the problem is Fujita Sadusuke's Sandatsti Kaigi
(Commentary on Sandatsu), 1774.
V. The Third Period.
sphere by means of the summation of cylinders formed on
circles cut by parallel planes. He had taken 100 of these
sections, and possibly more, and had taken some kind of
average that led him to fix upon 524 as the volume of a
sphere of radius 5. Nozawa apparently intends to go a step
further and to take thinner laminae, thus approaching the
method used by Cavalieri in his Methodus indivisibilibus. T It is
possible, as we shall see later, that some hint of the methods
of the West had already reached the Far East, or it is possible
that, as seems so often the case, the world was merely show
ing that it was intellectually maturing at about the same rate
in regions far remote one from the other.
Two years later, in 1666, the annns mirabilis of England,
Sato Seiko 2 wrote his work entitled Kongenki. In this he
attempted to solve the problems proposed by Isomura and
Nozawa, and he set forth 150 new questions. Mention should
also be made of his interest in magic circles. Since with him
closes the attempts at the mensuration of the circle and sphere
prior to the work of Seki, it is proper to give in tabular form
the results up to this time.^
Author
Date
it
Area of Circle
Volume of
sphere
Yoshida
1627
316
0.79
0.5625
Imamura
1639
3.162
0.7905
0.51
Yamada 1656
3.162
0.7905
0.4934
Shibamura
1657
3.162
0.7905
0.525
Isomura
1660
3.162
0.7905
0.51
Muramatsu 1663
314
0.785
0.524
Nozawa
1664
314
0.785
0.523
Sato
1666
314
0.785
0.519
1 Written in 1629, but printed in 1635.
2 Given incorrectly in FUKUDA'S Sampo Tamatebako of 1879, and in ENDO,
Book I, p. 73, as Sato Seioku.
3 The table in substantially this form appears in HAYASHI'S History, p. 37.
See also HERZER, P., loc. cit., p. 35 of the Kiel reprint of 1905 ; ENDO, I, p. 75.
86 V. The Third Period.
Sato's Kongenki of 1666 is particularly noteworthy as being
the first Japanese treatise in which the "Celestial element"
method in algebra, as set forth in the Suanhsiao Chimeng^
is successfully used. Some of the problems given by him
require the solution of numerical equations of degree as high
as the sixth, and it is here that Sato shows his advance over
his predecessors. The numerical quadratic had been solved in
Japan before his time, and even certain numerical cubics, but
Sato was the first to carry this method of solution to equa
tions of higher degree. In spite of the fact that he knew the
principle, Sato showed little desire to carry it out, however,
so that it was left to his successor to make more widely known
the Chinese method and to show its great possibilities.
This successor was Sawaguchi Kazuyuki, 2 a pupil of Taka
hara Kisshu, and afterwards a pupil of the great Seki. In 1 670
Sawaguchi wrote the Kokon Sampoki, the "Old and New Me
thods of Mathematics". The work consists of seven books, the
first three of which contain the ordinary mathematical work
of the time, and the next three a solution by means of equa
tions of the problems proposed by Sato. 3 He also followed
Nozawa in attempting to use a crude calculus (Fig. 27) some
what like that known to Cavalieri. Sawaguchi was for a time
a retainer of Lord Seki BingonoKami, but through some fault
of his own he lost the position and the closing years of his
life were spent in obscurity. 4
Sawaguchi's solutions of Sato's problems are not given in
full. The equations are stated, but these are followed by the
answers only. An equation of the first degree is called a
kijo shiki, "divisional expression", inasmuch as only division is
needed in its solution, of course after the transposition and
1 See p. 48.
2 In later years he seems, according to the Stories told by Araki, to have
changed his name to Goto Kakubei, although other writers take the two to
be distinct personages.
3 It should also be mentioned that a similar use of equations is found in
Sugiyama Teiji's work that appeared in the same year.
4 The Stories told by Araki.
V. The Third Period. 87
uniting of terms. Equations of higher degree are called kaiho
shiki, "rootextracting expressions". As a rule only a single
root of an equation is taken, although in a few problems this
rule is not followed. 1 This idea of the plurality of roots is a
m
tv
A*
90
tz
?A
if*
ftg
1311
lip
^LSI5I5I
t
Fig. 27. Early steps in the calculus. From Sawaguchi Kazuyuki's Kokon
Sampoki (1670).
noteworthy advance upon the work of the earlier Chinese
writers, since the latter had recognized only one root to any
equation. As is usual in such forward movements, however,
Sawaguchi did not recognize the significance of the plural
1 Sato had already recognised the plurality of roots in his Kongenki.
88 V. The Third Period.
roots, calling problems which yielded them erroneous in their
nature.
That Sawaguchi's methods may be understood as fully as
the nature of his work allows, a few of his solutions of Sato's
problems are set forth:
"There is a right triangle whose hypotenuse is 6, and the
sum of whose area and the square root of one side is 7.2384.
Required the other two sides". (No. 64.)
Sawaguchi gives the following direstions:
"Take the 'Celestial element' to be the first side. Square
this and subtract the result from the square of the hypotenuse.
The remainder is the square of the second side. Multiplying
this by the square of the first side, we have 4 times the square
of the area, which will be called A. Let 4 times the square of the
first side be called B. Arrange the sum, square it, and multiply
by 4. From the result subtract A and B. The square of the
remainder is 4 times the product of A and B, and this we
shall call X. Arrange A, multiply by B, take 4 times the
product, and subtract the quantity from X, thus obtaining an
equation of the 8th degree. This gives, evolved in the reverse
method, * the first side." The result for the two sides are then
given as 5.76, and I.68. 2
Sato's problem No. 16 is as follows: "There is a circle from
within which a square is cut, the remaining portion having an
area of 47.6255. If the diameter of the circle is 7 more than
the square root of a side of the square, it is required to find
the diameter of the circle and the side of the square." 5 Sawa
guchi looks upon the problem as "deranged", since it has two
solutions, viz., d=c>, s = 4, and ^=7.8242133... and s =
0.67932764 .... He therefore changes the quantities as given in
1 That is, when the signs of the coefficients are changed in the course
of the operation.
2 Expressed in modern symbols, let j = the sum, 7.2384, ^==the hypo
tenuse, and ^ = the first side. Then, by his rule, [4^ (/i 2 x 2 ) x 2 4* 2 ] 2
16*4 (fc X 2) = o.
3 I. e., u d* jz = 47 . 6255 , and d Vs = 7.
V. The Third Period.
89
the problem, making the area 12.278, and the difference 4. He
then considers the equation as before, viz., ltd* s 2 = 12.278,
and d Vs = 4. Then d = 6 and s = 4, taking  TT to be 0.785 5.
Sawaguchi next considers a problem from the Dokaisho of
Nozawa Teicho (1664), viz: "There is a rectangular piece of
land 300 measures long and 132 measures wide. It is to be
equally divided among 4 men as here shown, in such manner
that three of the portions shall be squares. Required the di
mensions of the parts."
Sato gives two solutions of this problem in his Kongenki, as
follows:
1. Each of the square portions is 90 measures on a side;
the fourth portion is 27 measures wide; and the roads are
each 15 measures wide.
2. Each of the square portions is 60 measures on a side;
the fourth portion is 12 measures wide; and the roads are each
60 measures wide.
This solution of Sato's leads Sawaguchi to dilate upon the
subtle nature of mathematics that permits of more than one
solution to a problem that is apparently simple.
Of the hundred and fifty problems in Sato's work Sawa
guchi says that he leaves some sixteen unsolved because they
relate to the circle. He announces, however, that it is his in
tention to consider problems of this nature orally with his
pupils, and he gives without explanation the value of TT as
3.142.
Two of the sixteen unsolved problems are as follows:
9O V. The Third Period.
"The area of a sector of a circle is 41.3112, the radius is
8.5, and the altitude of the segment cut off by a chord is 2.
Required to find the chord." (No. 34.)
"From a segment of a circle a circle is cut out, leaving the
remaining area 97.27632. The chord is 24, and the two parts
of the altitude, after the circle cuts out a portion as shown in
the figure, are each 1.8. Required the diameter of the small
circle."
The seventh and last book of Sawaguchi's work consists of
fifteen new problems, all of which were solved four years later
by Seki, who states that one of them leads to an equation of
the 1458th degree. This equation was substantially solved
twenty years later by Miyagi Seiko of Kyoto, in his work
entitled Wakan Sampo.
CHAPTER VI.
Seki Kowa.
In the third month according to the lunar calendar, in the
year 1642 of our era, a son was born to Uchiyama Shichibei,
a member of the samurai class living at Fujioka in the pro
vince of Kozuke. * While still in his infancy this child, a
younger son of his parents, was adopted into another noble
family, that of Seki Gorozayemon, and hence there was given
to him the name of Seki by which he is commonly known to
the world. Seki Shinsuke Kowa 2 was born in the same year 3
in which Galileo died, and at a time of great activity in the
mathematical world both of the East and the West. And just
as Newton, in considering the labors of such of his immediate
predecessors as Kepler, Cavalieri, Descartes, Fermat, and Barrow,
was able to say that he had stood upon the shoulders of giants,
so Seki came at an auspicious time for a great mathematical
advance in Japan, with the labors of Yoshida, Imamura, Iso
mura, Muramatsu, and Sawaguchi upon which to build. The
coincidence of birth seems all the more significant because of
the possible similarity of achievement, Newton having invented
the calculus of fluxions in the West, while Seki possibly
invented the yenri or "circle principle" in the East, each
1 Not far from Yedo, the Shogun's capital, the present TokyS.
2 Or Takakazu. On the life of Seki see MIKAMI, Y., Seki and Shibukawa,
Jahresbericht der Deuischen MathematikerVereinigung, Vol. XVII, p. 187;
ENDO, Book II, p. 40; OZAWA, Lineage of Mathematicians (in Japanese) ;
HAYASHI, History, part I, p. 43, and the memorial volume (in Japanese) issued
on the twohundredth anniversary of Seki's death, 1908.
3 C. KAWAKITA, in an article in the Honcho Sugaku Koenshu, says that
some believe Seki to have been born in 1637.
92 VI. Seki Kowa.
designed to accomplish much the same purpose, and each
destined to material improvement in later generations. The
yenri is not any too well known and it is somewhat difficult
to judge of its comparative value, Japanese scholars themselves
being undecided as to the relative merits of this form of the
calculus and that given to the world by Newton and Leibnitz. *
Seki's great abilities showed themselves at an early age.
The story goes that when he was only five he pointed out
the errors of his elders in certain calculations which were being
discussed in his presence, and that the people so marveled at
his attainments that they gave him the title of divine child. 2
Another story relates that when he was but nine years of
age, Seki one time saw a servant studying the Jinkoki of
Yoshida. And when the servant was perplexed over a certain
problem, Seki volunteered to help him, and easily showed him
the proper solution. 3 This second story varies with the narrator,
Kamizawa Teikan 4 telling us that the servant first interested
the youthful Seki in the arithmetic of the Jinkoki, and then
taught him his first mathematics. Others s say that Seki
learned mathematics from the great teacher Takahara Kisshu
who, it will be remembered, had sat at the feet of Mori as
one of his sanshi, although this belief is not generally held.
Most writers 6 agree that he was selfmade and selfeducated,
1 Thus ENDO feels that the yenri was quite equal to the calculus (History,
Book III, p. 203). See also HAYASHI, History, part I, p. 44, and the Honcho
Siigaku Kdenshit, pp. 33 36. Opposed to this idea is Professor R. FUJISAWA
of the University of Tokyo who asserts that the yenri resembles the Chinese
methods and is much inferior to the calculus. The question will be more
fully considered in a later chapter.
2 KAMIZAWA TEIKAV (1710 1795), Okinagusa, Book VIII. KAMIZAWA
lived at KyQto. This title was also placed upon the monument to Seki erected
in Tokyo in 1794.
3 Kuichi Sanjin, in the Sugaku Hochi, No. 55.
4 Okinagusa, Book VIII.
5 See FUKUDA'S Sampo Tamatebako, 1879; ENDO, Book II, p. 40; HAYASHI
in the Honcho Sugaku Koenshu, 1908.
6 Fujita Sadasuke in the preface to his Seiyo Sampo, 17795 Ozawa Seiyo
in his Lineage of Mathematicians (in Japanese), 1801; the anonymous manu
script entitled Sanka Keizu.
VI. Seki Kowa. 93
his works showing no apparent influence of other teachers, but
on the contrary displaying an originality that may well have
led him to instruct himself from his youth up. T Whatever
may have been his early training Seki must have progressed
very rapidly, for he early acquired a library of the standard
Japanese and Chinese works on mathematics, and learned,
apparently from the Suanhsiao Ckimeng, 2 the method of
solving the numerical higher equation. And with this progress
in learning came a popular appreciation that soon surrounded
him with pupils and that gave to him the title of The Arith
metical Sage. 3 In due time he, as a descendent of the samurai
class, served in public capacity, his office being that of ex
aminer of accounts to the Lord of Koshu, just as Newton
^became master of the mint under Queen Anne. When his
lord became heir to the Shogun, Seki became a Shogunate
samurai, and in 1704 was given a position of honor as master
of ceremonies in the Shogun's household. 4 He died on the
24th day of the loth month in the year 1708, at the age of
sixtysix, leaving no descendents of his own blood, s He was
buried in a Buddhist cemetery, the Jorinji, at Ushigome in
Yedo (Tokyo), where eighty years later his tomb was rebuilt,
as the inscription tell us, by mathematicians of his school.
Several stories are told of Seki, some of which throw interest
ing sides lights upon his character. 6 One of these relates that
he one time journeyed from Yedo to Kofu, a city in Koshu,
or the Province of Kai, on a mission from his lord. Traveling
in a palanquin he amused himself by noting the directions and
1 The fact that the long epitaph upon his tomb makes no mention of
any teacher points to the same conclusion.
2 In the Okinagusa of Kamizawa this is given as the Sangaku Gomo, but in
an anonymous manuscript entitled the Samoa Zuihitsu the Chinese classic is
specially given on the authority of one Saito in his Burin Inken Roku.
3 In Japanese, Sansei. This title was also carved upon his tomb.
4 KAMIZAWA, Okinagusa, Book VIII; Kuichi Sanjin in the Stlgaku Hochi,
No. 55; ENDO, Book II, p. 40.
5 His heir was Shinshichi, or ShinshichirO, a nephew. ENDO, Book II,
p. 81.
6 KAMIZAWA, Okinagusa, Book VIII.
94 VI. Seki Kowa.
distances, the objects along the way, the elevations and de
pressions, and all that characterized the topography of the
region, jotting down the results upon paper as he went. From
these notes he prepared a map of the region so minutely and
carefully drawn that on his return to Yedo his master was
greatly impressed with the powers of description of one who
traveled like a samurai but observed like a geographer.
Another story relates how the Shogun, who had been the
Lord of Koshu, once upon a time decided to distribute equal
portions of a large piece of precious incense wood among the
members of his family. But when the official who was to cut
the wood attempted the division he found no way of meeting
his lord's demand that the shares should be equal. He there
fore appealed to his brother officials who with one accord,
advised him that no one could determine the method of cutting
the precious wood save only Seki. Much relieved, the official
appealed to "The Arithmetical Sage" and not in vain. 1
It is also told of Seki that a wonderful clock was sent from
the Emperor of China as a present to the Shogun, so arranged
that the figure of a man would strike the hours. And after
some years a delicate spring became deranged, so that the
figure would no longer strike the bell. Then were called in
the most skilful artisans of the land, but none was able to
repair the clock, until Seki heard of his master's trouble. Asking
that he might take the clock to his own home, he soon restored
it to the Shogun successfully repaired and again correctly
striking the hours.
Such anecdotes have some value in showing the acumen
and versatility of the man, and they explain why he should
have been sought for a post of such responsibility as that of
examiner of accounts. 2
The name of Seki has long been associated with the yenri,
a form of ihe calculus that was possibly invented by him, and
1 The story is evidently based upon the problem of Yoshida already given
on page 66.
2 KAMIZAWA, Okinagusa, Book VIII.
VI. Seki Kovva. 95
that will be considered in Qiapter VIII.) It is with greater
certainty that he is known for msTJenzan method, an algebraic
system that improved upon the method of the "Celestial ele
ment" inherited from the Chinese; for the Yendan jutsu, a
scheme by which the treatment of equations and other branches
of algebra is simpler than by the methods inherited from China
and improved by such Japanese writers as Isomura and Sawa
guchi, and for his work in determinants that antedated what
has heretofore been considered the first discovery, namely the
investigations of Leibnitz.
As to his works, it is said that he left hundreds of un
published manuscripts, 1 but if this be true most of them are
lost 2 He also published the Hatsubi Sampo in 1674.3 In this
he solved the fifteen problems given in Sawaguchi's Kokon
Sampoki of 1670, only the final equations being given. 4
As to Seki's real power, and as to the justice of ranking him
with his great contemporaries of the West, there is much doubt.
He certainly improved the methods used in algebra, but we
are Jnot at all sure that his name is properly connected with
the yenri.
For this reason, and because of his fame, it has been thought
best to enter more fully into his work than into that of any
of his predecessors, so that the reader may have before him
the material for independent judgment.
First it is proposed to set forth a few of the problems that
were set by Sawaguchi, with Seki's equations and with one of
Takebe's solutions.
1 ENDO, Book II, p. 41.
2 For further particulars see ENDO, loc. cit., and the Seki memorial volume
(Sekiryil Shichibusho, or Seven Books on Mathematics of the Seki School)
published in Tokyo in 1908.
3 This is the work mentioned by Professor Hayashi as the Hakki JSampo
of Mitaki and Mie (Miye).
4 In 1685 one of Seki's pupils, Takebe Kenko, published a work entitled
Hatsubi Sampo Yendan Genkai, or the "Full explanations of the Hatsubi Sampo,"
in which the problems are explained. He states that the blocks for printing
the work were burned in 1680 and that he had attempted to make good
their loss.
96 VI. Seki Kowa.
Sawaguchi's first problem is as follows: "In a circle three
other circles are inscribed as here shown, the remaining area
being 120 square units. The common diameter of the two
smallest circles is 5 units less than the diameter of the one
that is next in size. Required to compute the diameters of
the various circles."
Seki solves the problem as follows: "Arrange the 'celestial
element', taking it as the diameter of the smallest circles. Add
to this the given quantity and the result is the diameter of the
middle circle. Square this and call the result A.
6 "Take twice the square of the diameter of the smallest
circles and add this to A, multiplying the sum by the moment
of the circumference. 1 Call this product B.
^ "Multiply 4 times the remaining area by the moment of
diameter. 2
"This being added to B the result is the product of the
square of the diameter of the largest circle multiplied by the
moment of circumference. This is called C. 3
1 By' the "moment of the circumference'' is meant the numerator of the
fractional value of IT. This is 22 in case IT is taken as .
2 "Moment of diameter'" means the denominator of the fractional value
of IT. In the case of , this is 7. That is, we have 7x120.
3 Thus far the solution is as follows: Let x = the diameter of the smallest
circle, and y the diameter of the largest circle. Then x f 5 is the diameter
of the socalled "middle circle."
VI. Seki Kowa. 97
"Take the diameter of the smallest circle and multiply it by
A and by the moment of the circumference. Call the result D. *
^"From four times the diameter of the middle circle take the
diameter of the smallest circle, and from C times this product
take D. The square of the remainder is the product of the
square of the sum of four times the diameter of the middle
circle and twice the diameter of the smallest circle, the square
of the diameter of the middle circle, the square of the moment
of circumference, and the square of the diameter of the largest
circle. Call this X. 2
O "The sum of four times the diameter of the middle circle
and twice the diameter of the smallest circle being squared,
multiply it by A and by C and by the moment of circum
ference. 3 This quantity being canceled with X we get an
equation of the 6th degree. 4 Finding the root of this equation
according to the reversed orders we have the diameter of the
smallest circle.
"Reasoning from this value the diameters of the other circles
are obtained."
Then x* + lox f 25 = A,
22 (3 x* + iox f 25) = B,
and 7 4 120 + B = C = 22y 2 , where ir = .
That the formula for C is correct is seen by substituting for 120 the
difference in the areas as stated. We then have
7 4
22 fy* (* + 5) z 2x\
 <   > \ > = C,
7 14 4 4 /
or 22 (yz x* 10 x 25 2 x* + 3^2 f~ 10* + 2 5) = C,
or 22_y 2 = C, which is, as stated in the rule, "the product of the square of
the diameter of the largest circle multiplied by the moment of circumference."
i I.e., 22 x (x* + 10^ + 25) D.
* I. e., {C [4 (x + 5)  *]  D}* =5 X.
3 I. e., 22 22^* (x \ 5) 2 [4 (x j 5) f 2 x]*. This is merely the second
part of the preceding paragraph stated differently.
4 I. e., X = 22 2 (3 xy* 4. 5 ;j/2 x*)*, and this quantity equals
22 * y 2 (x  5)2 (6x j 2o) 2 . Their difference is a sextic.
5 As explained on page 53.
7
98 VI. Seki Kowa.
It may add to an appreciation or an understanding of the
mathematics of this period if we add Takebe's analysis.
Let x be the diameter of the largest circle, y that of the
middle circle, and z that of the smallest circles. 1
Then let AC= a, AD = b , AB c, and BC=d, these
being auxiliary unknowns at the present time.
Then
2 a = z 4 x,
and
4 a 2 = z 2 2 zx + x*
or
4 a 2 s 2 = 2 zx + A' 2 .
Therefore
X\ (l)
i Takebe of course expresses these quantities in Chinese characters. The
coefficients are represented by him in the usual sangi form, where \x, \.y
and \\xy stand respectively for x, y, and 2xy. This notation is called
the bosho or sidenotation and is mentioned later in this work. Expressions
containing an unknown are arranged vertically, and other polynomials are
arranged horizontally. Thus for x, a\x, a 2 2 ax j x* we have
O I" I 2
I I *
I
respectively, while for a 2  2 ab } b* we have
\a2 \\a(> \b*
with Chinese characters in place of these letters.
VI. Seki Kowa. 99
If we take y from x we have y + x, which is 2c.
Squaring.
4 c * =y 2 2 yx + x*. (2)
To y add 2 and we have
2d=y + z.
Squaring,
4 d 2 =y 2 + 2yz + z 2 .
Subtracting z*S we have
4 (^ + s =7 2 + 27*.
Subtract from this (i) and (2) and we have
&xSc= 2yz + (22 + 2y) x2x*.
Dividing by 2,
bx$c=yz+ (z \r y) x x 2 . \
Squaring,
b z x i6c*=y*z 2 + (2y*z + 2yz*) x + (y + z) 2 x 2
(2y + 2z) x* + x*. (3)
Multiplying (i) by (2) we also have
b 2 x. \6c 2 2y 2 zx + (y 2 + 4yz)x 2 (2y f 2z}x* + x*,
which being canceled with the expression in (3) gives
y*z 2 + (4y*z + 2yz a )x + ( 4yz + z 2 )x= o,
from which, by canceling z,
y 2 z + (4y* + 2yz)x + ( 47 + z)x 2 = o.
This may be written in the form
y 2 z + (x 2 z 4x 2 y) + (4y 2 + 2yz}x = o.
Takebe has now eliminated his auxiliary unknowns, and he
directs that the quantity in the first parenthesis be squared
and canceled with the square of the rest of the expression, a
1 And noting that d* ( 1 ) z* = (b\cy.
2 This amounts to equating x*z 4* 2 y to [j/ 2 z + (4^* j zvz) x], and
then squaring and canceling out like terms.
7*
IOO
VI. Seki Kowa.
and that the rest of the steps be followed as in Seki's solution.
In this he expresses y and z in terms of x and given quantities
and thus finds an equation of the sixth degree in x. Without
attempting to carry out his suggestions, enough has been given
to show his ingenuity in elimination.
The 1 2th problem proposed by Sawaguchi is as follows:
There is a triangle in which three lines, a, b, and c, are
drawn as shown in the figure. It is given that
a = 4, b = 6, c = 1.447,
that the sum of the cubes of the greatest and smallest sides
is 637, and that the sum of the cubes of the other side and
of the greatest side is 855. Required to find the lengths of
the sides.
Seki solves this problem by the use of an equation of the
54th degree.
The 1 4th problem is of somewhat the same character. It
is as follows:
There is a quadrilateral whose sides and diagonals are re
presented by u, v, w, x, y, and z, as shown in the figure.
W
VI. Seki Kowa. IOI
It is given that
S 3 U 3 = 271
U 3 2/3=217
^3 y3= 6O.8
j3 TJU 3 = 326.2
w^ x* = 61.
Required to find the values of u, v, w, x, y, and z.*
Seki does not state the equation that is to be solved, but
he says:
"To find z we have to solve by the reversed method an
equation of the 145 8th degree. But since the analysis is very
complicated and cannot be stated in a simple manner we omit
it, merely hinting at the solution.
"Take the 'celestial element' for z, from which the expressions
of the cubes of u, v, w, x, and y may be derived.
"Then eliminate x*, the analysis leading to an equation of
the 1 8th degree.
"Next eliminate ?f3, leading to an equation of the 54th degree.
"Next eliminate y ', leading to an equation of the 162 d degree.
"Next eliminate v^, leading to an equation of the 486th degree.
"Now by eliminating u 3 two equal expressions result from
which the final equation of the 145 8th degree is obtained.
Solving this equation by the reversed method we obtain the
value of z. This method 2 of analysis leads us to the result
step by step and may serve as an example of the method of
attacking difficult problems."
Seki's explanation is, as he states, very obscure. Undoubt
edly he explained the work orally to his pupils, with the sangi
at hand. As the matter stands in his statement it would appear
that he had five equations with six unknowns and that he had
i This is exactly as in the original, except that symbols replace the words.
With merely these equations it is indeterminate. Takebe adds another
equation, z* + x^ = z,zs, where s is the projection of u upon z.
3 Essentially the method of constructing the equation.
IO2 VI. Seki Kowa.
not made use of the geometric relations involved, so that we
are left to conjecture what particular equations he may have
employed.
Although the explanations given by Seki, as shown in the
few examples quoted, are manifestly incomplete and obscure,
they are nevertheless noteworthy as marking a step in mathe
matical analysis. His predecessors had been content to state
mere rules for attaining their results, as were also many of
the early European algebraists. Leonardo of Pisa, for example,
solves a numerical cubic equation to a remarkable degree of
approximation, but we have not the slightest idea of his method.
Even in the sixteenth century the Italian and German algebraists
were content to use the Latin expression "Fac ita". 1 Seki, how
ever, paid special attention to the analysis of his problems, and to
this his great success as a teacher was largely due. His method
of procedure was known as the yendan jutsu, yendan meaning ex
planation or expositon, and jutsu meaning process, 2 a method
in which the explanation was carried along with the manipulating
of the sangi in the "Celestial Element" calculation of the Chi
nese. When a problem arises in which two or more unknowns
appear there are, in general, two or more expressions involving
these unknowns. These expressions Seki was wont to write
upon paper, and then to simplify the relations between them
until he reached an equation that was as elementary in form
as possible. This was in opposition to the earlier plan of
stating the equation at once without any intimation of the
method by which it was derived. Moreover it led the pupil
to consider at every step the process of simplifying the work,
thus reducing as far as possible the degree of the equation
which was finally to be solved. ^ Seki's pupil, Takebe, speaks
enthusiastically of his master's clearness of analysis, in these
1 In early German, thu ihm also.
2 We might translate the expression by the single word analysis.
3 ENDO calls attention to the fact that the yendan jutsu may be looked
upon as the repeated application of the tengen jutsu mentioned on p. 48.
See his Biography of Seki (in Japanese) in the Toyo Gakugei Zasshi, vol. 14,
P 3I3
VI. Seki Kowa. 103
words: 1 "In fact this yendan is a process that was never set
forth in China with the same clearness as in Japan. It is one
of the brilliant products of my master's school and it must
be agreed that it surpasses all other mathematical achieve
ments, ancient or modern."
These words seem to be those of an enthusiastic disciple
rather than a simple chronicler of fact, since from the evidence
that is before us the yendan was merely a commonsense form
of analysis such as any mathematician or teacher might employ,
although we must admit that his predecessors had not made
any use of it.
Takebe is not content, however, to let Seki's fame as a
teacher rest here, and so he hints at another and rather
esoteric theory, as one of the initiates of the Pythagorean
brotherhood might have given mysterious reference to some
carefully concealed principle of the great master.
"Although", he says, "there is yet another divine method that
is more farreaching, still I shall not attempt to explain it, for
fear that one whose knowledge is so limited as mine would
tend to misrepresent its significance," a tribute, probably,
to the tenzan method, Seki's improvement upon that of the
"Celestial Element". * Takebe's reticence in speaking of it may
merely have reflected the modesty of Seki himself, for of this
modesty we are well assured by divers writers. To boast of
such an invention would have been entirely foreign to the
samurai spirit of Seki and to the exalted principles of Bushido.
On the other hand, this custom of secrecy had existed every
where before Seki's time, as witness the attitude of Tartaglia
and Cardan, and even of a man like Galileo. In Japan, Mori
is said to have kept a secret book that was revealed only to
his most deserving pupils, 3 and Isomura also had one, his
1 TAKEBE, Hatsubi Sampo Yendan Genkai, 1685, preface.
2 Tenzan has a broader meaning that may here be understood. It includes
practically all of Japanese mathematics except possibly yenri. In a restricted
sense it is written mathematics, but it sometimes includes the "Celestial
Element" method.
3 See the Samva Znihitsu.
IO4 VI. Seki Kowa.
book treating of the calculations relating to a circle and an
arc. 1 Seki was so impressed with his discovery that he re
vealed it to his most promising followers only upon their
swearing, with their own blood, never to make it public. And
so, for more than half a century after Seki's death the secret
remained, not becoming known to the world until Arima Raidd,
feudal lord 2 of Kurume, in the island of Kyushu, revealed it
in his Shuki Sampo* in 1769.
This method was called by Seki the kigen seiho, meaning a
method for revealing the true and buried origin of things. The
term suggests the title of the papyrus of Ahmes, written in
Egypt more than three thousand years earlier, "The science
of dark things." It would be interesting to know the origin
and history of this name for algebra or certain algebraic pro
cesses, since it is found in various parts of the world and in
various ages. The tenzan method being the one to which
Takebe seems to have referred in his work of 1685, we are
quite certain that it was invented some time before this date. 4
It is first called by this name by Matsunaga Ryohitsu. It
is related that Lord Naito of Nobeoka, in Kyushu, himself no
mean mathematician, was the one who caused the adoption
of the name, requiring Matsunaga, a pupil of Araki who was
a direct disciple of Seki, to write the Hard Yosan in which it
appears, s
The word tenzan consists of two Chinese ideograms, ten
meaning to restore, and zan meaning to strike off. It would
be most interesting if we could know the relation (if any)
between this term and the name given by Mohammed ibn
Musa alKhowarazmi (c. 830) to his algebra, aljebr w'al
muqabala, which words mean substantially the same thing,
1 Ibid.
2 DaimyO.
3 It was in this book that the value of IT to fifty decimal places was first
printed in Japan, an approximation already reached by Matsunaga.
4 ENDO, in the Toyo Gakugei Zasshi, vol. 14, p. 314.
5 OZAWA'S Lineage of Mathematicians (Japanese), 1801. The HoroYosan is
a manuscript without date.
VI. Seki Kowa. IO5
restoration and reduction. 1 Does this resemblance tell of the
passing of the mystery of "the science of dark things" from
one school to another in the perpetual interchange of thought
in the world's great republic of scholars, or are these re
semblances that are continually met in the history of mathe
matics mere coincidences? This tenzan method may, however,
justly be called a purely Japanese product, the product of Seki's
brain, and quite unrelated to any Chinese treatment. 2
We shall now speak of the notation employed in this method.
This notation is the bosho shiki already mentioned. In earlier
times it had been the habit of Japanese mathematicians to re
present numbers by the sangi method described in Chapter IV
and known as the chushiki.* Seki amplifies this by writing
the numerals at the side of a vertical line, the significance of
which will be explained in a moment. Since these numerals
were written at the side of a line this method of writing them
is known as bosho shiki or "side notation". In our explanation
we necessarly use Latin letters and HinduArabic forms instead
of the Chinese ideograms, but otherwise the representations
are substantially correct. Seki writes , , and   as follows:
3 mn
3)2, n\ or  i, mn\abc, the numerators being placed on the
right and the denominators on the left. Sometimes the vertical
line is replaced by sangi coefficients, as in the case of
rir, 2 7 =\\\\\abc, for 4 ab, ^, and^
Powers of quantities are represented thus:
la 6
715
372 T^ k&
for # 4 , 3tf 6 ^ 8 ,  . It will be seen that the exponent in
each case is one less than that used in occidental mathematics.
1 The varied fortunes of the name for algebra, in Europe, is interesting.
Thus we have such titles as algiebr, algobra, nmkabel, almucable, arte maggiore,
ars magna, coss, cossic art, and so on.
2 ENDO, Book II, p. 8.
3 Sangi notation.
106 VI. Seki Kowa.
The reason is that in the wasan as in Chinese mathematics
the nth power of a quantity is called the "(n I) times self
multiplied". That is, the native oriental exponent shows not
the number of factors but the number of times a quantity is
multiplied by itself. The fractional exponent was not used in
the native algebra of Japan.
The "side notation" was also used in other ways. Thus a + b
might be indicated in either of the ways here shown.
\l or \ a \b
To indicate subtraction an oblique cancelation line was used.
Thus b a was indicated in these four ways:
It will be noticed that this tensan notation was employed in
Seki's yendan method. Indeed the tenzan may be considered
as the notation, while the yendan refers to the method of anal
ysis. It is difficult to justify the extravagant praise of the
disciples of Seki with respect to either of these phases of his
work. He must have been very clear in his own analysis with
his pupils, and this gave them a higher appreciation of the
yendan than anything that has come down to us would warrant.
And as for the notation, while this is an improvement upon
that of the Chinese, the improvement does not seem to have
been so great as to warrant the praise which it has provoked.
It was applied to the entire range of Japanese mathematics
except the yenri or circle principle, 1 but we know that the
Chinese notation would have been quite sufficient for the work
t'o be accomplished. In its application to factoring, the finding
of highest common factor and the lowest common multiple,
the summation of infinite series and of power series of the type
I* + 2" + 3* + ..., the shosaho or method of differences, the
theory of numbers, the tetsujutsu or expansion in series of
the root of a quadratic equation, the calculation relating to
1 See ARIMA'S Shiiki Sampo, 1769; ENDO, Book II, pp. 4, 5, and in the
Toyo Gakugei Zasski, vol. 14, pp. 362 364.
VI. Seki Kowa. IO/
regular polygons, and the study of maxima and minima, the
tensan notation seems to have served its purposes fairly well,
better indeed than any notation known in Japan up to that
time. How much of this application to the various branches
of algebra was due to Seki and how much to his disciples,
we shall never know. The old Pythagorean idea of ipse dixit
seems to have prevailed in Seki's school, and the master may
often have received credit for what the pupil did.
Thus far, indeed, we have not found much in the way of
discovery to justify the high standing of Seki. It is therefore
well to consider some of the more serious contributions attri
buted to him. For this purpose we shall go to a work published
by Otaka Yusho in 1712, although compiled before 1709, that
is, soon after Seki's death. Otaka was a pupil of Araki Son
yei, who had learned from Seki himself, and the book claims
to be a posthumous publication of the works of this master,
edited by Otaka under Araki's guidance. Although this work,
known as the Katsuyo Samps S does not contain the tenzan
system, it gives a good idea of some of Seki's other work, and
on this account the publication was a subject of deep regret
to the brotherhood of his followers. Tradition says that it
was owing to the protests of these followers that no further
publication of Seki's works was undertaken at a time when an
abundance of material was at hand.
One of the subjects treated in the Katsuyo Sampo is the
shosaho or shosa method, a theory that seems to have arisen
from the study of problems like the summation of I* + 2 H + 3*
+ . . . Suppose, for example, we have such a function as
P=a 1 _x + a 2 x 2 + ... + a n x",
where the coefficients are as yet undetermined. Then if a
sufficient number of values P t  are known for various values of
x, the various values ai can be determined, and this is one of
the problems of the shosaho. Professor Hayashi speaks of
the method in general as that of finite differences, and this
certainly is one of its distinguishing features.
1 "A summary of arithmetical rules."
108 VI. Seki Kowa.
This skosaho in its general form is not an invention of Seki's.
It appears to be of Chinese origin, perhaps invented by Kuo
Shouching, a celebrated astronomer of the court of the Mogul
Empire of the I3th and I4th centuries, and possibly even of
earlier origin. There are three special forms, however: (i) the
ruisai shosa of which an illustration has just been given; (2) the
hotel shosa, and (3) the konton shosa, these latter two being
first described in the Shuki Sampo of 1 769. Seki's contribution
was, therefore, a worthy generalization of an older Chinese
device, and the application of this improvement to new problems.
The shosaho was doubtless employed by Otaka in his
Katsuyo Sampo (1712), in which there appears a table that
expresses the formulas for the power series
S r = i r +2 r +y+ ... + n r ,
for r= i, 2, 3, .... N. Such power series were called by
the name hoda, and some of the results of their summation
are as follows:
S 2 =~
5 4 = L (6 #s j 1 5 4
5 5 = ^ (2 n 6 + 6n$ + 5 4 _ ),
1
and so on to
= (2 I2 + i2" + 22 10
In Book III of this same work, the Katsuyo Sampo, there is
his Kakuho narabini YendanZu, a treatment of the subject of
regular polygons, namely of those of sides numbering 3, 4, ... 20.
To illustrate some of the results we shall consider the case
of the apothem of a regular polygon of thirteen sides.
VI. Seki Kowa. 109
Using the annexed figure, as given in the Katsuyo Sampo
(see Fig. 28 for the original), and letting the side of the
1
polygon be unity, the apothem x, and the radius y, we have
Now
(i + 4f 2 ) 3 = i + I2x 2 + 48^ + 0>4x 6 4.og6xabcde,
a statement made without any explanation. Otaka now pro
ceeds by a series of unproved statements to develop two
equations, viz.,
 i + $\2x 2 1 14,400 x* + 109,824^ 329,472 X* + 292,864 x 10
 53,248 x" = o,
from which we are to find x, the apothem, and
from which we are to find y, the radius.
The treatment of the circle is given in Book IV of the
Katsuyo Sampo and is similar to that attempted by Muramatsu
in his Sanso of 1663. A circle of unit diameter is taken, a
square is inscribed, and the sides of the inscribed regular polygon
are continually doubled until a polygon of 2 1 ? sides is reached.
VI. SekiKowa.
o
X
Fig. 28. From Otaka's Katsuyo Sampo (1712).
VI. Seki Kowa. Ill
The treatment thus far is not at all original, but the work is
carried farther than in Muramatsu's treatise and it represents
about the same state of mathematical progress that was found
in Europe some fifty years earlier than Muramatsu, or about a
century before the death of Seki. Two new features, however,
appear. Of these the first is that if the perimeters of the last
three polygons are
=3 14159 26487 76985 6708
=3. HI59 26523 86591 3571 +
c=$. 14159 26532 88992 7759
then
TT = b + 77 ,
= 3. 14159265359
which reminds us of some of the incorrect assumptions of
the AntiphonBryson period, and of the close of the sixteenth
century in Europe.
The second feature is, however, the interesting one. Starting
with the fraction , if we increase the denominator succes
sively by unity, and then increase the numerator successively
by 4 or by 3 according as the previous fraction is less or
greater than the known decimal value of rr, we shall obtain a
series of values as follows:
(1) Y = 3, "Old value," less than TT
(2)  = 3.5, greater than TT
(4) 7 = 325,
(5)73.2,
(6) T  = 3166 ...,
(7) 22 = 3. 142857 .. ., "Exact value,"
112 VI. Seki Kowa.
(8) y = 3.125, "Chih's value," less than rr
(20) = 3.15, "Tung Ling's value," greater than TT
(25) ~ = 3 1 6, "Old Japanese value,"
(45) ^ = 3 1 5 5 . , "Liu Chi's value,"
(50) i^= 3. 14, "Hui's (Liu Hui's) value," less than TT
(113) ff= 3.14159292 . . ., greater than TT
The names above quoted are given by Otaka, and are
"2. C C
probably those used by Seki. The last value, , is not as
signed a name, which seems to show that Seki was not aware
of Tsu Ch'ungchih's measurement of the circle as set forth
in his Chuisku, and recorded in Wei Chih's SuiS/tu. 1 The
value itself first appears in printed form in Japan in the works
of Ikeda Shoi (1672), Matsuda Seisoku (1680) and Takebe
Kenko (1683).
The problem of computing the length of a circular arc also
appears in the Katsuyo Sampo, the formula being given as
1276900 (dh}$ a 2 = 5 107600^ // 23835413 d$ k*
+ 43470240 d*> h* 37997429 d* fa
+ 1 5047062 d 2 /i$ 1 501025 dJP
281290/27,
where d diameter, h = height of segment, and a = length
of arc. In the special case where d= 10 and // = 2 this
reduces to
41841459200 a 2 == 3597849073280.
The method 2 of deriving this formula seems to have been
purely inductive, the result of repeated measurements, since the
explanation is so obscure as to be entirely unintelligible.
1 "Records of the Sui Dynasty." This fact was known, however, to
Takebe, who mentions it in his Ftikyu Tetsujntsu of 1722. It is also given
in Matsunaga's Hoyen Sankyo of 1739. See also p. 14, above. The original
Chuishu of Tsu Ch'ungchih has been lost.
2 Perhaps relates to the shosa method in a modified form.
VI. Seki Kowa. 113
The volume of the sphere is computed in the Katsuyo Sampd
(and also in Seki's RitsuyenritsiiKai} in an ingenious manner.
The sphere is cut into 50, 100, and 200 segments of equal
altitude, the diameter being taken as 10. From this Otaka obtains
in some way the three parameters 666.4, 666.6, 666.65, each
of which he multiplies by to obtain the three volumes. Calling
the parameters a, b, and c, he now takes a mean in this manner:
as in the case of the circle. Multiplying by
= , we have
4 4x113
 ^'SXIPQO
339 678
2 r r
for the required volume. This amounts to taking g^ for
^, which means that the formula v= nr* is correctly used.
One of Seki's favorite studies was the theory of equations,
a subject treated in his works on the Kaiho Hempen* the
Byodai Meichi,* the Daijutsu Bengi*, the Kaiho Sanshiki* and
the Kaihd Hengijutsuf In the first of these works he class
ifies equations into four kinds, the jensho shiki (perfect equa
tions), hcnsho shiki (varied equations), kosho shiki (mixed equa
tions), and the musho shiki (rootless equations), a system not
unlike those found in the works of the Persian and Arabian
writers, the classification according to degree being relatively
modern even in Europe. By a perfect equation he means
one that has only a single root, positive or negative. A varied
equation is one in which several roots occur, but all of the
same sign. A mixed equation is one in which several roots
1 "Various topics about equations."
2 Literally, "On making pathological problems perfect."
3 Literally, "Discussion on the data of problems."
4 Literally, "Considerations on the solution of equations."
5 Literally, "On new methods for the solution of equations."
114
VI. Seki Kowa.
occur, but not all of the same sign. A rootless equation is
one having neither a positive nor a negative root, restricted
as Seki was aware to equations of even degree. 1
In the Kailio Hompen 2 Seki treats of positive and negative
roots, and sets forth a method called the tekizinhd* represent
ed by the following table:
o degree
i
i
i
I
i
i
i
ist.
i
2
3
4
5
6
2d.
I
3
6
10
15
3d.
i
4
10
20
4th.
i
5
15
5th.
i
6
6th.
I
The method of deriving this table, analogous to that for the
Pascal Triangle, is evident. Indeed, the vertical columns are
simply the horizontal ones of the usual triangular array. Seki
does not tell how the numbers are obtained, and no explanation
seems to have been given by any Japanese until Wada Nei
gave one in the first half of the nineteenth century.* Such an
array is rather obvious and was known long before Pascal or
even Apianus (1527) published it.s Seki might have used it,
as others in the West had done, for binomial coefficients, but
it was not meant by him for this purpose.
In his Dyddai Meichi Seki calls attention to the fact that
* I. e., in general. Of course we have also x = V 2, x = iti, etc., as
well as jr 3 = V 2, etc., although Seki makes no mention of such forms,
having apparently no conception of the imaginary root.
2 The KaihoHoupen of Hayashi's History, part I, p. 52.
3 Literally, "Vanishing method," relating to maxima and minima.
4 In connection with his theory of maxima and minima.
5 SMITH, D. E., Rara Arithmetica, Boston, 1908, p. 155.
VI. Seki Kowa. 115
the mensuration of the circle or of any regular polygon requires
but a single given quantity; that of a rectangle or pyramid,
two given quantities; and that of a trapezoid, three. He then
designates as tendai (insufficient problems) those problems in
which there are not enough data for a solution, while those
having too many data are designated as handai (excessive
problems). He also states that in certain problems, although
the data are correct as to number, no perfect answer is to be
expected, and these problems he calls kyodai (imaginary). They
arise, he says, in three cases: (i) where there is no root,
(2) where all roots are negative, and (3) where the roots of
the equation do not satisfy the conditions of the original problem.
To illustrate the latter case he uses a simple problem involving
the elementary principle of geometric continuity. He proposes
to find the greater base of a trapezoid of altitude 9, the
difference between the bases being 4, and the smaller base
being 10 less than the altitude. The problem is trivial, the
smaller base being 9 10 or i, and the greater being 4 I
or 3. The smaller base, i, does not appear to Seki to
satisfy a geometric problem, so he proceeds with considerable
circumlocution to explain what is perfectly obvious, that the
trapezoid is a cross quadrilateral. The question of possible
roots of an equation is discussed at some length but in a
very elementary manner.
Problems leading to equations with two or more roots, or
with negative roots, or with positive roots that do not satisfy
the conditions of the problems, are called by Seki hendai or
pathological problems, and were intended to be transformed
into the ordinary determinate cases by a change in the wording.
In his solution of numerical equations Seki not only used
the "celestial element" plan by which the Chinese had anti
cipated Horner's Method as early as 1247, but he effected at
least one improvement on the Chinese plan, 1 unconsciously
following a line laid down by Newton.
1 This is seen in two manuscript works entitled Kalho Sanshiki and
Kaiho Hengijutsu.
VI. Seki Ko\va.
For example, in the equation
the "celestial element" method gives the first two figures of
one root as 1.7. Proceeding as usual in Horner's Method
we have an equation of the form
0.29+
;r 2 = o.
Seki now takes ^ = 0.063, but unlike his predecessors he
treats this as negative since the two coefficients are positive,
and proceeds as before, his next equation being of the form
0.004169 + 4.474 x + x 2 = o.
Repeating the process we have for the continuation of the
root 0.0009318. Continuing the same process Seki obtains
for the root 1.76393202250020.
One of Seki's Seven Books 1 is devoted to magic squares
and circles, a subject to which he may have been led by his
study (in 1661) of a Chinese work by Yang Hui. He con
siders separately the magic squares with an odd number and
an even number of cells, and with him begins the first scientific,
general treatment of the subject in Japan. He begins by putting
into obscure verse his rule for arranging a square of 3* cells.
It would have been impossible to make out the meaning had
Seki not given the square in a subsequent part of his manu
script. As here shown the square is the common one that
was well known long before Seki's time. Upon his method
1 The Hojin Yensan, (Hojin Ensan) revised in manuscript in 1683. Araki
gave to these the name of "Seven Books" (Shichibusho), and these he handed
down to his disciples.
VI. Seki Kowa.
117
for a square of 3 2 cells he bases his general rule for one of
(2nf i) 2 cells, and this is substantially as follows:
Begin with the cell next to the left of the upper righthand
corner and number to the right and down the righthand
12
ii
10
5
4
i
2
47
3
44
6
43
7
42
8
4i
9
48
39
40
45
46
49
38
column until n is reached. In the annexed figure we have a
square of
(2n + i) 2 = (2.3 + i) 2 = 7 2 cells.
We therefore number until 3 is reached. Then go to the left,
from the cell to the left of i, until 2n I (in this case
2.3 i = 5) is reached. Then continue down the right side
to the cell preceding the lower righthand one, giving 6, 7, 8, 9.
Then continue along the top row until the upper lefthand
corner is reached, giving 10, n, 12. This leaves the lefthand
column to be completed, and the lower row to be filled. This
is done by filling all except the corner cells by the comple
ments to (2n + i) 2 + i of the respective numbers on the oppo
site side, in this case the complements to the number 50.
Thus, 50 3 = 47, 50 6 = 44, and so on. The corner
cells are complements to 50 of the opposite corners.
The next step is to take n figures to the left of the upper
righthand corner and interchange them with the corre
sponding ones in the lower row, and similarly for the n figures
n8
VI. Seki Kowa.
above the lower right hand corner. The square then appears
as here shown.
12
ii
10
45
46
49
2
47
3
44
6
7
43
8
42
9
4i
48
39
40
5
4
i
38
To fill the inner cells Seki follows a similar rule, except
that the numbers now begin with 13. Without entering upon
the exact details it will be easy for the reader to trace the
plan by studying the result as here shown. The innermost
square of 3 2 cells is filled by the method first given.
12
ii
10
45
46
49
2
47
20
19
35
37
14
3
44
34
24
29
22
16
6
7
17
23
25
27
33
43
8
18
28
21
26
32
42
9
36
3i
15
13
30
4i
48
39
40
5
4
i
38
The evencelled squares have always proved more trouble
some than the oddcelled ones. Seki first gives a rule for a
square of 4 2 cells, with the result as here shown. He then
VI. Seki Kowa.
divides these squares into those that are simply even and
those that are doubly even. 1
4
9
5
16
1.4
7
ii
2
15
6
10
3
I
12
8
13
For the simply even squares above 4*, Seki begins, with the
third cell to the left of the upper righthand corner, preceding
thence to the left, as shown in the figure. Then he goes back
to the upper righthand cell (for 5, in the case here shown)
and proceeds down the righthand column to the third cell
from the bottom. He then fills the vacant cell at the top
4
3
2
i
9
5
3i
6
30
7
29
8
27
10
32
34
35
36
28
33
(in this case with 9), and puts the next number (10) in the
next cell in the righthand column. The remaining cells in
the lefthand column and the lower row are complements
of the corresponding numbers with respect to 4 (n + i) 2 + I,
there being 2 (n + i) elements on a side, as in the case of an
oddcelled square. The interchange of elements is now made
in a manner somewhat like that of the oddcelled square,
1 [2 ( + i)] 2 , and [2 (2 n)] 2 .
120
VI. Seki Kowa.
the result being here shown for the case of a square of 6 2
cells. The rest of the process is as in the odd celled case.
4
3
35
36
28
5
6
3i
30
7
8
29
10
27
32
34
2
I
9
33
For the doubly even magic square the first step of Seki's
method will be sufficiently understood by reference to the
following figure, in which the number is 8 2 . The inner squares
are filled in order until the one of 4 2 cells is reached, when
that is filled in the manner first shown.
6
5
4
3
2
I
8
7
56
9
55
10
54
ii
53
12
52
13
5i
14
58
60
61
62
63
64
57
59
Seki simplified the treatment of magic circles, giving in sub
stance the following rule:
Let the number of diameters be n. Begin with i at the
center and write the numbers in order on any radius, and so
VI. Seki Kowa.
121
on along the next n i. Then take the radius opposite the
last one and set the numbers down in order, beginning at the
outside, and so on along the rest of the radii. In Fig. 29 the
sum on any circle is 140, and for readers who have not be
come familiar with the Chinese numerals the following diagram,
although arranged for only thirty three numbers, will be of service:
In another of Seki's manuscripts T there appears the Josephus
problem already mentioned in connection with Muramatsu.
Mention should be made of Seki's work on the mensuration
of solids, which appears in two of his manuscripts. 2 He begins
1 Sandaisu Kempu (Kenpti).
2 The Kyitseki (Calculation of Areas and Volumes) and the Kyuketsu
ciigyo So (An incomplete treatise on the volume of a sphere).
122
VI. Seki Kowa.
by considering the volume of a ring 1 generated by the revolu
tion of a segment of a circle about a diameter parallel to the
chord of the segment. He states that the volume is equal to
Fig. 29. Magic circle, from the Seki reprint of 1908.
the product of the cube of the chord and the moment of
spherical volume.*
He finds this volume by taking from the sphere the central
1 He calls it an "arcring," kokan or kokwan in Japanese.
2 That is, the volume of a unit sphere. It is called by Seki the ritsuyen
seki ritsu or gyoku seki ho.
VI. Seki Kowa.
123
cylinder and the two caps. 1 He also considers the case in
which the axis cuts the segment.
B
0
He likewise finds the volume generated by a lune formed
by two arcs, the axis being parallel to the common chord,
and either cutting the lune or lying wholly outside. Such
work does not seem very difficult at present, but in Seki's
time it was an advance over anything known in Japan. 2 These
problems were to Japan what those of Cavalieri were to Europe,
making a way for the Katsujutsu or method of multiple inte
gration ^ of a later period.
Seki also concerned himself with indeterminate equations,
beginning with ax by = I, to be solved for integers. 4 His
first indeterminate problem is as follows: "There is a certain
number of things of which it is only known that this number
divided by 5 leaves a remainder I, and divided by 7 leaves a
remainder 2. Required the number."
1 This is stated by an anonymous commentary known as the Kyiiketsu
Hertgyo So Genkai.
2 ENDO, Book II, p. 45.
3 Or rather the method of repeated application of the tetsujittsu expansion.
Some of the problems involved only a single integration.
4 This appears in his Shiii Shoyaku no Ho, written in 1683. His method
of attacking these problems he calls the senkan futsu. Problems of this
nature appeared in the Kivatsuyo Sampo.
124 VI  Seki
Since the number is evidently $x + I, and also 'jy + 2,
we have
S x+ i = 77 + 2,
whence 5 y 7y = i ,
which is in the form that he is considering. By what he
calls the "method of leaving unity", he solves and finds that
#=3, jp = 2, and the number is 16. He then proceeds to
generalize the case for any number of divisors. 1
Seki also gives the following typical problem:
"There is a certain number of things of which it is only
known that this number multiplied by 35 and divided by 42
leaves a remainder 35; and multiplied by 44 and divided by
32 leaves a remainder 28; and multiplied by 45 and divided
by 50 leaves a remainder 35. Required the number." His
result is 13 and it is obtained by a plan analogous to the
one used in the first problem. His other indeterminate problems
show a good deal of ingenuity in arranging the conditions,
but it is not necessary to enter further into this field.
One of the most marked proofs of Seki's genius is seen in
his anticipation of the notion of determinants. 2 The school of
Seki offered in succession five diplomas, representing various
degrees of efficiency. The diploma of the third class was
called the Fukudaimenkyo, and represented eighteen or nineteen
subjects. The last of these subjects related to the fukudai
problems or problems involving determinants, and since it
appears in a revision of i683, 3 its discovery antedates this
year. Leibnitz (1646 1716), to whom the Western world
generally assigns the first idea of determinants 4 , simply asserted
1 Joichi jutsu. He seems to have taken it from the Chinese method of
Ch'in Chiushao as set forth in the Sushu Chiuchang of 1247.
2 T. HAYASHI, The "Fukudai" and Determinants in Japanese Mathematics.
Tokyd SugakuButurigakkwai Kizi, vol. V (2), p. 254 (1910).
3 The Fukudaiwokaisuruho or Kaifukudainoho (Method of solving fukudai
problems).
4 T. MuiR, Theory of Determinants in the historic order of its development.
London, 1890; D. E. SMITH, History of Modern Mathematics. New York,
1906, p. 26.
VI. Seki Kowa, 12$
that in order that the equations
IO+ \\X\ I2J = O, 20+ 21*+ 22J=O, 30 + 3 I # + 32j = O
may have the same roots the expression
10.21.32 10.22.3111.20.32+ 11.22.30 + 12.20.3112.21.30
must vanish. 1 On the other hand, Seki treats of n equations.
While Leibnitz's discovery was made in 1693 and was not
published until after his death, it is evident that Seki was not
only the discoverer but that he had a much broader idea than
that of his great German contemporary. To show the essential
features of his method we may first suppose that we have
two equations of the second degree,
ax z + bx + c o
ax* + b'x + c = o.
Eliminating x* we have
(a b ab') x + (a c ac') = o,
and eliminating the absolute term and suppressing the factor x
we have
(ac a c) x + {be b' c) = o.
That is, we have two equations of the second degree and
transform them into two equations of the first degree by what
the Japanese called the process of folding (tataimi). In the
same way we may transform n equations of the w th degree
into n equations of the n I degree. 2 From these latter
equations the wasanka* proceeded to eliminate the various
powers of x. Since it was their custom to write only the
coefficients, including all zero coefficients, and not to equate
to zero, 4 their array of coefficients formed in itself a deter
minant, although they did not look upon it as a special function
of the coefficients. On this array Seki now proceeds to per
* See MUIR, loc. cit., p. 5.
2 Called Kwanshiki (substitute equations).
3 Follower of the wasan (native mathematics).
4 The second member always being zero in a Japanese equation.
126 VI. Seki Kowa.
form two operations, the san (to cut) and the chi (to manage).
The san consisted in the removal of a constant literal factor
in any row or column, exactly as we remove a factor from
a determinant today. If the array (our determinant) equalled
zero, this factor was at once dropped. The chi was the same
operation with respect to a numerical factor.
Seki also expands this array of coefficients, practically the
determinant that is the eliminant of the equations. In this
expansion some of the products are positive and these are
called set (kept alive), while others are negative and are called
koku (put to death), and rules for determining these signs are
given. Seki knew that the number of terms in the expansion
of a determinant of the th order was n\, and he also knew
the law of interchange of columns and rows. 1 Whatever, there
fore, may be our opinion as to Seki's originality in the yenri, 2
or even as to his knowledge of that system at all or as to
its value, we are compelled to recognize that to him rather
than to Leibnitz is due the first step in the theory which after
wards, chiefly under the influence of Cramer (1750) and Cauchy
(1812), was developed into the theory of determinants.^ The
theory occupied the attention of members of the Seki school
from time to time as several anonymous manuscripts assert, 4
but the fact that nothing was printed leads to the belief
1 The details of these laws as expressed by the wasanka of the' Seki
school have been made out with painstaking care by Professor HAYASHI,
and for them the reader is referred to his article.
2 See Chapter VIII.
3 The best source for the history of the subject in the West is MUIR,
loc. cit.
4 Professor HAYASHI has several in his possession. An anonymous one
that seems to have been written in the eighteenth century, entitled Fukudai
riu san ka yendan justsu, is in the library of one of the authors (D. E. S.\
A contemporary of Seki's, Izeki Chishin, published a work entitled Sampo
Hakki in 1690, in which the subject of determinants is treated, and upwards
of twenty other works on the subject are now known. It is strange that
the Japanese made no practical use of the idea in connection with the
solution of linear equations, and entirely forgot the theory in the later period
of the wasan.
VI. Seki Kowa. I2/
that the process long remained a secret. It must be said,
however, that the Chinese and Japanese method of writing
a set of simultaneous equations was such that it is rather
remarkable that no predecessor of Seki's discovered the idea
of the determinant.
We have now considered all of Seki's work save only the
mysterious yenri, or circle principle. It must be confessed
that aside from his anticipation of determinants the result is
disappointing. In Chapter VIII we shall consider the yenri,
of which there is grave doubt that Seki was the author, and
aside from this and his discovery of determinants his reputation
has no basis in any great field of mathematics. That he was
a wonderful teacher there can be no doubt; that he did a
great deal to awaken Japan to realize her power in learning
no one will question; that he was ingenious in improving
mathematical devices is evident in everything he attempted;
but that he was a great mathematician, the discoverer pf any
epochmaking theory, a genius of the highest order, there is
not the slightest evidence. He may be compared with Christian
Wolf rather than Leibnitz, and with Barrow rather than Newton.
When, on November 15, 1907, His Majesty the Emperor of
Japan paid great honor to his memory by bestowing upon
him posthumously the junior class of the fourth Court rank,
he rendered unprecedented distinction to a great scholar and
a great teacher, but not to a great discoverer of mathematical
theory.
t .
CHAPTER VII.
Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences.
Whether or not Seki can be called a great genius in mathe
matics, certain it is that his contemporaries looked upon him
as such, and that he reacted upon them in such way as to
arouse among the scholars of his day the highest degree of
enthusiasm. Although he followed in the footsteps of Pythagoras
in his relations with his pupils, admitting only a few select
initiates to a knowledge of his discoveries, 1 and although he
kept his discoveries from the masses and gave no heed to the
researches of his contemporaries, nevertheless the fact that he
could accomplish results, that he could solve the puzzling
problems of the day, and that he had such a large following
of disciples, made him a stimulating example to others who
were not at all in touch with him. In view of this fact it is
now proposed to speak of some of Seki's contemporaries before
considering his own relation to the yenri, and at the same
time to consider the question of possible Western influence at
this period.
Two years before Seki published (1674) his Hatsubi Sampo;
namely in 1672, Hoshino Sanenobu published his KokOgensho,
and in 1674 Murase, a pupil of Isomura, wrote the Sampo
Futsudan Kai. A year later (1675), Yuasa Tokushi, a pupil
of Muramatsu, published in Japan the Chinese Suanfa Tung
tsong. In 1 68 1 Okuda Yuyeki, a Nara physician, wrote the
Shimpen Sansuki. Two years later, Takebe Kenko published
1 A custom always followed in the native Japanese schools, not merely
in mathematics but also in other lines.
VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences. 129
the Kenki Sampo, in which he solved the problems proposed
in Ikeda Shoi's Sugaku Jojo Orai of 1672, without making use of
the tenzan algebra of Seki, saying that "this touches upon
what my mathematical master wishes kept secret," thus leaving
unsolved those problems that required the senkanjntsu and
similar devices. It was in the work of Ikeda that the old
3 C C
Chinese value of TT,  , was first made known in Japan.
In the same year (1683) Kozaka Sadanao published his
Kuichi Sangakusho? He had been the pupil of a certain
Tokuhisa Komatsu, founder of the Kuichi school of mathe
matics, a school that was much given to astrology and
mysticism. 2 Also in this year Nakanishi Seiko published his
Kokogen Tekitosku, a book that was followed in 1684 by the
Sampo Zoku Tekitoshu written by his brother, Nakanishi Seiri.
These brothers had been pupils of Ikeda Shoi, and one of
them 3 opened a school called after his name.
In 1684 the second edition of Isomura's Ketsugisho appeared, 4
and in the following year Takebe's commentary on Seki's
Hatsubi Sampo was published. This latter made generally
known the yendan method as taught by Seki.
In 1687 Mochinaga and Ohashi published the Kaisanki
Komokup and in 1688 the Tdsho Kaisanki. 6 In the first of
these works we already find approaches to the crude methods
of integration (see Fig. 30) that characterized the labors of
the early Seki school. In the year 1688 Miyagi Seiko, the
teacher of Ohashi, published the Meigen Sampo, to be followed
in 1695 by hi s Wakan Sampo ^ in which he considers in detail
the numerical equation of the 1458th degree already mentioned
by Seki, and attempts to solve the hundred fifty problems
1 Literally, the Mathematical Treatise of the Kuichi School.
2 ENDO, Book II, p. 18.
3 The eldest, Nakanishi Seiko, may have studied under one of Seki's
pupils. ENDO, Book II, p. 20.
4 See p. 65.
5 Literally, the Summary of Kaisanki.
6 Literally, the Kaisanki with Commentary.
7 Japanese and Chinese Mathematical Methods.
9
130 VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences.
in Sato's Kongenki and the fifteen in Sawaguchi's Kokon
Sampoki (1670), all by the yendan process.
Miyagi founded a school in Kyoto that bore his name, and
to him is sometimes referred a manuscript 1 on the quadrature
of the circle. He was highly esteemed as a scholar by his
contemporaries.*
In 1689 Ando Kichiji of Kyoto published a work entitled
Ikkyoku Sampo in which the yendan algebra is set forth, and
fj 9 8 8 9 fl 9 fl # fl '3 l3 3\ $
Fig. 30. Early integration, from Mochinaga and Ohashi's
Kaisanki Komoku (1687).
in 1691 Nakane Genkei published a sequel to it under the
title Shicliijo Beki Yenshiki.
In 1696, Ikeda Shoi published a pamphlet on the mensur
ation of the circle and sphere^ and in 1698 Sato Moshun
1 The Kohal Shokai. This is, however, an anonymous work of the
eighteenth century.
2 ENDO, Book II, p. 29.
3 The Gyokuyen Kyokuseki, the Limiting Values of the circular Area and
spherical Volume. In the same year (1696) Nakane Genkei published his
Tenmon Zukwai Hakki, an astronomical work of importance. The best
astronomical treatise of this period is Shibukawa Shunkai's Tenmon Keilo, a
manuscript in 8 vols. Nakane Genkei also wrote a work on the calendar,
the Kmva Tsureki that was later revised by Kitai Oshima.
VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences. 131
Fig. 31. Mensuration of the circle, from Sato Moshun's
Tengen Shinan (1698).
9*
132 VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences.
published his Tengen Shinan or Treatise on the Celestial
Element Method. In this his method of finding the area of a
circle is distinctly Western (Fig. 31), although it is so simple
as to claim no particular habitat.
This list is rather meaningless in itself, without further
description of the works and a statement of their influence
upon Japanese mathematics, and hence it may be thought to
be of no value. It is inserted, however, for two purposes:
first, that it might be seen that the Seki period, whether through
Seki's influence or not, whether through the incipient influx of
Western ideas or because of a spontaneous national awakening,
was a period of special activity; and second, that it might be
shown that out of a considerable list of contemporary writers,
only those who in some way came under Seki's influence
attained to any great prominence.
We now turn to the second and more important question,
did Seki and his contemporaries receive an impetus from the
West? Did the Dutch traders, who had a monopoly of the
legitimate intercourse with mercantile Japan, carry to the
scholars of Nagasaki and vicinity, where the Dutch were
permitted to trade, some knowledge of the great advance in
mathematics then taking place in the countries of Europe ?
Did the Jesuit missionaries in China, who had followed Matteo
Ricci in fostering the study of mathematics in Peking, succeed
in transmitting some inkling of their knowledge across the
China Sea? Or did some adventurous scholar from Japan risk
death at the order of the Shogun, 1 and venture westward in
some trading ship bound homewards to the Netherlands? These
are some of the questions that arise, and which there are
legitimate reasons for asking, but they are questions that future
research will have more definitely to answer. Some material
for a reply exists, however, and the little knowledge that we
have may properly be mentioned as a basis for future in
vestigation.
It has for some time been known, for instance, that there
1 Even the importation of foreign books was suppressed in 1630.
VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences. 133
was a Japanese student of mathematics in Holland during
Seki's time, 1 doubtless escaping by means of one of the Dutch
trading vessels from Nagasaki. We know nothing of his
Japanese name, but the Latin form adopted by him was
Petrus Hartsingius, and we know that he studied under Van
Schooten at Leyden. That he was a scholar of some distinc
tion is seen in the fact that Van Schooten makes mention of him
in his Tractatns de concinnandis demonstrationibus geometricis
ex calculo algebraico in one of his editions of Descartes's La
Gcoincfrie, 2 as follows: "placuit majoris certitudinis ergo
idem Theorema Synthetice verificare, procendo a concessis
ad quaesita, prout ad hoc me instigavit praestantessimus ac
undequaque doctissimus juvenis D. Petrus Hartsingius, lapo
nensis, quondam in addiscendis Mathematis, discipulus meus
solertissimus."^ The passage in Van Schooten was first
noticed by Giovanni Vacca, who communicated it to Professor
Moritz Cantor.
Some further light upon the matter is thrown by a record
in the Album Studiosontm Acadcmiae Lngduno Batavae, 1 ' as
follows:
"Petrus Hartsingius Japonensis, 31, M. Hon. C." with the
date May 6, 1669. Here the numeral stands for the age of
the student, M. for medicine, his major subject, and Hon. C.
for Honoris Causa, his record having been an honorable one.
1 HARZER, P., Die exaclen Wissemchaften im alien Japan, Jahresbericht der
dcittschen MathematikerVereinigung, Bd. 14, 1905, Heft 6; MIKAMI, Y., Zur
Frage abendliindischer Einfliisse auf die japanische Mathematik am Ende des
sicbzehnten Jahrhunderts, Bibliotheca Mathematica, Bd. VII (3), Heft 4.
2 HARZER quotes from the 1661 edition, p. 413. We have quoted from
the Amsterdam edition of 1683, p. 413.
3 T. HAYASHI remarks that the same words appear in a posthumous work
of Van Schooten's, but this probably refers to the above editio tertia of 1683.
See HAYASHI, T., On the Japanese who was in Europe about the middle of the
seventeenth century (in Japanese), Journal of the 7"okyo Physics School, May, 1905;
MIKAMI, Y., Hatono Soha and the mathematics of Sek'i, in the Nieuw ArchieJ
i'oo> Wiskitnde, tweede Reeks, Negende Deel, 1910.
4 Hague, 1875. It gives a list of students and professors from 1575
to 1875.
134 VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences.
Mathematics, his first pursuit, had therefore given place to
medicine, and in this subject, as in the other, he had done
noteworthy work. Possibly the death of Van Schooten in 1661
may have influenced this change, but it is. more likely that
the common union of mathematics and medicine, as indeed
of all the sciences in those days, 1 led him to combine his two
interests. Moreover certain other records inform us that Hart
singius lived in the house of one Pieter van Nieucasteel by
the Langebrugge, a bit of information that adds a touch 01
reality to the picture. This record would therefore lead to
the belief that he was only twentytwo years old when he was
mentioned in the year of Van Schooten's death (1661), or
probably only twentyone when he, a doctissimus juvenis, and
quondam in addiscendis, verified the theorem for his teacher.
A careful examination of the Leyden records as set forth
in the Album Studiosorum throws a good deal more light on
the matter than has as yet appeared. In the first place the
Hartsingius was adopted as a good Dutch name, it appearing
in such various forms as Hartsing and Hartsinck, and may
very likely have belonged to the merchant under whose
auspices the unknown student went to Holland. In the next
place, Hartsingius was in Holland for a long time, fifteen years
at least, and was off and on studying in the university at
Leyden. He is first entered on the rolls under date August 29,
1654, as "Petrus Hartsing Japonensis. 20, P," a boy of twenty
in the faculty of philosophy. This would have placed his birth
in 1634 or 1635, but as we shall see, he was not very par
ticular as to exactness in giving his age. 2 He next appears
on the rolls in the entry of date August 28, 1660, "Petrus
Hartzing Japonensis, 22, M." He has now changed his course
to medicine, and his age would now place his birth in 1638
or 1639, four years later than stated before. Since, however,
1 Witness, for example, the mention made by Van Schooten in the 1683
edition (p. 385) above cited, of the assistence received from Erasmius
Bartholinus, mathematician and physician in Copenhagen.
2 See Album, col. 438.
VII, Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences. 135
the difficulty of language is to be considered, together with
the fact that such records, hastily made, are apt to be in
exact, this is easily understood. He next appears in the
Album under date May 6, 1669, as already sfated. He there
fore began in 1654, and was still at work in 1669, but he had
not been there continuously.
Further light is thrown upon his career by the fact that he
was not alone in leaving Japan, perhaps about 1652. He had
with him a companion of the same age and of similar tastes.
In the Album, under date September 4, 1654, appears this
entry: "Franciscus Carron Japonensis, 20, P." Within a week,
therefore, of the first enrollment of Hartsingius, another Japanese
of same age, and doubtless his companion in travel, registered
in the same faculty. But while Hartsingius remained in Leyden
for years, we hear no more of Carron. Did he die, leaving
his companion alone in this strange land? Did he go to some
other university? Or did he make his way back to Japan? 1
Now who was this Petrus Hartsingius who not only braved
death by leaving his country at a time when such an act was
equivalent to high treason, but who was excellent as a mathe
matician? What ever became of him? Did he die, an unknown
though promising student, in some part of the West, or did
he surreptitiously find his way back to his native land? If he
passed his days in Europe did he send any messages from
time to time to his friends, telling them of the great world in
which he dwelt, and in particular of the medical work and the
mathematics of the intellectual center of Northern Europe? In
other words, for our immediate purposes, could the mathe
matics of the West, or any intimation of what was being
accomplished by its devotees, have reached Japan in Seki's
time?
1 SCHOTEL, G. D. ]., De Academie (e Leiden in de i6e, i?e en i8e eeuw
Haarlem, 1875, speaks (p. 266) of Japanese students at Leyden, and a further'
search may yield more information. We have been over the lists with much
care from 1650 to 1670, and less carefully for a few years preceding and
following these dates.
136 VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences.
These questions are more easily asked than answered, but
it is by no means improbable that the answers will come in
due time. We have only recently had the problem stated,
and the search for the solution has little more than just begun,
while among all of the literature and traditions of the Japanese
people it is not only possible but probable that the future
will reveal that for which we are seeking.
At present there is a single possible clue to the solution.
We know that a certain physician named Hatono Soha, who
flourished in the second half of the seventeenth century, did
study abroad and did return to his native land. 1 Hatono was
a member of the Nakashima 2 family, and before he went abroad
he was known as Nakashima Chozaburo. The family was of
the samurai class, and formerly had been retainers of the
Lord of Choshu or of the Lord of Iwakuni,3 feudal nobles
who had made the Nakashimas at one time abundantly wealthy,
but who had dishonestly deprived them of much of their means
during the infancy of two of the heirs. It was because of this
wrong that the family had left their former home and service
and had repaired to the island of Kyushu to seek to mend
their fortunes. It was thus that they came to Nagasaki, and
that the young Nakashima Chozaburo met a Dutch trader
with whom he departed into the forbidden world beyond the
boundaries of the empire. It would seem, now, that we ought
to be able to ascertain the date of the departure of the young
* For much of this information we are indebted to S. Hatono, a lineal
descendent of the physician in question, and bearing his name. He informs
us that the story was originally recorded in a manuscript entitled Tsuboi Idan
which was destroyed by fire. See also ISHIGAMI, T., Hatono Soha in the
Chiigivai Iji Shimpo, no. 369, Aug. 5, 1895; YOKOYAMA, T., A physician of
the Dutch school who went abroad two centuries ago, and his surgical instruments
(in Japanese), in the Kyoyuku Gakujutsu Kai, vol. 4, January 1901, (an article
that leaves much to be desired in the matter of clearness); FUJIKAWA, Y.,
History of Japanese Medicine (in Japanese); YOKOYAMA, T., History of Education
in Japan (in Japanese).
2 In the eastern part of Japan this name commonly appears as Nakajima,
but Nakashima is the preferred form.
3 The latter was subject to the former.
VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences. 137
samurai, and to trace his wanderings, especially as he returned
and could, at least in the secrecy of his family, have told
his story. We are, however, quite uncertain as to any of these
matters. His descendants have kept the tradition that his visit
abroad was in the Manji era, and since this extended from
1658 to 1 66 1, it included the time that Hartsingius was in
Leyden. Tradition also says that he visited the capital of
Namban, which at that time meant not only the Spanish
peninsula, but the present and former colonies of Spain and
Portugal, and which included Holland. While in this city
he learned medicine from someone whose name resembled
Postow or Bostow, 1 and after some years he again returned
to Japan.
Arrived in his own country Nakashima was in danger of
being beheaded for his violation of the law against emigration,
and this may have caused the journeying from place to place
which tradition relates of him. It is more probable, however,
that his skill as a physician rendered him immune, the officials
closing their eyes to a violation of the law which might be
most helpful to themselves or their families in case of sickness.
The danger seems to have passed through the permission
granted by the Shogun that two European physicians, Almans
and Caspar Schambergen should be permitted to practise at
Nagasaki. Thereupon Nakashima became one of their pupils,
began to practise in the same city, and assumed the name
Nakashima Soha.
It happened that there lived at that time in the province
of Hizen, in Kyushu, a certain daimyo who was very fond of
a brood of pigeons that he owned. One of the pigeons having
injured its leg, the daimyo sent for the young physician, and
such was the skill shown by him, and so rapid was the recovery
i We have been unable to find this name among the list of prominent
Spanish, Portuguse, or Dutch physicians of that time, but it is not improbable
that some reader may identify it. Is it possible lhat it refers to Adolph
Vorstius (Nov. 23, 1597 Oct. 9, 1663) who was on the medical faculty at
Leyden from 1624 to 1663?
138 VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences.
of the bird, that in all that region Nakashima's name be
came known and his praises were sung. So celebrated was
his simple exploit that the people called him Hato no as hi 2vo
naoshita Sd/ia 1 or Hato no Solia? a name so pleasing to him
that he thereupon adopted it and was thenceforth known as
Hatono Soha.3
His fame now having found its way along the Inland Sea, a
daimyo of the Higo province, Lord Hosokawa, in due time
called him to enter his service at Osaka, so that he left Naga
saki, bearing with him gifts from his masters, Almans and
Schambergen, as well as those which Postow had presented
when he was in Europe or in some colony of Spain, Portugal,
or Holland. This was in i6Si, 4 and there he seems to have
remained until his death in 1697, at the a e f fiftysix years.
Such is the brief story of the only Japanese scholar who is
known, though native sources, to have studied in Europe and
to have returned to his own country at about the time that
Petrus Hartsingius was studying mathematics and medicine in
Leyden. If Hatono was fiftysix when he died, as the family
records assert, he must have been born in 1641 which is a
little too late for Hartsingius, whereas if he and Carron are
the same, his birth is placed in 1634 or 1635, which argues
strongly against this conjecture.
The problem seems, therefore, to reduce to the search for
a Doctor Postow, and to a search for some problem in the
Japanese mathematics of the Seki school that is at the same
time in Van Schcoten's Tractatus or in some contemporary
treatise. Thus far we have no knowledge that Hatono knew
1 Soha who cured the pigeon's leg.
2 Soha of the pigeon.
3 The name is now in the ninth generation.
4 This is the date as it appears in the family records, as communicated
to us by his descendant. According to T. Yokoyama, however, there is a
manuscript in the possession of the family, signed by Deshima Ranshyu at
Nagasaki in 1684. If this is a nom </<? plume of Hatono's as Mr. Yokoyama
believes, he may have gone to Osaka later than 1681.
VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences. 139
any mathematics whatever. 1 If he was Hartsingius he could
easily have communicated his knowledge to Seki or his dis
ciples, and if he was not it is certain that he would have
known him if he studied in Leyden, and in any case there is
the mysterious Franciscus Carron to be considered.
As to Seki's contact with those who could have known the
foreign learning, a story has long been told of his pilgrimage
to the ancient city of Nara, then as now one of the most
charming spots in all Japan, and still filled with evidence
of its ancient culture. It appears that he had learned of
certain treatises kept in one of the Buddhist temples, that
had at one time been brought from China by the priests, 2
which related neither to religion nor to morals nor to the
healing art, and which no one was able to understand. No
sooner had he opened the volumes than he found, as he had
anticipated, that they were treatises on Chinese mathematics,
and these he copied, taking the results of his labor back to
Yedo. It is further related that Seki spent three years in
profitable study of these works, but what the books were or
what he derived from them still remains a mystery. 3
If Seki went to Nara, the great religious center of Japan,
as there seems no reason to doubt, he would not have failed
to visit the great intellectual center, Kyoto, which is near there.
Neither would he have missed Osaka, also in the same vicinity,
where Hatono Soha was in the service of the daimyo. But
1 Most of his manuscripts and the records of the family were burned
some fifty years ago, and of the few that remained nearly all were destroyed
at the siege of Kumamoto at the time of the Saigo rebellion in 1877.
2 MIKAMI, Y., On reading P. Harzer 1 ! paper on the mathematics in Japan,
Jahresbericht der deutschen Math. Verein., Bd. XV, p. 256.
3 Seki may have studied the Chinese work by Yang Hui at Nara. The story
of his visit is said to have first appeared in the Burin Inken Roku or Burin
Kenbun Roku written by one SaitO. It was reproduced in an anonymous
manuscript entitled Samoa Zuihitsu, possibly written by Furukawa Ken. It
also appears in the Okinagusa written by Kamizawa Teikan. We have been
unable to get any definite information as to the Nara books, although diligent
inquiry has been made, but we wish to express our appreciation of the efforts
in this direction made by Mrs. Kita (nee Mayeda) and her brother.
I4O VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences.
on the other hand, Seki published the Hatsubi Sainpo in 1674,
while Hatono did not go to Osaka until 1681, so that in any
event Seki could solve numerical equations of a high degree 1
before Hatono settled in his new home. Moreover the symbolism
used by him is manifestly derived from the Chinese, 2 so that
this part of his work shows no European influence. If Hatono
or Hartsingius influenced Seki it must have been in the work
in infinite series, which, as we shall see in the next chapter,
started in his school, although more probably with his pupil
Takebe.
Still another contact with the West is mentioned in a work
called the Nagasaki Scmmin Den, in which it is stated that
one Seki Sozaburo learned astronomy from an old scholar
who had been to Macao and Luzon. If this is the Luzon of
the Philippine Islands he could at that period have come in
contact with the Jesuits, and this is very likely the case.
Mention should also be made of another possible medium
of communication with the West in the time of Seki. Aside
from the evident fact that if Hatono, Hartsingius, and Carron
ventured forth on a voyage to Europe, others whose names
are not now remembered may have done the same, we have
the record of two men who were in touch with Western
mathematics. These men were Hayashi Kichizaemon, and his
disciple Kobayashi Yoshinobu, both of them interpreters in the
open port of Nagasaki. Each of these men knew the Dutch
language, and each was interested in the sciences, the latter
being well versed in the astronomy of the WesU Kobayashi
was suspected of being a convert to Christianity, and as this
was a period of relentless persecution of the followers of this
religion 4 he was thrown into prison in 1646, remaining there
1 He even hints at one of the 1458 th degree (See page 129.)
2 Possibly obtained from Chinese works at Nara.
3 In 1650 a Portuguese whose Japanese name was Sawano Chiian wrote
an astronomical work in Japanese, but in Latin characters. In 1659 Nishi
Kichibei transliterated it and it was annotated by Mukai Gensho (1609 1677)
under the title Kenkon Benselsu.
4 It was in 1616 that the Tokugawa Shogunate ordered the strict sup
VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences. 141
for twentyone years. Upon his release in 1667 he made an
attempt to teach astronomy and the science of the calendar
at Nagasaki, 1 though with what success is unknown, and it is
recorded that in the year of his death, 1683, at the age of
eightytwo, he was able to correct an error in the computation
of an eclipse of the sun as recorded in the official calendar. 2
Hayashi was executed in 1646. While it is probable that
these men did not know much of the European mathematics
of the time, it is inconceivable that they were unaware of the
general trend of the science, and that they should fail to give
to inquirers some hint as to the nature of this work.
A little later than the time of Kobayashi there appeared
still another scholar who knew the Dutch astronomy, one
Nishikawa Joken, who was invited by the Shogun Yoshimune
to compile the official calendar. As already stated, the latter
was himself a dilletante in astronomy, and it was due to his
foresight and to that of Nakane Genkei that the ban upon
European books was raised in 1720. From this time on the
astronomy of the West became well known in Japan, and
scholars like Nagakubo Sekisui, Mayeno Ryotaku, Shizuki
Tadao, Asada Goryu, and Takahashi Shiji were thoroughly
acquainted with the works of the Dutch writers upon the
subject. 3
The conclusion appears from present evidence to be that
some knowledge of European mathematics began to find its
pression of Christianity, the result being such a bloody persecution that a
rebellion broke out at Shimabara, not far from Nagasaki, in 1637.
1 ENDO, Book II, p. 76.
2 ENDO, Book II, p. 18.
3 Mayeno is said to have also had a Dutch arithmetic in 1772, but
the title is not known. ENDO, Book III, p. 7. On this question of the
influence of the Dutch see HAYASHJ, T., /fay have the Japanese used the
Dutch books imported from Holland, in the Nieuw Archiefvoor IViskunde, reeks 2,
deel 7, 1905, p. 42; 1906, p. 39, and later, where it appears that most of the
Dutch works known in Japan are relatively late. On the interesting history
of the Portuguese writer known as Sawano Chiian, see MIKAMI, Y., in the
Nieuw Archiefvoor Wiskunde, reeks 2, deel 10, and the Annals Scientificos da
Academia Polytechnica do Porto, vol. 7.
142 VII. Seki's contemporaries and possible Western influences.
way into Japan in the seventeenth century; that we have
no definite information as to the nature of this work beyond
the fact that mathematical astronomy was part of it; that there
is no evidence that Seki or his school borrowed their methods
from the West; but that Japanese mathematicians of that time
might very well have known the general trend of the science
and the general nature of the results attained in European
countries.
CHAPTER VIII.
The Yenri or Circle Principle.
Having considered the contributions of Seki concerning which
there can be no reasonable doubt, and having touched upon
the question of Western influence, 1 we now propose to examine
the yenri with which his name is less positively connected.
The word may be translated "circle principle" or "circle theory",
the name being derived from the fact that the mensuration of
the circle is the first subject that it treats. It may have been
suggested by the title of the Chinese work of Li Yeh (1248),
the Tseyilan HaicJiing, in which, as we have seen (page 49),
Tslyuan means "to measure the circle." Seki himself never
wrote upon it so far as is positively known, although tradition
has assigned its discovery to him, nor is it treated by Otaka
Yusho in his Kivatsuyo Sampo of 1712 in connection with the
analytic measurement of the circle. After Seki's time there
were numerous works treating of the mere numerical measure
ment of the circle, such as the Taisei Sankyo,* commonly
supposed to have been written by Takebe Kenko,3 and of
which twenty books have come down to us out of a possible
fortythree. 4 There is a story, generally considered as fabulous,
told of three other books besides the twenty that are known,
that were in possession of Mogami Tokunai 5 a century ago.
1 The influence of the missionaries is considered later.
2 "Complete Mathematical Treatise."
3 So stated in a manuscript of Lord Arima's Hoyen Kiko, bearing date 1766.
4 So stated by Oyamada Yosei in his article on the Sangaku Shuban in
the Matsunoya Hikki, although the number is doubtful.
5 A pupil of Honda Rimei (17551836).
144 VI11  The Yenri or Circle Principle.
He stated that he procured them from one Shiono Koteki of
Hachioji, who had learned mathematics from Someya Haru
fusa. Shiono recorded these facts at the end of his copy, and
this is the bearing of the story upon Seki's secret knowledge
of the yenri. It was Someya who gave Shiono these books,
assuring him that they contained Seki's secret knowledge, being
works that he had himself written. Someya had received them
from Ishigaya Shoyeki of Kurozawa in Sagami, his aged master,
who was a pupil of Seki's and who had received these copies
from the latter's own hand.
Although the story is not a new one, and seems to relate
Seki intimately with the work, nevertheless we have no evidence
save tradition to corroborate the statement, since the three
volumes no longer exist, if they ever did, and the twenty that
we know show no evidence of being Seki's work. 1 Moreover
the treatment of TT which it contains is quite certainly not that
of Seki, for in his Fukyu Tetsujutsu of 1722 Takebe states that
it is not. 2 This treatment is based upon the squares of the
perimeters of regular inscribed polygons from 4 to 512, n 2
being taken as the square of the perimeter of the 512gon,
namely
9.86960 44010 89358 61883 449 i 998/4 7
Seki, on the contrary, calculated the successive perimeters
instead of their squares. Takebe claims to have carried his
process far enough to give TT to upwards of forty decimal
places by considering only a iO24gon, and he gives it as
71 = 3.14159 26535 89793 23843 26433 83279 50288 41971 2.3
He then uses continued fractions to express this value, stating
that this plan is due to his brother Takebe Kemmei, and that
1 It should be stated, however, that ENDO (Book II, p. 41) believes, and
with excellent reason, that they were taken from Seki's own writings and
were put into readable form by Takebe. See also MIKAMI, Y., A Question
on Seki's Invention of the Circle Principle, in the Tokyo SugakuButurigakkivai
A'izi, Book IV (2), no. 22, p. 442, and also his article on the yenri in Book V (2).
2 MS., article 10.
3 He must, however, have gone beyond the TO24gon for this.
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle. 145
Seki had used only the method given in the Kzvatsuyo Sampo,
all of which tends to throw doubt upon Seki's connection with
this treatise.
The successive fractions obtained for TT by taking the con
vergents of the continued fraction are
3 22
333
355
i' 7
' 106 '
113'
103993
"33102"'
104348
33215 '
208341
66317 '
312689
99532
833719
i 146408
4272943
etc.,
265381 '
364913 '
1360120 '
most of which are not found in any work with which we can
clearly connect Seki's name.
Still another reason for doubting Seki's relation to this phase
of the work is seen in the method of measuring a circular arc.
In the Taisci Sankyo the squares of the arcs are used instead
of the arcs themselves, as in the case of the circle. Some
idea of the work of this period may be obtained from the
formula given:
(4877315687^ + 2 1 309475994* 4 A 2 + 23945445808^4
+ 5 1 7074 1 462 /i 6 )a*
= 4877515687 8 + 4732289365 3 6 /<: 2 + 151469740022^/2*
+ 174277533560^^+ 503 19088000 A 8 ,
where c = chord, h = height of arc (from the center of the
chord to the center of the arc), 1 and a = length of arc. This
formula resembles one that appears in the Kwatsnyo Sampo,
and one that is in Takebe's Kenki Sampo of 1683. All these
formulas seem due to Seki.
Some idea of the Taisei Sankyo having been given, together
with some reasons for doubting the relation of Seki to it, we
shall now speak of the author, Takebe, and of his other works,
and of his use of the ycnri, setting forth his testimony as to
any possible relation of Seki to the method.
1 Which we shall hereafter call the height of the arc, the older word
sagilta being no longer in common use.
10
146 VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle.
Takebe Hikojiro Kenko 1 was one of three brothers who
displayed a taste for mathematics 2 and who studied under Seki.
He was descended from an ancient family, his father Takebe
Chokuko being a shogunate samurai. He was born in Yedo
(Tokyo) in the sixth month of 1664, and while still a youth
became a pupil of Seki, and, as it turned out, his favorite and
most distinguished one.3
Takebe was only nineteen years of age when he published
the Kenki Sampo (1683). Two years later (1685) there ap
peared his commentary on Seki's Hatsubi Sampo (of 1674),
and in 1690 he wrote the seven books of his notes on the
Suanhsiao Cliimeng which appeared in his edition of this work,*
explaining the sangi method of solving numerical equations. In
1703 he was made a shogunate samurai and served as an
official in the department of ceremonies. In 1719 he drew a
map of Japan, upon which he had been working for four years,
and which for its accuracy and for the delicacy of his work
was looked upon as a remarkable achievement. This and his
vast range of scientific knowledge served to command the
admiration and respect of Yoshimune, the eighth of the To
kugawa shoguns, who called upon him for advice with respect
to the calendar and who consulted him upon matters relating
to astronomy, a subject in which each took a deep interest.
He at once pointed out certain errors in the official calendar,
and recommended as court astronomer Nakane Genkei, for
whom and for himself Yoshimune built an observatory in
1 His given name Kenko appears as Katahiro in the Hakuseki Shinsho
written by Aral Hakuseki (1657 1725), his contemporary, and is so given
in some of the histories. It is possible too that the family name Takebe
should be Tatebe, as given by ENDO, OKAMUTO, and others of the old
Japanese school, although the former is usually given.
2 The other brothers were his seniors and were called Kenshi and Kemmei,
also known as Katayuki and Kataaki.
3 KAWAKITA, C., Honcho Siigaku Shiryo (Materials for the Mathematical
History of Japan), pp. 63 66, this being based upon Furukawa Ujikiyo's
writings. See also Kuichi Sanjin's article in the Sugaku Hochi.
4 This Chinese algebra appeared in 1299. The Japanese edition is
mentioned in Chapter IV.
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle. 147
the castle where he dwelt So liberal minded was this
shogun that he removed the prohibition upon the importation
of foreign treatises upon medicine and astronomy, so that from
this time on the science of the West was no longer under
the ban.
The infirmities of age began to tell upon Takebe in 1733
so much as to lead him to resign his official position, and six
years later, on the twentieth day of the seventh month of the
year 1739, he passed away at the age of seventyfive years.
The work of Takebe's with which we are chiefly concerned
was written in 1722, and was entitled Fukyu Tetsujutsu, Fukyu
being his nom de plume, and Tetsujutsu being the Japanese
form of the title of a Chinese work written by Tsu Ch'ungchi
(430 501) in the fifth century. This Chinese work is now
lost, but it treated of the mensuration of the circle, 1 and for
this reason there is an added interest in the use of its name
in a work upon the yenri.
Takebe states 2 that Seki was wont to say that calculations
relating to the circle were so difficult that there could be no
general method of attack. Indeed he says that Seki was averse
to complicated theories, while he himself took such delight in
minute analysis that he finally succeeded in his efforts at the
quadrature of the circle. It would thus appear that the yenri
was not the product of Seki's thought, but rather of Takebe's
painstaking labor. Moreover the plan followed by Takebe in
finding the length of an arc is not the same as the one given
in the Kwatsuyo Sampo in which Otaka Yusho (1712) sets
forth Seki's methods, though it has some resemblance to that
given in the Taisei Sankyo which, as we have seen, Takebe
may have written in his younger days when he was more
under Seki's influence.
1 As we know from Wei Chi's Records of the Sui Dynasty, a work written
in the seventh century. It was possibly a treatise on the calendar in which
the circle was considered incidentally. See MIKAMI, Y., in the Proceedings
of the Tokyo Math. Phys, Society, October, 1910.
2 Article 8 of his treatise.
10*
148 VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle.
Takebe takes a circle of diameter 10 and finds the square
of half an arc of height o.oooooi to be a number expressed
in our decimal system as
o.ooooo ooooo 33333 35111 11225 39690 66667 28234
77694 79595 875 + ,
but he gives us no complete explanation as to how this was
obtained. 1 Now since the squares of the halves of arcs of
heights i, o.i, and o.ooooi, respectively, have for their ap
proximate values 10, i, and o.oooi, it will be observed that
these are the products of the diameter and the heights of the
arcs. He therefore takes dh, the product of the diameter and
height, as the first approximation to the square of half an arc.
He then compares this approximation with the ascertained
value and takes his first difference D r as h 2 . Proceeding in
a similar manner he finds the second difference D 2 to be
h 8
 Z> t , and so on for the successive differences. The
result is the formula
4 a 3 d 15 T d ' 14
h 32 h 25 n
h ~d' ~47' ** *' 33 4
In other words, he has
which expresses in a series the square of arc sin x in terms
of versin x.
This series is convenient enough when h is sufficiently small,
but it is difficult to use when k is relatively large. Takebe
1 He states that the particulars are set forth in two manuscripts, the
Yenritsit (Calculation of the Circle) and Koritsu (Calculation of the Circular
Arc), but these manuscripts are now lost.
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle. 149
therefore developed another series to be used in these cases,
as follows:
JL a * = dh +  h* + . * A  A L . A
4 3 d h 15 </ >4 14
<//4 15 ,/_^ 39 s
He also gives a third series which he, possibly following Seki,
derives from the value of // =0.00000 oooi, as follows:
!< + U+JL _. A
3 IS d *h
H
,
_
980 6743008
_
26176293 1419
Takebe's method of finding the surface of a sphere is the
same as that given in the revised edition of Isomura's Ketsugisho
save that it is carried to a closer degree of approximation.
As bearing upon Seki's work it should be noted that Takebe
states that the former disdained to follow this method, preferring
to consider the center as the vertex of a cone of which the
altitude equals the radius, showing again that Takebe was quite
independent of his master.
Not only does Takebe use infinite series in the manner
already shown, but in another of his works he does so in a
still more interesting fashion. This work has come down to
us in manuscript under the title Yenri Tetsnjntsn or Yenri
Kokaijiitsu? In this he considers the following problem: In
a segment of a circle the two chords of the semiarc are drawn,
after which arcs are continually bisected and chords are drawn.
The altitude of half the given arc then satisfies the equation
 dh + 4 dx 4 x* =? o,
where d= diameter, h = altitude of the given arc, x altitude
of half of this arc. This equation Takebe proceeds to solve
1 Literally, The circle principle, or Method of finding the arc of a circle.
150 VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle.
by expressing the value of x in the form of a series, expanded
according to a process which he calls Kijo Kyftshd jutsu?
From this expansion Takebe derives a general formula for
the square of an arc, which he gives substantially as follows:
  ,/// 22. 4
~
4 ~ 3 . 456. ..
I
2 " Hl
a result that had previously been obtained in the Fukyii
Tetsujutsu of I/22. 2
The analysis leading to this formula, which is too long to
be given here and which is obscure at best, is the ycnri
or Circle Principle, and it at once suggests two questions:
(i) What is its value? (2) Who was its discoverer?
As to each of these questions the answer is difficult. In the first
place, Takebe does not state with lucidity his train of reason
ing, and we are unable to say how he bridged certain diffi
culties that seem to have stood in his way. He gives us results
instead of a principle, an isolated formula instead of a powerful
method. To be sure his formula has, as we shall see, some
interesting applications, as have also many formulas of the
calculus; but here is only one formula, obscurely derived, whereas
the calculus is a theory from which an indefinite number of
formulas may be derived by lucid reasoning. We are there
fore constrained to say that, from any evidence offered by
Takebe, the yenri is simply the interesting, ingenious, rather
obscure method of deriving a formula capable of being applied
in several ways, but that it is in no more comparable to the
European calculus, even as it existed in the time of Seki,
than is Archimedes's method of squaring the parabola, while
the method is stated 'with none of the lucidity of the great
Syracusan.
1 Literally, Method of deriving the root by divisions.
2 See page 148, above.
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle. 151
But taking it for what it is worth, who invented the yenri?
The greatest of Japanese historians of mathematics, Endo, is
positive that it was Seki. He sets forth the reasons for his
belief as follows: 1 "The inventions of the tenzan algebra and
of the yenri were made early [in the renaissance of Japanese
mathematics], but certain scholars do not attribute the latter
to Seki for the reason that it is not mentioned in the Kwatsuyo
Sampo. Such a view of the question is, however, entirely
unwarranted. At that period even the tenzan algebra was kept
a profound secret in Seki's school, never being revealed to the
uninitiated. It was on this account that not even the tenzan
algebra was treated in the Kwatsuyo Sampo, and hence there
is little cause for wonder that the yenri has no place there.
It is stated, however, that the value of IT is slightly less than
3.14159265359. Now unless the correct value were known
[to this number of decimal places] how would this fact have
been evident? . . . The process given in this work being
restricted to the inscription of polygons, there was no means
of knowing how many digits are correct. Nevertheless the
author was correct in his statement as to how many decimal
places are exact, and so it would seem that he must already
have known the correct value to more decimal places [than
were used] in order to make his comparison. The original
source of information was certainly one of Seki's writings,
perhaps the same as that used by Takebe in his subsequent
work."
While Endo's argument thus far is not conclusive, since Seki
may have found the value of TT by the older process, or may
have obtained it from the West, nevertheless it must be granted
that, as Takebe assures us, he did know it to more than twenty
figures.
Endo continues: "In the Kyoho era (1716 1736) Seki's
adopted son, Shinshichi, was dismissed from office and was
forced to live under Takebe's care. It was at this juncture
that Takebe, in consultation with him, entered upon a study
2 ENDO, Book II, pp. 55, 56.
152 VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle.
of Seki's most secret writing on the yenri as applied to the
rectification of a circular arc, after which he completed his
manuscript entitled Yenri Kohai Tetsujutsu" ? He continues 2 by
saying that Shinshichi was dismissed from office in the Shogunate
in 1735 because of his dissolute character, so that we thus
have a date which will serve as a limit for such communication
as may have taken place. He asserts that Seki's adopted son
now gave to Takebe the secret writings of his father, written
in the Genroku era (1688 1704) or earlier, and it was through
their study that Takebe came to elaborate the yenri. Endo
thinks that Takebe did not enter upon this work before the
dismissal of Seki's adopted son in 1735 at which time he was
already an old man.3
Now it .is evident that this view of the case is not wholly
correct, for Takebe gives the same series in his Fukyu Tetsujntsu
in 1722. Moreover, he must have been acquainted with that
form of analysis because there is extant a manuscript compiled
in 1728 by one Oyama (or Awayama) Shokei 4 entitled Yenri
Hakki which is quite like the Yenri Kohaijutsu in its main
features, although the work is not so minutely carried out, in
spite of its gain in simplicity.
For example, the square of the arc is given in a series which
is substantially the same as the one already assigned to Takebe.
Oyama's rule may be put in modern form as follows:
[
From this series he derives the value of TT by writing h=
1 ENDO, Book II, p. 74.
2 Ibid., pp. 8 1, 82.
3 His reasons are not clear. Professor T. HAYASHI, in his article in the
Honchd Sugaku Koenshu, 1908, pp. 33 36, makes out a strong case for Seki
as the discoverer of the yenri.
4 Possibly Tanzan SkSkei. The writer of the preface of the work, Hachiya
Teisho, may have been this same person.
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle. 153
and taking four times the result. He also finds it by taking
h = d, the result being
7T' = 4 []
Oyama, the author of the Yenri Hakki, was a pupil of Kuru
Juson, who had studied under Seki, but the theory is not given
as in any way connected with the latter. In one of the two
prefaces Nakane Genkei, a pupil of Takebe's, says: "The most
difficult problem having to do with numbers is the quadrature
of the circle. On this account it is that we have the various
results of the different mathematicians. ... It is now a century
since the dawn of learning in our country, and during this
period divers discoveries have been made. Of these the most
remarkable one is that of Takebe of Yedo. For several decades
he has pursued his studies with such zeal that oftimes he has
forgotten his need of food and sleep. In the spring of 1722
he was at last rewarded by brilliant success, for then it was
that he came upon the longsought formula for the circle.
Since then he has shown his result to divers scholars, all of
whom were struck with amazement, and all of whom cried
out, 'Human or divine! This drives away the clouds and
darkness and leaves only the blue sky!' And so it may be
said that he is the one man in a thousand years, the light
of the Land of the Rising Sun!"
The second preface is by Hachiya Kojuro Teisho, and he
too gives the credit to Takebe. He says, "The circle principle
is a perfect method, never before known in ancient or in
modern times. It is a method that is eternal and unchange
able ... It is the true method, constructed first by the genius
of Takebe Kenko, and before him anticipated neither in Japan
nor in China. It is so wonderful that Takebe should have made
such a valuable discovery that it is only natural to look upon
him as divine. For years have I studied under Seki's pupil
Kuru Juson, and have labored long upon the problem of the
quadrature of the circle, but only of late have I learned of
154 VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle.
Takebe's discovery, and I shall be happy if this work, which
I have written, may initiate my fellow mathematicians into the
mysteries of the problem."
It would seem from the last sentence that Hachiya may have
been the real author of the work, and that Oyama Shokei and
Hachiya may have been the same person. In any case, however,
the evidence is clear that his contemporaries proclaimed Takebe
the discoverer of the yenri, and there seems to have been none
to challenge this award. There is no contemporary statement
like this that connects the principle with Seki, and until there
is stronger evidence than mere conjecture such honor as is
due should be bestowed upon Takebe.
But where did Takebe get this formula for # 2 ? His explan
ation of his own development is very obscure. Did he himself
understand it, or had he the formula and did he explain it as
far as his ingenuity allowed: That there is a close resemblance
between this formula and such series as one finds in looking
over the works of Wallis I is evident. The series seems, however,
to have been given by Pierre Jartoux, a Jesuit missionary,
resident in Peking. This Jartoux was born in 1670 and went
to China in 1700, dying there Nov. 30, 1720. He was a man
of allround intelligence, 2 and his Observations astrononiiqucs,
published two years after his death, showed some ability. He
also worked with Pere Regis on the great map of China. But
our interest in Jartoux lies chiefly in the fact that he was in
correspondence with Leibnitz, as is shown by the publication
1 Our attention is called to this fact by P. HARZER, Die exakten Wissen
schaften im alien Japan, in the Jahresbericht der deutschen Mathemat. Vcrcin.,
Bd. 14, Heft 6. A search through Wallis fails, however, to reveal this series,
although the analogy to this work is evident. See, for example, WALLIS, J.,
De Algebra Tractatus, Oxoniae, 1693, cap. XCVI. The attention of readers
is invited to the desirability of ascertaining if this series was already known
in Europe.
2 His report, Details sur le Gingseng, et snr la recolte de cette plante, published
in Europe in 1720, was the best one upon the subject that had appeared in
the West up to that time. Indeed it is for this report that he was best
known there.
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle. 155
of his Observationes Macularum Solarium Pekino missae ad
G. W. Leibnitium in the Acta Eruditorum?
Here then is a scholar, Jartoux, in correspondence with
Leibnitz, giving a series not difficult of deduction by the cal
culus, which series Takebe uses and which is the essence
of the yenri, but which Takebe has difficulty in explaining,
and which he might easily have learned through that inter
course of scholars that is never entirely closed. There is a
tradition that Jartoux gave nine series, 2 of which three were
transmitted to Japan, ^ and it seems a reasonable conjecture
that Western learning was responsible for his work, that he
was responsible for Takebe's series, and that Takebe explained
the series as best he could.
The knowledge of Takebe's work was the signal for the
appearance of various treatises upon the yenri besides that of
Oyama, and while they add nothing of importance to the
theory or to its history, mention should be made of a few.
The one that was the most highly esteemed in the Seki school
of mathematicians was the Kenkon no Maki* a work of unknown
authorship. s Not only is the author unknown, but the work
itself is apparently no longer extant in its original form. 6 The
1 In 1705, p. 485.
2 Professor Hayashi thinks that Jartoux did not give nine series, but that
he gave six, and that these were obtained by Ming Antu whose work was
completed by his pupils after his death, and published in 1774. Among
these six is Takebe's series. Proceedings of the Tokyo Math. Phys. Soc.,
1910 (in Japanese).
3 These three appear in Mei Kucheng's book, but the date is unknown
and there is no evidence that it reached Japan in this period.
4 Literally, The Rolls of Heaven and Earth.
5 ENDO thinks that it was written by Matsunaga; see his History, Book II,
p. 84. P. HARZER thinks the author was Yatnaji; see the Jahresbericht der
deutschen Morgenl. Ver., Bd. 14, p. 317. C. KAWAKITA thinks it was Araki,
and in FUKUDA'S Sampd Tamatebako (1879) the same opinion is expressed.
6 A manuscript bearing this title was found in a private library at Sendai,
in the possession of a former pupil of Yamaji, but N. OKAMOTO, who has
investigated the matter, believes that it is quite different from the original
treatise.
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle.
process followed in developing the formula for a 2 is simpler
than that used by Takebe in his Yenri Kohaijutsu and rather
resembles that of Oyama.
The unknown author finds that the altitudes for the successive
arcs formed by doubling the number of chords are
+ _L (*.} *
h
/Ay ,
W/ J'
.L, ,_!_
64 7/ L 64 W
4 . 6 ,/ 4.6.8
s 21 /^\ z 5.21.143
16:40 l7) + 1640.224
iiii /Ay + 4_i7j7j /Ay j
64.32 W/ +64.32.896 W/ J'
these being calculated by the tetsujutsu process, or the actual
expansion of the terms of the equations, although the calcul
ations themselves are not given. The ratios of the successive
coefficients are seen to be
I 3
35
5.7 7.9 9.11 n.1.3 13.15
34
56 '
7.8 ' 9.10 ' 11.12' 13 14' 15.16'
3.5
79
11.13 15.17 19.21 23.25 27.29
6.8 '
10. 12
14.16' 18.20' 22.24' 26.28' 30.32'
79
15.I7
2325 3133 3941 47.49 55.57
12.16'
2O.24
28.32' 36.40' 44.48 52.56 60.64
Hence the *#th ratio for h r is of the form
(km I) (km + 1) 2 (kz m* i)
~
where k = 2 r , and as k becomes infinite this reduces to
zm*
We therefore have the limit to which h is approaching, and
we can compute the square of the arc as before. This is the
plan as stated in the Sendai manuscript, the only one which
it seems safe to use, even though the manuscript is evidently
not like the lost original. 1
1 ENDO, Book II, pp. 84 90, gives a different treatment, resembling that
found in the Kohai no Ri. None of the leading mathematicians of the
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle. 157
There is some little testimony in favor of Seki's authorship
of the Kenkon no Maki, although the presumption is entirely
against it. Thus in an anonymous work entitled Kigenkai or
Yenri Kenkon S/w, a note by Furukawa Ujikiyo relates the
following: "This book is a writing of Seki Kowa and has long
been kept a profound secret. No one into whose hands it has
come was entitled to assume the role of Seki's successor. Hence
Fujita Sadasuke treasured the work, and copied it upon two
rolls which he called Kenkon no Maki* revealing it only to his
son and to his most celebrated pupil. All this has been told
me by Shiraishi Chdchu." The probabilities are that some
parts of the work were simply an ancient paraphrase of Otaka
Yusho's Kwatsuyo Sampo, and being thus of the Seki school
it was attributed to the master. Whether or not it was the
original Kenkon no Maki is unknown. However that may be,
it extends the yenri to include the analytic treatment of the
volume of a spherical segment of one base of diameter a, by
a method not unlike that of Cavalieri. The segment is divided
into n thin layers of diameters d^, d 2 , ... d n , where d, t =a.
Then
72 f j kh. kh
a , = 4 (a ) ,
k n ' n '
where d = diameter of the sphere, and h = altitude of the
segment. Summing for k = I, 2, 3, . . . u, we have
y d *4*.jk k  y*.
Zi k * n jLt 2 /i
i i i
_ 4dA n f 2 4^ 2 + 3 2 f25
n 2 n* 6
Multiplying this by  and by , we have the approximate
volume of the spherical segment,
latter part of the nineteenth century received the Kenkon no Maki (possibly
another name for the Kohai no Ri) from their teachers, as Uchida Gokan
told N. OKAMOTO and as we are assured by T. HAGIWARA.
1 See page 155, note 4.
158 VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle.
6
of which the limit for n = is
The same general method appears in the writings of Matsunaga,
Yamaji, and others.
It has already been stated that Isomura and Takebe found
the spherical surface by means of the difference of volumes
of two concentric spheres. In this work the same thing is
done for the surface of an ellipsoid. The volume of the solid
is given as ,. > but with no proof. Another ellipsoid is taken
with axes a + 2k and b + 2k, and the difference of their
volumes is divided by k, giving
(tab + b* + 2ak + $bk + 4/ 2 ),
<J
the limit of which, for k = o, is
y (2 ad + b*}.
This treatment is an improvement upon that of Isomura and
Takebe because it is general rather than numerical. We there
fore have here a further development of the yenri, in which
it takes on a little more of the nature of the Western calculus,
but still in only a narrow fashion.
In the same way, little by little, some progress was made
in the use of infinite series. Takebe's series for the circular
arc appears again in 1739 in a work entitled Hoy en Sankyd?
written by Matsunaga Ryohitsu, 2 who received the secrets of
the Seki school from Araki, under whom he had studied. The
ArakiMatsunaga school, while it started under a less brilliant
leader than the school of Takebe, became the more prosperous
1 Literally, Mathematical Treatise on Polygons and Circles.
2 His former name was Terauchi Gompei. He is also known as Matsunaga
Yoshisuke.
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle. 159
as time went on, and seems to have inherited most of Seki's
manuscripts. Araki, indeed, gave the name to Seki's Seven
Books, 1 and upon his death in 17 18, 2 at the age of seventy
eight, he could look back upon intimate associations with the
mathematics of the past, and upon the renaissance in the labors
of Seki, and could anticipate a fruitful future in the promise
of Matsunaga.
Matsunaga was born at Kurume in Kyushu, or possibly in
Terauchi in Awari. His given name being Terauchi Gompei,
we find some of his works signed with the name Terauchi.
He served under Naito Masaki, Lord of Taira in Iwaki and
afterward Lord of Nobeoka in Kyushu, himself no mean mathe
matician. Indeed it was he whose insistence led Matsunaga to
adopt the name tenzan for the Japanese algebra, replacing the
name Kigen seiho as used by Seki. Matsunaga was a prolific
writer 3 and it is to him that the perpetuation of the doctrines
of the master, under the title "School of Seki", was due. He
died in the sixth month of 1744.*
In the statutes of the school of Seki, as laid down by him,
the work was arranged in five classes, Seki himself having
arranged it in three. The two upper classes were termed
Betsnden and Inka, 5 the latter covering Seki's Seven Books,
and being open only to one son of the head of the school
and to two of the most promising pupils. These three initiates
were required to take a blood oath of secrecy, 6 and still further
1 The Sekiryu Shichibtisho, published at Tokyo as a memorial volume on
the two hundredth anniversary of Seki's death. See also ENDO, Book II,
p. 42. There is some doubt as to the titles of the seven books.
a C. KAWAKITA in the Honcho Siigaku Koenshu, p. I.
3 His works include the following: Danti Shosa (1716), Embi Empi Ryo
jutsu (1735), Horo Yosan, Hoyen Sankyo (1739), Hoyen Zassan, Kaiko Uno
(1747, posthumous), AT/'o Tokusho, Sampo S'Ausei, Sampd Tetsujulsu.
4 As stated in a manuscript by Hagiwara.
5 These names may possibly mean "Special Instruction" and "Revealed
by Swearing." One who completed these classes received the two diplomas
known as Belsudenmenkyo and Inkamenkyo.
6 ENDO, Book II, p. 82 seq. On the five diplomas see also HAYASHI, T.,
The Fukitdai and Determinants in Japanese Mathematics, in the Tokyo STigakii
l6o VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle.
analogy to the ancient Pythagorean brotherhood is seen in the
mysticism of the founder. Matsunaga writes 1 as Pythagoras
might have done: "Reason is determinate, but Spirit wanders
in the realm of change. Where Reason dwelleth, there is
Number found; and wheresoever Spirit wanders, there Number
journeys also. Spirit liveth, but Reason and Number are
inanimate, and act not of their own accord. The way whereby
we attain to Number is called The Art. Heaven is independent,
but wherever there are things there is Number. Things,
Number, these are found in nature. What oppresses the
high and exalts the humble; what takes from the strong and
gives to the weak; what causes plenty here and a void there;
what shortens that which is long and lengthens that which is
short; what averages up the excess with the defect, this is
the eternal law of Nature. All arts come from Nature, and
by the Will alone they cannot exist."
Matsunaga's Hoyen Sankyo is composed of five books, and
is devoted entirely to formulas for the circumference and
arcs of a circle, no analyses appearing. 2 His first series is as
follows:
J^ = T +1L.+ l *' 22 4 T2 ' 22 3 2 , .
9 34 3.4.5.6 34S6. 78
This is followed by
?L == i + _!!_ + I2 '3 2 , 1 ^3M1_ . , .
3 4.6 4.6.8.10 4.6.8.10.12.14
a series which is then employed for the evaluation of TT to
fifty figures. The result is the following:
71=3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971
69399 5751
Buturigakkwai Kizi, vol. V (2), no. 5, 1910. Yamaji seems to have revealed
the secrets to three besides his son.
1 Hoyen Sankyo, 1739. This work may have been closely connected with
the anonymous Kohai Shokai.
2 We are informed by N. OKAMOTO that Uchida Gokan used to say that
the original manuscripts containing the analyses were burned purposely after
the work was finished. Matsunaga's Hoyen Zassan (Miscellany concerning
Regular Polygons and the Circle) is now unknown.
VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle. l6l
The same value is given in the Hoyen Kiko, written by Lord
Arima in 1766, together with the numerical calculations involved.
The value was first actually printed in the SJiTiki Sampo, written
by Arima under an assumed name, in 1769.
Matsunaga next gives Takebe's series for the square of an
arc, 1 this being followed by three series for the length of an
arc a with chord c as follows:
.4/AY 2.4.6/A\3
W +3:5:7(7)
^fi .(*\_. 2 (AY_ 2 4 f*v_ ..1
~L s V77 3.5^" s^yw J
The series for the altitude // in terms of the arc is
2 Zd V ' (2)!
and for the chord c it is
03 a5 a 7
~ 2.3^+ 2.3.475^4 ~ 2.3.4.5.6.7^ '
which is at once seen to be a form of the series for sin a. 2
The area s of a circular segment is given as
s 13
where c = chord of the arc, d = diameter of the circle, and
h = height of the segment.
Matsunaga also gives some interesting formulas for com
puting the radius x of a circle circumscribed about a regular
polygon of n sides, one side being s, and for computing the
apothem.
1 Which appeared in the Yenri Kohaijutsu and the Fnkyu Te/suju/su of
Takebe and the Yenri Hakki of Oyama.
2 These two series appear in the Shuki Sampo.
3 The above series are given in the Hoyen Sankyb, Book I.
1 1
1 62 VIII. The Yenri or Circle Principle.
He also gives J formulas for the side of the inscribed polygon
in terms of the diameter of the circle, for the various diagonals,
for the lines joining the midpoints of the diagonals and the
various vertices or the midpoints of the sides, 2 and so on,
none of which it is worth while to consider in a work of this
nature.
It will be seen that the yenri as laid down by Takebe was
extended to include solid figures treated somewhat after the
manner of Cavalieri, but that it was little more than a rather
primitive method of using infinite series in the measurement
of the simplest curvilinear figures and the sphere. We
shall see, however, that it gradually unfolds into something
more elaborate, but that it never becomes a great method,
remaining always a set of ingenious devices.
1 Hoyen Sankyo, Book III.
2 Lines known as the Kyomenshi.
CHAPTER IX.
The eighteenth Century.
We have already spoken of the closing labors of Seki Kowa,
who died in 1708, and of Takebe Kenko and Araki, and in
Chapter X we shall speak of Ajima Chokuyen. There were
many others, however, who contributed to the progress of
mathematics from the time when Takebe made the yenri known
to the days when Ajima gave a new impulse to the science,
and of these we shall speak in this chapter. Concerning some
of them we know but little, and concerning certain others a
brief mention of their works will suffice. Others there are,
however, who may be said to have done a work that was to
that of Seki what the work of D'Alembert and Euler was to that
of Newton. That is to say, the periods in Japan and Europe
were somewhat analogous in a relative way, although the
breadth of the work in the two parts of the world was not
on a par. In some respects the period immediately following
Seki was, save as to Takebe's work, one of relative quiet, of
the gathering up of. the results that had been accomplished
and of putting them into usable form, or of solving problems
by the new methods. In the history of mathematics such a
period usually and naturally follows an era of discovery.
So we have Nishiwaki Richyu publishing his Sampo Tengen
Roku in 1714, setting forth in simple fashion the "celestial
element" and the ycndan algebra. 1 In 1722 Mano Tokiharu
published his Kiku Bunto S/in, in which he treated, among
other topics, the spiral. In 1715 Hozumi Yoshin published his
1 ENDU, Book II, pp. 57, 59.
IT*
1 64
IX. The eighteenth Century.
Kagaku Sampo, the usual type of problem book. In 1716
Miyake Kenryu published a similar work, the Guivo Sampo.
He also wrote the Sliojutsu Sangaku Znye, of which an edition
appeared in 1795 (Fig. 32). In this he seems to have had
some idea of the prismatoid (Fig. 33). In 1718 Ogino Nobu
tomo wrote a work, the Kiku Gempo Chokcn, that has come
down to us in nine books in manuscript form, a very worthy
Fig. 32. From Miyake Kenryu's Shojutsu Sangaku Zuye (1795 edition).
general treatise. Inspired by Hozumi Yoshin's work, Aoyama
Riyei published his Cliugaku Sampo in 1719, solving the
problems of the Kagaku Sampo and proposing others. These
latter were solved in turn by Nakane Genjun in his Kanto
Sampo (1738), by Nakao Seisei in his Sangaku Bemmo, and
by Iriye Shukei in his Tangen Sampo (1759). Mention should
also be made of an excellent work by Murai Mashahiro, the
RyocJii SJiinan, of which the first part appeared in 1732. The
work was a popular one and did much to arouse an interest
IX. The eighteenth Century.
i6 5
L k&VS#H
A g*f5f$i
r^'ftS ^?^
 33 From Miyake Kenryu's Shojulsu Sangaku Zuye (1795 edition).
1 66 IX. The eighteenth Century.
in the new mathematics. The problems proposed by Nakane
Genjun were answered by Kamiya Hotei in his Kaisho Sampo
(1743), by Yamamoto Kakuan in his Sanzui, and by others.
To the same style of mathematics were devoted Yamamoto's
Yokyoku Sampo (1745) and Keiroku Sampo (1746), Takeda
Saisei's Sembi Sampo (1746), Imai Kentei's Meigen Sampo
(1764), and various other similar works, but by the close of
the eighteenth century in Japan, as elsewhere, this style of
book lost caste as representing a lower form of science than
that in which the best type of mind found pleasure. Mention
should also be made of Baba Nobutake's Shogaku Tcnmon of
1706, a wellknown work on astronomy, that exerted no little
influence at this period (Fig. 34).
Of the writers of this general class one of the best was
Nakane Genjun (1701 1761), whose Kanto Sampo (1738)
attracted considerable attention. His father, Nakane Genkei
(1 66 1 1733), was born in the province of Omi, and studied
under Takebe. He was at one time an office holder, but in
earlier years he practiced as a physician at Kyoto. His taste
led him to study mathematics and astronomy as well, and he
seems to have been a worthy instructor for his son, who thus
received at second hand the teachings of Seki's greatest pupil.
Some interesting testimony to his standing as a scholar is
given in a story related of a certain feudal lord of the
Kyoho period (1716 1736), who asked a savant, one Shinozaki,
who were his most celebrated contemporaries. Thereupon
the savant replied: "Of philosophers, the most celebrated are
Ito Jinsai and Ogyu Sorai; of astronomers, Nakane Genkei
and Kurushima Kinai; 1 in calligraphy, Hosoi Kotaku and
Tsuboi Yoshitomo ; in Shintoism, Nashimoto of Komo ; in poetry
Matsuki Jiroyemon; and .as an actor, Ichikawa Danjyuro. Of
these, Nakane is not only versed in astronomy, but he is
eminent in all branches of learning." 2
Nakane the Elder also published several astronomical works,
1 Or Kurushima Yoshita.
* K. KANO'S article in the Honcho Sitgaku Koenshu, 1908, p. II.
IX. The eighteenth Century.
I6 7
Fig. 34. From Baba Nobutake's Shogaku Tenmon (1706).
and composed a treatise in which a new law of musical
melodies was set forth. 1 Through the Chinese works and the
1 This was the Ritsugen Hakki, a work on the description of measures.
l68 IX. The eighteenth Century.
writings and translations of the Jesuit missionaries in China
he was familiar with the European astronomy, and he re
cognized fully its superiority over the native Chinese theory. He
was prominent among those who counseled the Shogun Yoshi
mune to remove the prohibition against the importation and
study of foreign books, and by order of the latter he is said to
have translated Mei Wenting's Lisuan Ch'iianshu.' 1 In 1711 he
was given a post in the mint at Osaka, and in 1721 became con
nected with the preparation of the official calendar. 2 In pure
mathematics he wrote but one work that was published, the
Shichijo Beki Yenshiki? although by all testimony he was an
able mathematician. One of his solutions, appearing in Takebe's
Fukyn Tetsujutsu (1722), is that of an interesting indeterminate
equation. The problem is to find the sides of a triangle that
shall have the values ;/, n + i, and n + 2, and such that the
perpendicular upon the longest side from the opposite vertex
shall be rational. Nakane solves it as follows:
When the sides are I, 2, 3, the perpendicular is evidently
zero.
Taking the cases arising from increasing these values suc
cessively by unity, the following triangles satisfy the conditions:
3 13 Si 193
4 14 52 194
5 15 53 195
If we represent these values by a^b^ c^; a 2 , b 2 , c 2 ; a 3 , b^ c 3 ; . . .,
it will readily be seen that
and similarly for the <$'s and c's, and hence we have the
required solution. Whether or not he made the induction
complete does not, however, appear.
1 See page 19. The work is in the library of the Emperor.
2 For this purpose he spent half of his time in Yedo, the rest beim
spent in Kyoto.
3 It was printed in 1691 and reprinted in 1798.
IX. The eighteenth Century. 169
It is also related that Takebe was asked in 1729, by the
Shogun Yoshimune, for the solution of a certain problem on
the calendar. Takebe, recognizing the great ability of the
aged Nakane, asked him to undertake it; but he, feeling the
infirmities of his years, passed it in turn to his son, Nakane
Genjun. The result was a new method of solving numerical
higher equations by successive approximations that alternately
exceed and fall short of the real value, a method that was
embodied in the Kaiho Yeijikujutsu* written by Nakane
Genjun in 1729. The problem proposed by the Shogun is as
follows: 2 "There are two places, one in the south and one in
the north, from which the elevation of the pole star above
the horizon is 36 and 4O75' respectively. At noon on the
second day of the ninth month in a certain year the shadows
of rods 0.8 of a yard high were 0.59 of a yard and 0.695 of
a yard, respectively, and at the southern station the center of
the sun was 36 37' distant from the zenith at noon on the
da\~ of the equinox. Required from these data to determine
the ratio of the diameter of the sun's orbit to the diameter of
the earth, considering the two to be concentric."
The solution of this problem is too long to be given here,
but that of another one in the same manuscript may serve to
illustrate Nakane's methods. "Given a circle in which are
inscribed two equal smaller circles and another circle which
we shall designate as the middle circle. Each of these four
circles is tangent to the other three; the difference of area
between the large circle and the three inscribed circles is 120,
and the diameters of the middle and small circles differ by 5.
Required to find the diameters."
Nakane lets /, m, s, stand for the respective diameters of
the large circle, middle circle, and small circles.
Then s + 5 = ni
and (s + ni) z s 2 = a 2 , an arbitrary abbreviation.
1 Literally, Method of Increase and Decrease in the Evolution of Equations.
2 From a manuscript of 1729.
I/O IX. The eighteenth Century.
TI 7 (<* +
Then / = v
and / 2 2s 2 m 2 = 102 :
4
He then assumes that .^ = 7.5,
whence, from the above, the two sides of the equation become
150.0654 and 152.788,
their difference, d^, being 2.723.
He next tries s 2 = 7.6,
whence, as before, d 2 = 0.37811.
He then takes s 3 = s t + d * =* 7.5878,
whence as before, d^ = 0.028246.
He now proceeds as before, taking
, 4 = , 2   = 75868...,
S 2 S 3
and in the same way he continues his approximations as far
as desired.
Not only did Nakane the younger study with his father, but
he also went to Yedo (Tokyo) to learn of Takebe and of
Kurushima. Returning to Osaka he succeeded his father in the
mint, and in 1738 he published the Kanto Sampo followed in
1741 by an arithmetic for beginners under the title Kanja Otogi
Zos/ii.* In this latter work the mercantile use of the Soroban
is explained (Fig. 35) and the check by the casting out of
nines is first used in multiplication, division, and evolution in
Japan. He died in 1761 at the age of sixty.
The most distinguished of Nakane Genkei's pupils was Koda
Shinyei, who excelled in astronomy rather than in pure
1 Literally, A Companion Book for Arithmeticians.
IX. The eighteenth Century.
I/I
Fig 35 From Nakane Genjun's Kanja Otogi Zoshi (1741).
mathematics, and who died in 1758. Among Koda's pupils
were Iriye Shukei, Chiba Saiyin (c. 1770), and Imai Kentei
(1718 1780). Imai Kentei, who left several unpublished manu
172 IX. The eighteenth Century.
scripts, had as his most prominent pupil Honda Rimei (1751
1828),' a man of wide learning and of great influence in edu
cation. Honda numbered among his pupils many distinguished
men, including Aida Ammei, Murata Koryu, Kusaka Sei, Mogami
Tokunai, Sakabe Kohan, and Baba Seitoku. He gave much
attention to the science of navigation and to public affairs, and
even advocated the opening of Japan to foreign trade. He
was familiar with the Dutch language, and made some attempt
at mathematical research, 2 and to his influence Mamiya Rinzo,
the celebrated traveler, acknowledged his deep indebtedness.
Another prominent disciple of Takebe's was Koike Yiiken
(1683 1754), a samurai of Mito, where he presided over the
Shokokivan or Institute for Historical Research. By order of
his lord he went to Yedo and learned mathematics from Takebe,
acquiring at the same time some knowledge of astronomy.
His successor in the SJiokokivan at Mito was Oba Keimei
(17191785), but neither one contributed anything to mathe
matics beyond a sympathetic interest in the progress of the
science.
Among the pupils of Nakane Genjun, and therefore of the
Takebe branch of the Seki school, was Murai Chuzen, a Kyoto
physician. He wrote a work entitled the KaisJio Tempei Sampo $
(1765) which treated of the solution of numerical higher
equations. Three years later one of his pupils, Nagano Seiyo,
published a second part of this work in which he attempted
to explain the methods employed in the solutions. For example,
Murai 4 takes the equation
6726 373 # + # 2 = o.
He then finds the relation
373 372.1 = i,
1 Also known as Honda Toshiaki.
2 OZAWA, Lineage of mathematicians (in Japanese), and the epitaph on Honda's
tomb.
3 Literally, The Posting of Soldiers in the Evolution of Equations.
4 ENDO, Book II, pp. 137 139.
IX. The eighteenth Century.
173
and multiplies the 372 into the absolute term (6726) and then
subtracts 373 as often as possible, leaving a remainder 36 1. 1
This remainder is added to 6726 and the result is divided by
373, the quotient, 19, being a root.
Similarly, in the equation
25233 2284^ + 25^3 = o,
Murai claims first to take the relation
2284 x 1 1 25 m = i,
and states that he multiplies 1 1 into the absolute term, sub
tracting 2284 from the product until he reaches a remainder,
which is the root required, a process that is not at all clear.
Of course the method is not valid, for in the equation
x z %x + 15 =o
it gives 2 instead of 3 or 5 for the root. Murai must have
been aware that his rule was good only for special cases, but
Fig 36. From Murai Chflzen's Sampo Ddshlmon (1781).
1 Briefly, 372X6726 = 2,502,072, and 2,502,072^373 = 6707 with a
remainder 361.
174
IX. The eighteenth Century.
Fig. 37 The Pascal triangle as given in Murai's
Sampo Doshimon (1781).
he makes no mention of this fact. Nevertheless he assisted
in preparing the way for modern mathematics by discouraging
the use of the sangi, which were already beginning to be looked
upon as unwieldy by the best algebraists of his time.
.. Murai also wrote a Sampo Dos/iimon, or Arithmetic for the
Young (see Figs. 36 38), which was intended as a sequel
IX. The eighteenth Century.
175
Fig. 38. From Murai's Sampo Doshimon (1781). /M.
to the Kaiija Otogi Zoski of Nakane Genjun. The work
appeared in 1781, and contains numerous interesting pictures
of primitive work in mensuration (Fig. 36), and the Pascal
1/6 IX. The eighteenth Century.
triangle (Fig. 37). It is also noteworthy because of its treat
ment of circulating decimals. The problem as to the number
of figures in the recurring period of a unit fraction was first
mentioned in Japan by Nakane in his Kanto Sampo (1738)
and solutions of an unsatisfactory nature appeared in Ikebe's
KaisJw Sampo (1743) and in Yamamoto's Sansid (1745). Na
kane's writings upon the problem were no longer extant, so
that Murai had practically the field before him untouched,
although he really did little with it. His theory is brief, for
he first divides 9 by 2, 3, ... 9, getting the figures 45, 3, 225,
18, 15, x (not divisible), 1125, I, without reference to the
decimal points. He then concludes that if unity is divided by
45> 3> 22 5> > the result will have onefigure repetends. Simil
arly he divides 99 by 2, 3, ... 9, getting the figures 495, 33,
2475, 189, . . ., and then divides unity by these results, getting
twofigure repetends.
In his explanation of the use of the sorobaii Murai gives
certain devices that his predecessors had not in general used.
For example, in extracting the square root he divides half of
the remainder by the part of the root already found, which
he evidently thought to be a little easier on the soroban than
to divide by twice this root. In treating of cube root he
proceeds in an analogous fashion, dividing a third of the
remainder twice by the part of the root already found. \Ye
have said that these devices had not been used in general
before Murai, but they had already been given by at least one
writer, Yamamoto Hifumi, in his Hayazan Tebikigusa^ in 1775.
Contemporary with Nakane Genkei, and a friend of his,
was a curious character named Kurushima Yoshita, a native
of Bitchu, at one time a retainer of Lord Naito, and a man
of notorious eccentricity and looseness of character. It is
related of him that when he had to leave Kyushu to take
up his residence in Yedo, he used all of his mathematical
manuscripts to repair his basket trunks for the journey. He
must, however, have been a man of mathematical ability,
1 Literally, Handbook of Rapid Calculations.
IX. The eighteenth Century. 177
for he was the friend not only of Nakane but also of Matsunaga,
and he had at least one pupil of considerable attainments,
Yamaji Shuju. He died in 1757. Among the fragments of
knowledge that have been transmitted concerning him is a
formula for the radius r, of a regular ngon of side s, ex
pressed in an infinite series. 1
Kurushima also knew something of continued fractions, since
in Ajima's Fukyu Sampo 2 and other works it is shown how
he expressed a square root in this manner, with the method
of finding the successive convergents. This seems to have
been an invention made by him in I726. 3 It is repeated in a
work written in 1748 by Hasu Shigeru, a pupil of one Horiye
who had learned from Takebe. In the preface Horiye says
that the method is one of the most noteworthy of his time. 4
Kurushima was also interested in magic squares, and his
method of constructing one with an odd number ot cells is
worth repeating. s
The plan may briefly be described as follows:
Let n be the number of cells in one side. Arrange the
1 ENDO, Book II, p. 112; Kawakita in the Honcho Sugaku Koenshu, p. 6.
On the life of Kurushima there is a manuscript (Japanese) entitled Teatable
Stories told by Yamaji. This formula was first published in Aida Ammei's
Sampo Kokon Tsitran (General View of Mathematical Works ancient and
modern), 1795, Book VI. It appears again in Chiba's Sampo Shinsho (New
Treatise on Mathematical Methods). See FUKUDA, Sampo Tamatebako. Book II,
p. 33; ENDO, Book III, p. 33. Kurushima also wrote the Kyushi Kohai So
(Incomplete Fragments on the arc of a circle) in which he treated of the
minimum ratio of an arc to its altitude. It exists only in manuscript. In it
is also some work in magic cubes.
2 In manuscript, compiled by Kusaka.
3 Possibly Takebe was the first Japanese to employ continued fractions,
in his Fukyu Telsujutsu (1722). See also the Taisei Sankyo, where they are
found. But their application to square root begins, in Japan, with Kurushima.
C. KAWAIUTA relates in the Siigaku Ilotki that this was done in the first
month of 1726.
4 HORIYE'S preface to HASU'S Heiho Reiyaku Genkai, 1748, in manuscript.
See also ENDO, Book II, p. 105.
5 It is given in his manuscript Kyushi Iko (Posthumous Writings of Kuru
shima), Book I.
12
I 7 8
IX. The eighteenth Century.
numbers I, n 2 , n, and k = n 2 + i n as in the figure. Then
take  (n 2 + i) as the central number, and from this, along
n
n 1
k
D
B
CD, arrange a series decreasing towards C and increasing
towards D by the constant difference n. Next fill the cells
along the oblique lines through n and n 2 , and through i and
k, according to the same law. Now fill the cells along AB
and the two parallels through n and i, and through n* and k,
by a series decreasing towards A and increasing towards B by
the constant difference i. The rest of the rule will be apparent
by examining the following square:
22
47
16
4'
10
35
4
5
23
48
17
42
ii
29
30
6
24
49
18
36
12
13
3f
7
25
43
19
37
38
H
32
i
26
44
20
21
39
8
33
2
27
45
4 6
15
40
9
34
3
28
IX. The eighteenth Century. 179
It is also worthy of note that Kurushima discussed 1 the
problem of finding the maximum value of the quotient of the
altitude of a circular segment by its arc. In this there arises
the equation
.r 4 .r 6 r S
3.6 3.5X6.8 3.5.7X6.8.10
3.5.79X6.8. 10.12 "*
He speaks of this as an "unlimited equation", and after a
complicated solution he reaches the result,
*= 5. 4341 3 1 504304.
Mention should also be made of a value of u 2 given by
Kurushima, ; but his method of obtaining it is not known. 2
In the first half of the eighteenth century there lived in
Osaka one Takuma Genzayemon, concerning whose life and
early training we know practically nothing. Some have said
that he learned mathematics in the school of Miyagi, but all
that is definitely known is that he established a school in
Osaka. He is of interest because of his work upon the value
of IT, a problem that he attacks in the Dutch manner of a
century earlier. He seems to have been the only mathe
matician in Japan who used for this purpose the circumscribed
regular polygon as well as the inscribed one of a large number
of sides. He bases his conclusions upon the perimeters of
polygons of 17,592,186,044,416 sides which he stated to be
3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 6658,
3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26434 67.
He takes the average of these numbers, and thus finds the
value correct to twentyfive figures. It is related that this
was looked upon as one of the most precious secrets of his
1 In his manuscript entitled Kyiishi Kohaiso.
2 ENDO, Book II, p. 127. It is found in manuscript in the posthumous
writings of Kurushima.
l8o IX. The eighteenth Century.
school. 1 The most distinguished of Takuma's followers was
Matsuoka Noichi (or Yoshikadsu), who published a very usable
textbook in 1808, the Sampo Keiko Taizen?
Mention has already been made of Matsunaga Ryohitsu,*
but his work is such as to merit further notice. One of his
most important treatises is embodied in a manuscript called
the Sampo Shusei* consisting of nine books of which the first
five are devoted to indeterminate analysis as applied to questions
of geometry. He considers, for example, the Pythagorean
triangle of sides a, b, and hypotenuse c, and lets
a = 2m + i, c b = 211,
whence
, _ a fr _ a* _ (2 + i)
c "t~ c/ , . .
c b c o 2n
whence b and c assume the form
Hence the three sides may be represented by
4 (2m + i), (2m + i) 2 4 2 , (2m + i) 2 4 4 2 .
He also attacks the problem by letting the perpendicular p
from the vertex of the right angle cut the hypotenuse into
the segments c' and c" . He then gets
b 2 a* = (c" 2 +p 2 ) (c' 2 +/ 2 )
= (c" + c'} (c" c'} ==c (c" c'\
2ab = c . 2p,
and a 2 + b 1 = c 2 .
Then since p 2 = c'c", we have
(c" c') 2 + (2/) 2 = c\
1 ENDO, T., On the development of the mensuration of the circle in Japan
(in Japanese), Rigakkai, Book III, no. 4.
a Literally, A Complete Treatise of mathematical instruction.
3 See page 158. The name also appears as Matsunaga Yoshisuke.
4 Literally, .A Collected Treatise on mathematical methods. It is undated.
His Hoyen Sankyo is dated 1739 in one of the prefaces and 1738 in another.
IX. The eighteenth Century. l8l
whence the sides of a right triangle may be represented by
b 2 a 2 , 2 ad, and a 2 + b 2 .
Matsunaga was, like most of his contemporary geometers,
interested in the radius of the regular polygon of n sides, each
side being equal to s. His formula,
2 = 62370 4 4 107480*2 + 83577 _ ^
2462268 * 3857400
is claimed to give the radius correct to six figures. 1 A more
complicated formula, requiring the extraction of a seventh root,
is given in Irino Yosho's Kakuso Sampo (1743), but it is no
more accurate.
Still another formula of this nature is given by Matsunaga's
pupil Yamaji Shuju (1704 1772) 2 ,
72 = (15 1 7621639810;^ + 1 0049747 20807 n 6
+ 16637450385672*) s 2 ~ (59913200861841 n 6
 i 5 743 2047 5 80066 4 + I355297564732o6 2
35692069491815).
Such efforts, however, are interesting chiefly for the same
reason as the Japanese ivory carving of spheres within spheres,
examples of infinite painstaking. Yamaji was a native of
the province of Bitchu, and later he became a samurai of the
shogunate, serving as assistant in the astronomical department.
He first studied under Nakane, and upon Nakane's leaving
Yedo for Kyoto he came under the latter's friend Kurushima.
When Kurushima moved to Kyushu, Yamaji became a pupil
of Matsunaga. He was thus, as he relates in his Teatable
Stories, privileged to know the mathematical secrets of three
of the best teachers of Japan. While he was not himself a
great contributor to the science, he proved to be a great
teacher, so that when he died not a few sucessful mathe
1 The reader may consider it for = 4, s = \^2, r=. It is also given
in Arima's Hoyen Kiko (1766), but credit is there given to Matsunaga. See
also ENDO, Book II, p. 109.
2 ARJM.V, Hoyen Kiko; ENDO, Book II, p. 108.
1 82 IX. The eighteenth Century.
maticians were counted among his pupils, including Lord Arima,
Fujita, and Ajima. It is possible that the Kenkon no Maki
was written by him, and also the Kohai no Ri and other
manuscripts on the yenri, but the Gyokuseki Skinjutsu * is the
only work of importance that is certainly his. In this is given
a treatment of the volume of the sphere by a kind of integra
tion much like that to be found in the anonymous 2 Kigenkai.
Of Yamaji's pupils the first above mentioned was Arima ^
Raido (1714 1783), Lord of Kurume in Kyushu. It was he,
it will be recalled, who first published the tenzan algebra that
had been kept a secret in the Seki school since the days of
the founder. His Skuki Sainpo in five books was published in
1769 under the nom de plume of Toyota Bunkei, possibly the
name of one of his vassals. The work must certainly have
been Arima's, however, since only a man in his position would
have dared to reveal the Seki secret. In this treatise Arima
sets forth and solves one hundred fifty problems, thus being
the first noted writer to break from the old custom of solving
the problems of his predecessors and setting others for those
who were to follow. His questions related to indeterminate
analysis, the various roots of an equation, the algebraic treat
ment of geometric propositions, binomial series, maxima and
minima, and the mensuration of geometric figures, including
problems relating to tangent spheres (Fig. 39). The curious
Japanese manner of representing a sphere by a circle with a
lune on one side is seen in Fig. 39. In this work appears a
fractional value of TT,
= 42822 45933 49304
13630 81215 70117 '
that is correct to twentynine decimal places. Arima also wrote
several other works, including the Hoy en Kiko (1766)* and the
Skosa Sanyo (1764), but none of these was published.
* Literally, The Exact Method for calculating the volume of a sphere.
2 Or Yenri Kenkon Sho.
3 Not Akima, his ancestor, as is sometimes stated.
4 In this is also given the value of TT mentioned above, and the powers
of ir from ir 2 to ir 22 for the first thirtytwo figures.
IX. The eighteenth Century. 183
Among the vassals of Lord Arima was a certain Honda
Teiken (17341807), who was born in the province of Musashi.
He is known in mathematics by another name, Fujita Sadasuke,
which he assumed when he came to manhood, a name
that acquired considerable renown in the latter half of the
eighteenth century. As a youth he studied under Yamaji, and
even when he was only nineteen years of age he became, on
Fig 39 From Arima's Shuki Sampo (1769).
Yamji's recommendation, assistant to the astronomical depart
ment of the shogunate. For five years he labored acceptably
in this work, but finally was compelled to resign on account
of trouble with his eyes. Arima now extended to him a cordial
invitation to accompany him to Yedo, whither he went for
service every second year, and to act as teacher of arithmetic. 1
Here he published his Seiyo Sampo (1779), a work in three
books, consisting of a well arranged and carefully selected set
of problems in the tenzan algebra. This book was so clearly
written as to serve as a guide for teachers for a long time
after its publication. In Fig. 40 is shown one of his problems
1 Kawakita, in the Honcho Siigaku JCoenshtl, 1908, p. 8.
1 84
IX. The eighteenth Century.
relating to tangent spheres in a cone. Fujita also published
several other works, including the Kaisei Tengen SJiinan (1792),*
and wrote numerous manuscripts that were eagerly sought by
the mathematicians of his time, although of no great merit on
the ground of originality. He died in 1807 at the age of
seventytwo years, respected as one of the leading mathe
maticians of his day, although he did not merit any such
standing in spite of his undoubted excellence as a teacher.
Fujita's son Fujita Kagen
(17651821) was also a mathe
matician of some prominence.
He published in 1790 his SJiim
pekiSampo (Mathematical Prob
lems suspended before the
Temple), 2 and in 1806 a sequel,
the Zoku Shinipeki Sainpd.
The significance of the name
is seen in the fact that the
work contains a collection of
problems that had been hung
before various temples by
certain mathematical devotees
between 1767 and the time
Fig. 40. From Fujita Sadasuke's
Seiyo Sampo (1779).
when Fujita wrote, together
with rules for their solution. This
strange custom of hanging
problems before the temples originated in the seventeenth cen
tury, and continued for more than two hundred years. It
may have arisen from a desire for the praise or approval of
the gods, or from the fact that this was a convenient means
of publishing a discovery, or from the wish to challenge others
to solve a problem, as European students in the Middle Ages
would post a thesis on the door of church. A few of these
1 We follow EndO. Hayashi gives 1793.
2 There was a second edition in 1796, with some additions.
IX. The eighteenth Century. 185
problems are here translated 1 as specimens of the work of
Japanese mathematicians at the close of the eighteenth century.
"There is a circle in which a triangle and three circles,
A, B, C, are inscribed in the manner shown in the figure.
Given the diameters of the three inscribed circles, required the
diameter of the circumscribed circle." The rule given may be
abbreviated as follows:
Let the respective diameters be x, y, and z, and let xy = a.
Then from a 2 take \(x y) z\ . Divide a by this remainder
and call the result b. Then from (x + y) z take a, and divide
0.5 by this remainder and add b, and then multiply by z
and by a. The result is the diameter of the circumscribed
circle. 2 To this rule is appended, with some note of pride, the
words: "Feudal District of Kakegawa in Yenshu Province,
third month of 1795, Miyajima Sonobei Keichi, pupil of Fujita
Sadasuke of the School of Seki."
Another problem is stated as follows: "Two circles are de
scribed, one inscribing and the other circumscribing a quadri
From the edition of 1796.
That is
. 0.5
r _ xy^
L*V l [(*.
1 86 IX. The eighteenth Century.
lateral. Given the diameter of the circumscribed circle and
the product of the two diagonals, required to find the diameter
of the inscribed circle." The problem was solved by Ko
bayashi Koshin in 1795, and the relation was established that
where i = the diameter of the inscribed circle, c = the dia
meter of the circumscribed circle, and / = the given product. 1
A third problem is as follows: "There is an ellipse in which
five circles are inscribed as here shown. The two axes of
the ellipse being a and b it is required to find the diameter
of the circle A." The solution as given by Sano Anko in
1787 may be expressed as follows:
Another problem of similar nature is shown in Fig. 41, from
the Zoku Shimpeki Sampo (1806).
A style of problem somewhat similar to one already mention
ed in connection with Arima was studied in 1789 by Hata
1 For the case of a square of side 2 we have 2 J/l6= 8.
IX. The eighteenth Century.
1 8 7
Fig. 41. From the Zoku Shimpeki Sampo (1806).
Judo, as follows: "There is a sphere in which are inscribed, as
in the figure, two spheres A, two B, and two C, touching each
other as shown. Given the diameters of A and C, required
to find the diameter of B." The solution given is
1 88 IX. The eighteenth Century.
Contemporary with Fujita Sadasuke was Aida Ammei (1747
1817), who was born at Mogami, in northeastern Japan. Like
Seki, Aida early showed his genius for mathematics, and while
still young he went to Yedo where he studied under a certain
Okazaki, a disciple of the Nakanishi school, and also under
Honda Rimei, although he used later to boast that he was a
selfmade mathematician, and to assume a certain conceit that
hardly became the scholar. Nevertheless his ability was such
and his manner to his pupils was so kind that he attracted
to himself a large following, and his school, to which he gave
the boastful title of Superior School, became the most popular
that Japan had seen, save only Seki's. Aida wrote, so his
pupils say, about a thousand pamphlets on mathematics,
although only a relatively small number of his contributions
are now extant. He died in 1817 at the age of seventy years. 1
One of Aida's works, the Tosei Jinkoki (1784) deserves
special mention for its educational significance. In this he
discarded the inherited problems to a large extent and sub
stituted for them genuine applications to daily life. The result
was a great awakening of interest in the teaching of mathe
matics, and the work itself was very successful.
Soon after the publication of this work there arose an un
fortunate controversy between Aida and Fujita Sadasuke, at
that time head of the Seki School. The story goes 2 that
Aida had at one time asked to be admitted to this school,
but that Fujita in an imperious fashion had told him that first
he must make haste to correct an error in his solution of a
problem that he had hung in the Shinto shrine on Atago hill
in Shiba, Tokyo. Aida promptly declined to change his solution
and thus cut himself off from the advantages of study in the
Seki school. While Aida admits having visited Fujita he says
that he did so only to test the latter's ability, not for the
purpose of entering the school.
1 As stated upon his monument. See also C. KAWAKITA in the Honcho
Sugaku Koenshu, 1908.
2 This account is digested from the works of various writers who were
drawn into the controversy.
IX. The eighteenth Century. 189
As a result of all this unhappy discussion Aida was much
embittered against the Seki school, and in particular he set
about to attack the Seiyo Sampo which Fujita Sadasuke had
published in 1779. For this purpose he wrote the Kaisei
Sampo, or Improved Seiyo Sampo, and published it in 1785,
criticising severely some thirteen of Fujita' s problems, and starting
a controversy that did not die for a score of years. Fujita's
pupil, Kamiya Kokichi Teirei, then wrote in the former's defence
the Kaisei Sampo Seiron, and sent the manuscript to Aida, to
which the latter replied in his Kaisei Sampo Kaiseiron which
appeared in 1786. Kamiya having been forbidden by Fujita
to publish his manuscript, so the story runs, he prepared
another essay, the Hikaisei Sampo which also appeared about
the same time, the exact date being a subject of dispute. Of
the replies and counterreplies it is not necessary to speak at
length, since for our purposes it suffices to record this Newton
Leibnitz quarrel in miniature. 1 It was in one sense what is
called in English a "tempest in a teapot"; but in another sense
it was more than that, for it was a protest against the claims
of the Seki school, of the individual against the strongly
entrenched guild, of genius against authority, of struggling
1 For purposes of reference the following books on the controversy are
mentioned: Fujita wrote a reply to Aida in 1786, which was never printed.
Aida wrote the Kaiwaku Sampo in 1788, replying to the Hikaisei Sampo.
Fujita wrote a rejoinder, the Hikaiwaku Sampo, but it was never printed.
Kamiya published the Kaiwaku Bengo in 1789, replying to Aida. In 1792
Aida wrote the Shimpeki Shinjutsu in which he criticised the Shimpeki Sampo
of Fujita's son, and also wrote the Kaisei Sampo Jensho in which he criticised
Fujita's Seiyo Sampo, but neither of these was printed. In 1795 he wrote
his Sampo Kakujo, an abusive reply to Kamiya, but in the same year he wrote
the Sampo Kokon Tsiiran (General view of mathematical works, ancient and
modern) in which he has something good to say of him. In 1799 Kamiya
wrote an abusive reply to Aida, the Hatsiiran Sampo. The last of the published
works by the contestants was Aida's ffiffatsuran Sampo of 1801, although
the controversy still went on in unpublished manuscripts. The manuscripts
include Kamiya's Fukitsei Sampo (1803) and Aida's Sampo Senri Dokko (1804).
Mention should also be made of the Sampo Tensho ho Shinan (1811) written
by Aida, of which only the first part (5 books) was printed.
IQO IX. The eighteenth Century.
youth against vested interests; it was the cry of the insurgent
who would not be downed by the abuse of a Kamiya who
championed the cause of a decadent monopoly of mathe
matical learning and teaching. It was this that inspired Aida
to act, and of the dignity of his action these words, from a
preface to one of his works, will bear witness: "The Seiyo
Sampo* treats of subjects not previously worked out, and
certain of its methods have never been surpassed. The author's
skill in mathematics may safely be described as unequalled in
all the Empire. Upon this work the student may in general
rely, although it is not wholly free from faults. Since it would
be a cause of regret, however, if posterity should be led into
error through these faults, as would be the natural influence
of so great a master as Fujita, I have taken the trouble to
compose a work which I now venture to offer to the world
as a guide." Such words and others in recognition of Fujita's
merits did not warrant the abuse that Kamiya heaped upon
Aida, and the impression left upon the reader of a century
later is that of a staunch champion of liberty of thought, corn
batted by the unprovoked insults and unjust scorn of vested
interests. Fujita seems to have solved his problems correctly
but to have expressed his work in cumbersome notation, 2
while Aida stood for simplicity of expression. Neither was
in general right in attacking the solutions of the other, and in
the heat of controversy each was led to statements that were
incorrect. The whole struggle is a rather sad commentary on
the state of mathematics in the waning days of the Seki school,
when the trivial was magnified and the large questions of
mathematics were forced into the background.
Aida was an indefatigable worker, practically his whole life
having been spent in study. As a result he left hundreds of
manuscripts, most of which suffered the fate of so many
1 Fujita's work of 1779.
2 As compared with that of Aida, although an improvement upon that
of his predecessors.
IX. The eighteenth Century. 19 1
thousands of books in Japan, the fate of destruction by fire. 1
Of the contents of the Sampo Kokon Tsiiran (1795) already
mentioned, only a brief note need be given. In Book VI Aida
gives the value of  as follows:
2! 3! 4!
He gives a series for the length of an arc x in terms of the
chord c and height // thus:
2 2.4 2.4.6 .
x = c (i \ m H ;;/ +  m +),
3 35 357
where m = = ^
and ^ is the diameter of the circle. In the same work he
gives a formula for the area of a circular segment of one
base:
he . 2 2.4 2.4.6 ,
Aida also gave a solution of a problem found in Ajima's
Fnkyu Sampd, as follows: The side of an equilateral triangle
is given as an integer n. It is
required to draw the lines s lf
s 2 , . . ., parallel to one side,
such that the /'s, g's and s's
as shown in the figure shall
all have integral values.
Ajima had already solved this
before Aida tried it, and this
is, in substance, his solution:
Decompose n into two factors, n=ab
a and b, which are either
both odd or both even. If this cannot be done a solution is
impossible. The rules are now, as expressed in formulas, as
follows :
KAWAKITA'S article in the Honcho Siigaku Koenshu, p. 13.
IX. The eighteenth Century.
/! = k 2 a 2 , q l = (k a) 2 ka,
pz = A D, p$ = s z D, . . .
s 2 = n /!, $3 = J 2 / 2 ,
where k = (a + b\ D=^(ba } 2 , M=^D.
When /i > w it may be taken at once for s 2 and n s 2
for / x .*
Aida objects to the length of such a rule, and he proposes
to solve the problem thus:
Let n = ab, where a < b.
Then let i (& a) = D.
Then ( Z?) (bD)=s 2 ,
Also let s r
and we have
Aida also did some work in indeterminate equations 2 and
was the first to take up the permutation of magic squares. 3
1 Ajima does not tell what to do for qi if \k a) 2 < ka.
2 As in solving 2* = xi 2 \x 2 2 + ^3* + *" 4 2 + ^5 2 . See the article by
C. HITOMI in the 'Journal of the Tokyo Physics School. From Aida's manu
script Sampo Seisiijutsu (On the method of solutions in integers), we also
take the following types:
I 2 ^I 2 + 22 X 2 2 + 3 2 A'f \ f TO 2 ^ 2 IO ==^ 2
and
I*! 2 + 2JC 2 2 +3^3 2 + 1 IO.*lio=J/ 2 .
This manuscript was probably written not earlier than 1807.
3 Upon the authority of K. KANO, to whom we are indebted for the
statement.
IX. The eighteenth Century. 193
He also gives an ingenious method for expanding a binomial,
or rather for writing down the coefficients in the expansion
i
of (a + b} n , which expresses roots in series.
One of the most interesting of Aida's solutions is that of
the problem to find the radius r of a regular wgon of side s. 1
He says that of the infinite series representing the successive
terms are
4.6 ' 46.8.10
3 (4)'] [5 1
4.6.8. 10.12.14
If we put m for , and x for , the series becomes
n.' 2 '
sin (m arc sin x) m m (m* i 2 ) 2
~^~~ " H " 3 !
m ( m2 _ T 2) ( m , 32)
5 ' *'
a series that has been attributed both to Newton and to Euler.
We therefore have
6
= 2 sin I arc sin
. l \
in ) ,
2 J '
S . IT
or = 2 sin ,
whence sin r = . It is generally conceded that Aida knew
that the formula had already been given in substance by
Kurushima. 2 It also appeared in Matsunaga's Hoyen Sankyo
of 1739
From the names considered in this chapter we might charac
terize the eighteenth century as one of problem solving, of the
extension of a rather illdefined application of infinite series
1 HAYASHI, History, part II, p. 13.
2 See p. 176.
IX. The eighteenth Century.
to the mensuration of the circle, of some slight improvement
in the various processes, of the rather arrogant supremacy of
the Seki school, and of a bitter feud between the independents
and the conservatives in the teaching of mathematics. And
this is a fair characterization of most of the latter half of the
century. There was, however, one redeeming feature, and this
is found in the work of Ajima Chokuyen, of whom we shall
speak in the next chapter.
CHAPTER X.
Ajima Chokuyen.
In the midst of the unseemly strife that waged between
Fujita and Aida in the closing years of the eighteenth century
there dwelt in peaceful seclusion in Yedo a mathematician who
surpassed both of these contestants, and who did much to
redeem the scientific reputation of the Japanese of his period.
A man of rare modesty, content with little, taking delight in
the simple life of a scholar rather than in the attractions of
office or society, almost unknown in the midst of the turmoil
of the scholastic strife of his day, Ajima Manzo Chokuyen *
was nevertheless a rare genius, doing more for mathematics
than any of his contemporaries.
He was born in Yedo in 1739, and as a samurai he served
there under the Lord of Shinjo, whose estates were in the
northeastern districts. He was initiated into the secrets of
mathematics by one Iriye Ochu 2 , who had studied in the
school of Nakanishi. He afterwards became a pupil of Yamaji
Shuju, and at this time he came to know Fujita Sadasuke with
whom he formed a close friendship but with whose controversy
with Aida he never concerned himself. And so he received
a training that enabled him to surpass all his fellows in solving
the array of problems that had accumulated during the century,
including all those which had long been looked upon as wholly
insoluble. Such a type of mind rarely extends the boundaries
of mathematical discovery, but occasionally an individual is
1 See also HARZER, P , loc. cit., p. 34 of the Kiel reprint of 1905.
2 Also given as Irie Masatada.
13*
196 X. Ajima Chokuyen.
found with this kind of genius who is at least able to help in
improving science by his genuine sympathy if not by his
imagination. Such a man was Ajima. His interests extended
from tenzan algebra to the Diophantine analysis, and from
simple trigonometry to a new phase of the yenri which had
occupied so much attention throughout the century. Possessed
of the genius of simplicity, he clothed in more intelligible form
the abstract work of his predecessors, even if he made no
noteworthy discovery for himself. Although his retiring nature
would not allow him to publish his works, he left many manu
scripts of which the more important may well occupy our
attention. He died in 1798 at the age of fiftynine years, 1
honored by his fellows as a Meijin 2 (genius, or person dexterous
in his art) in the field in which he labored.
In the Kanyen Muyuki* (1782) he gives a solution in integers
of the problem of n tangent circles described within a given
circle, and similarly for an array of circles tangent to one
another and to the given circle externally. The problem is
one of those in indeterminate analysis to which the Japanese
scholars paid much attention. Another indeterminate equation
considered by him is the following:
xS + xS + xj + x* + x 5 2 = j 2 .
This appears in a manuscript entitled Bekiwa Kaiho Muyuki
Seisujutsu (Integral solutions for the square root of the sum
of squares) and dated 1791.
Another work of his was the Sampo Kosofi in which the
famous Malfatti problem appears, to inscribe three circles in a
triangle, each tangent to the other two. Ajima does not,
however, consider the geometric construction, preferring to
attack the question from the standpoint of algebra, after the
usual manner of the Japanese scholars. The problem first
1 C. KAWAKITA, in his article in the Honcho Sugaku Koenshu says that
he is sometimes thought to have died in 1800, but the date given by us is
from the records of the Buddhist temple where he is buried.
2 The term may be compared to pandit in India.
3 Literally, Integral solutions of circles touching a circle.
4 Literally, A draft of a mathematical problem.
X. Ajima Chokuyen. 197
appears in Japan, so far as now known, in the Sampo Gakkai*
published by Ban Seiyei of Osaka in 1781, the solution being
much more complicated than that given subsequently by
Ajima. 2
The Senjo Ruiyenjutsu* and the Yennai Yoruiyenjutsu*
are two works upon groups of circles tangent to a straight
line and a circle, or to two circles. In the Renjutsu Henkan
(1784)5 he treats the subject still more generally, considering
the straight line as a limiting case of a circumference.
The Jnjikan Shinjutsuf a manuscript of 1794, considers the
question of an anchorring cut by two cylinders, a problem
first studied in Japan by Seki, and later by Arima in his Shuki
Sampo (1769), where infinitesimal analysis seems to have been
applied to it for the first time in this country. One of the
most famous problems solved by Ajima is that known as the
Gion Temple Problem, and treated by him in his Gion Sandai
no KaiJ The problem is as follows: "There is a segment of
a circle, and in this there are inscribed, on opposite sides of
the altitude, a circle and a square. Given the sum of the
chord, the altitude, the diameter of the inscribed circle, and a
1 Literally, Sea of learning for mathematical methods.
2 ENDO, Book III, p. 187. For the history of the problem in the West
see A. WlTTSTElN, Geschichte des Malfatti' schen Problems, Miinchen, 18(7,
Diss. ; M. BAKER in the Bulletin of the Philosophical Society of Washington,
Vol. IT, p. 113; Intorno alia vita ed agli scritti di Gianfranco Malfatti, in the
Boncompagni Bulletino, tomo IX, p. 361. For the isosceles triangle the
problem appears in the Opera of Jakob Bernoulli, Geneva, 1744, Problema
geometrica, lemma II, tomus I, p. 303. It was first published by Malfatti
(1731 1807) in the Memorie di Matematica e di Fisica, Modena, 1803, tomo X,
p. 235, five years after Ajima died.
3 Literally, On Circles described successively on a line. It appeared in
1784, and a sequel 1791.
4 Literally, On Circles described successively within a circle.
5 Literally, The Adapting of a general plan to special cases.
6 Literally, Exact method for the crossring.
7 Literally, The Analysis of the Gion Temple problem. The manuscript
is dated the 24^ day of the 6''> month, 1773, although ENDO (Book III,
p. 8) gives 1774 as the year.
X. Ajima Chokuyen.
side of the square, and also given the sum of the quotients
of the altitude by the chord, of the diameter of the circle by
the altitude, and of the side of the square by the diameter
of the circle, it is required to find the various quantities
mentioned."
The problem derives its name from the fact that it was, with
its solution, first hung before the Gion Temple in Kyoto by
Tsuda Yenkyu, a pupil of Nishimura Yenri's 1 , the solution
depending upon an equation of the 1024^ degree in terms of
the chord. The solution was afterward simplified by one
Nakata so as to depend upon an equation of the 46* degree.
Ajima attacked the problem in the year 1774, and brought it
down to the solution of an equation of the 10* degree. This
is not only a striking proof of Ajima's powers of simplification,
but it is also evidence of the improvement constantly going
on in the details of Japanese mathematics in the eighteenth
century.
Ajima considers in his Fujin Isshu (Periods of decimal
fractions) the problem of finding the number of figures con
tained in the repetend of a circulating decimal when unity is
divided by a given prime number. Although he states that
the problem is so difficult as to admit of no general formula,
he shows great skill in the treatment of special cases. To
assist him he had the work of at least two predecessors, for
Nakane Genjun had studied the problem for special cases in
his Kanto SampO of 1738, and in the Nisei Hyosen Ban Seiyei
of Osaka had given the result for a special case, but without
1 Whose Tengaku Shiyo (Astronomy extract) was published in 1/76.
X. Ajima Chokuyen. 199
the solution. Ajima was, however, the first Japanese scholar
to consider it in a general way.
He first gives a list of numbers from which, considered as
divisors of unity, there arise periods of from I to 16 figures,
as follows:
1 figure 3
2 figures 1 1
3 figures 37
4 figures 101
5 figures 41, 271
6 figures 7, 13
7 figures 239, 4649
8 figures 73 137
9 figures 333,667
10 figures 9091
11 figures 21,649, 5 i 3,239
12 figures 9901
13 figures 53, 79, 665,371,653
14 figures 909,091
15 figures 31, 2,906,161
16 figures 17, 5,882,353.
As an example of his methods we will consider his treat
ment of the special fractions and . Ajima assumes
353 103
without explanation that the required numbers are given by
one of the possible products of some of the prime factors in
353  i = 35 2 = 25xii
and 103 i = 102 = 2x3x17,
respectively. He then says that out of these products it can
be found by trial that the respective numbers sought are 32
and 34, but he does not tell how this trial is effected. This
was done later by Koide Shuki (1797 1865) and the result
appeared in print in the Sampo Tametebako (1879), a work
by Koide's pupil, Fukuda Sen, who wrote under the nom de
2OO X. Ajima Chokuyen.
plume Riken. Koide merely explains Ajima's work, using
identically the same numbers.
Neither his explanation nor Ajima's hint is, however, very
clear, and each shows both the difficulties met by followers
of the wasan and their tendency to keep such knowledge from
profane minds.
r n
For the expansion of V~N Ajima gives two formulas, 1 which
may be expressed in modern notation as follows:
T~> ,
=a^  am  D*m +  D 2 m
n 2 3
3
r i ^ < N'+ I (IH 2) [( i) ii 2 i
# n  m +>(i) r 1  L /' ,
2 2 tt 3
where m =
* 1 2 w 3 n i n
where m = ," . No explanation of the work is given.
He also treated of square roots by means of continued fractions,
the convergents of which he could obtain. 2
Ajima also studied the spiral of Archimedes, although not
under that name.^ It had been considered even before Seki's
time, 4 and Seki himself gave some attention to it.s Lord Arima
also discussed it in his S/iuki Sampo of 1769. It is to Ajirna,
however, that we are indebted for the only serious treatment
up to his time. He divided a sector of a circle by radii into
n equal parts, and then divided each of the radii also into n
equal parts by arcs of concentric circles. He then joined
successive points of intersection, beginning at the center and
1 In the Tetsujutsu Kappo of 1784.
2 HAYASHT, History, part II, p. 9, probably refers to his commentary on
Kurushima's method.
3 It was called by Japanese scholars yenkei, yempai, or yenwan.
4 As in Isomura's Ketsugisho of 1684.
5 In his KaiKendai no Ho, and reproduced in the Taisei Sankyo.
X. Ajima Chokuyen. 2OI
ending on the outer circle, and said that the limiting form of
this broken line for ;/ = oo was the yempai. He then preceded
to find the area between the curve and the original arc by
finding the trianguloid areas and summing these for n = o,
obtaining ar. In a similar fashion he rectifies the curve,
obtaining as a result the series
s = r , a *_ _ a < , a 6 ,
6r 4073 H2;5 115277 281679
a result that Shiraishi Ch5chu (1822) puts in a form equi
valent to
Ajima also gives a formula for the square of the length of the
curve, and summarizes his work by giving numerical values
for r = 10, a = 5, thus:
s = 10.402288144 . . .
s 2 = 108.2075996685 ...,
from which he concludes that Seki's treatment of the subject
was rather crude.
Ajima made a noteworthy change in the yenri, in that he
took equal divisions of the chord instead of the arc, thus
simplifying the work materially. 1 Indeed we may say that in
this work Ajima shows the first real approach to a mastery
of the idea of the integral calculus that is found in Japan,
which approach we may put at about the year 1775. Since
this work was so noteworthy we enter upon a more detailed
description than is usually required in speaking of the achieve
ments of the eighteenth century.
Ajima proceeds first to find the area of a segment of a
circle bounded by two parallel lines and the equal arcs inter
i This appears in his Kohaijutsu Kai (Note on the measurement of an
arc of a circle), the date of which is not known. ENDO (Book III, p. l)
thinks that it precedes his knowledge of the yenri as imparted by his
teacher Yamaji.
202
X. Ajima Chokuyen.
cepted by them, that is, the area ABCD in the figure. Here
we divide the chord c of the arc into n equal parts. 1
Then from the figure it is apparent that
where p r is the r th parallel from the diameter d.
Ajima now expands p r , without explaining his process (evi
dently that of the tetsujutsii), and obtains
3 /
,r i/rjiv _i
"TV rf ) ~~ 8
_ 3
& \~4
384 V rf
]
1
"
i In the figure the chord DC is divided into 5 equal parts, each part
being designated by fi, so that 5ja = <r.
X. Ajima Chokuyen. 203
Summing for r = I, 2, 3 n, and multiplying by u. we have
the following series:

4 8 d 384
. (23
5 4 +
2IS
66 #s _
 50027/9 + 8 5 80 #7 90097/5 + 45507/3 691 n)
1
Now substituting for i its value, , and then letting n
approach =, all terms with n in the denominator approach o
as a limit, and the limit to which the required area ap
proaches is
j f I r 3 I <r 5 3 c 1
area = a \ c ^ 
6 </2 40 </+ 336 d*>
15 c 9 105 r 945 ri3
3456 ^ 8 43240 </i 599040
204 X. Ajima Chokuyen.
From this Ajima easily derives the area of the segment, and
from that he gets the length of the arc, as follows:
_ r + l2 ^ 4. 12 '3 2 . , i*3' 2
"
23 <*' a 3 4 f 2.3.4.5.6.7 ^ 6
+ ,
from which other formulas may be derived.
Ajima also directed his attention to the problem of rinding
the volume cut from a cylinder by another cylinder which
intersects it at right angles. His result is given by his pupil
Kusaka Sei (1764 1839) 1 i n his manuscript work, the Fukyu
Sampo (1799), without explanation, as follows:
k z d
^ \ i
4 I
\
} ' ' '
o .. o
8 8 16 16 8 8 16 16 40
where k and d are the diameters of the pierced and piercing
cylinders, respectively, and where m = k 2 '. d 2 . 2 In another
work of I794, 3 however, Ajima gives an analysis of the problem,
cutting the solid into elements as in the case of the segment
of a circle already described. He then proceeds to the limit
as in that case, and thus gives a good illustration of a fairly
well developed integral calculus applied to the finding of
volumes. 4
Thus we at last find, in Ajima's work, the calculus established
in the native Japanese mathematics, although possibly with
considerable European influence. With him the use of the
double series again appears, it having already been employed
by Matsunaga and Kurushima, and by him the significance
of double integration seems first to have been realized. He
1 Or Kusaka Makoto.
2 ENDO attempts some explanation in his History, Book III, p. 25.
3 This is a manuscript of the Yenchii Senkiiyen Jutsti (Evaluation of a
cylinder pierced by another).
4 The work as given by Ajima is too extended to be set forth at length,
the theory being analogous to that which has already been illustrated.
X. Ajima Chokuyen. 205
lacked the simple symbolism of the West, but he had the
spirit of the theory, and although his contemporaries failed
to realize his genius in this respect, it is now possible to
look back upon his work, and to evaluate it properly. As
a result it is safe to say that Ajima brought mathematics to
a higher plane than any other man in Japan in the eighteenth
century, and that had he lived where he could easily have
come into touch with contemporary mathematical thought in
other parts of the world he might have made discoveries that
would have been of far reaching importance in the science.
CHAPTER XI.
The Opening of the Nineteenth Century.
The nineteenth century opened in Japan with one noteworthy
undertaking, the great survey of the whole Empire. At the
head of this work was Ino Chukei, 1 a man of high ability in
his line, and one whose maps are justly esteemed by all cartog
raphers. Until he was fifty years of age he lived the life of
a prosperous farmer. While not himself a contributor to pure
mathematics, he came in later life under the influence of the
astronomer Takahashi Shiji 2 (1765 1804), and at the solicitation
of this scholar he began the work that made him known as
the greatest surveyor that Japan ever produced. Takahashi
seems to have become acquainted with Western astronomy
and spherical trigonometry through his knowledge of the Dutch
language. He had also studied astronomy while serving as a
young man in the artillery corps at Osaka, his teacher having
been a private astronomer and diligent student named Asada
Goryu (17321799), by profession a physician. This Asada
was learned in the Dutch sciences^ and is sometimes said to
have invented a new ellipsograph. 4 In 1795 he was called to
1 Or InO Tadanori, InO Tatayoshi, whose life and works are now (1913)
being studied by Mr. R. Otani.
2 Or Takahashi Shigetoki, Takahashi Yoshitoki, Takahashi Munetoki.
3 As only physicians and interpreters were at this time.
4 A different instrument was invented by Aida Ammei, who left a manu
script work of twenty books upon the ellipse. There is also a manuscript
written by Hazama Jushin in 1828, entitled Dayen Kigen (A description of
the ellipse) in which it is claimed that the ellipsograph in question was
invented by the writer's father, Hazama Jufu (or Shigetomi) who lived
XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century. 207
membership in the Board of Astronomers of the shogunate,
an honor which he declined in favor of his pupils Takahashi
Shiji and Hazama Jufu. Takahashi thereupon took up his
residence in Yedo, where he died in I8O4, 1 five years after
Asada had passed away.
Among Asada's younger contemporaries was Furukawa Uji
kiyo (1758 1820), who founded a school which he called the
Shisei Sanka Ryu. 2 He was a shogunate samurai of high
rank, holding the office of financial superintendent, and although
a prolific writer he contributed little of importance to mathe
matics. 3 Nevertheless his school flourished, although it was
one of nineteen* at that time contending for mastery in Japan,
from 1756 to 1816, and that it dated from the beginning of the Kwansei
era (1789 1800). Hazama Juffi was a pupil of Asada's, and was a merchant.
1 It is said at about the age of forty.
z School of Instruction with Greatest Sincerity. It was also called the
Sanwaitchi school.
3 His Sanseki, a collection of tenzan problems consists of 223 books.
4 ENDO, Book III, p. 57. On account of the importance of these schools
in the history of education in Japan, the list is here reproduced for Western
readers :
1. Momokawa Ryu, or Momokawa's School, teaching the soroban arithmetic
as set forth in Momokawa's Kameizan of 1645.
2. Seki Ryu, or Seki's School.
3. Kuichi Ryu. The meaning is not known.
4. Nakanishi Ryu, or Nakanishi's School.
5. Miyagi Ryu, or Miyagi's School.
6. Takuma Ryfi, or Takuma's School.
7. SaijO Ryu, or Superior School, sometimes incorrectly given as Mogami
School.
8. Shisei Sanka Ryu, or Sanwa Itcjii Ryu. The latter name may mean
the Agreement of Trinity School.
9. Koryu, the 'Old School; or Yoshida Ryu, Yoshida's School.
10. Kurushima Gaku, or Kurushima's School.
11. Ohashi Ryu, or Ohashi's School.
12. Xakane Ryu, or Nakane's School, the TakebeNakane sect of the Seki
School.
13. Nishikawa Ryu, or Nishikawa's School.
14. Asada Ryu, or Asada's School.
15 Hokken Ryu. The meaning is not known.
2C>8 XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century.
and when he died it was continued by his son, Furukawa Ken
(17831837).
In this school, as in others of its kind, the tenzan algebra
attracted much attention. It will be recalled that it was first
made public in the Shuki Sampo, composed by Arima in 1769,
a treatise written in Chinese characters and in such an obscure
style as not easily to be understood. No better treatment
appeared, however, until one was set forth by Sakabe Kohan
(1759 1824)' in 1810 under the title Sampo Tenzan Shinan
Roku. 2 In the same year two other works were written upon
this subject, one by Ohara Rimei^ and the other by Aida,*
but neither of these had the merit of Sakabe's treatise. Sakabe
was in his younger days in the Fire Department of the sho
gunate, but he early resigned his post and became a ronin or
free samurai, devoting all of his time to study and to the
teaching of his pupils. He first learned mathematics from
Honda Rimei (1744 1821), who was a leader of the Takebe
Nakane sect of the Seki school, a man who was more of a
patriot than a mathematician, but who knew something of the
Dutch language and who was the first Japanese seriously to
study the science of navigation from European sources. Sakabe
also studied in the ArakiMatsunaga school and was one of
the most distinguished pupils of Ajima. He left a noble record
of a life devoted earnestly to the advance of his subject and
to the assistance of his pupils.
16. Komura Ryu, or Komura's School, a school of surveying.
17. Furuichi Ryfl, or Furuichi's School.
1 8. Mizoguchi Ryu, or Mizoguchi's School, a school of surveying.
19. Shimizu Ryu, or Shimizu's School, also a school of surveying.
1 He was a prolific writer, his other more important works being^the
Shinsen Tetsujutsu (1795) and the Kakujntsukeimo (Considerations on the
theory of the polygon, 1802). These exist only in manuscripts. His literal
name was Chugaku.
2 Exercise book on the tenzan methods.
3 Tenzan Shinan (Exercises in the tenzan method). Ohara died in 1831.
4 Sampo Tenshoho, or Sampo Tenseiho, Treatise on the Tensho method.
Aida called the tenzan method by the name tensho.
XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century. 209
Sakabe's treatise was published in fifteen Books, the last one
appearing in 1815. One of the first peculiarities of the work
that strikes the reader is the new arrangement of the sangi,
which it will be recalled were differently placed for alternate
digits by all early writers. Sakabe remarks that "it is ancient
usage to arrange these sometimes horizontally and sometimes
vertically, . . . but this is far from being a praiseworthy plan,
it being a tedious matter to rearrange whenever the places of
the digits are moved forwards or backwards." He adds: "I
therefore prefer to teach my pupils in my own way, in spite
of the ancient custom. Those who wish to know the shorter
method should adopt this modern plan."
Sakabe classifies quadratic equations according to three
types, much as such Eastern writers as AlKhowarazmi and
Omar Khayyam had done long before, and as was the custom
until relatively modern times in Europe. His types were as
follows:
ax 2 + bx + c = o,
ax* + bx c = o,
ax 2 bx + c = o,
and for these he gives rules that are equivalent to the formulas
and
He takes, as will be seen, only the positive roots, neglecting
the question of imaginaries, a type never considered in pure
Japanese mathematics. 1
1 Seki knew that there are equations with no roots, the musho shiki
(equations without roots), but of the nature of the imaginary he seems to
14
210
XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century.
Among his one hundred ninetysix problems is one in Book VI
to find the smallest circle that can be touched internally by a
given ellipse at the end of its minor axis, and the largest one
that can be touched externally by a given ellipse at the end
of its major axis. To solve the latter part he takes a sphere
inscribed in a cylinder and cuts it by a plane through a point
of contact, and concludes that the diameter of the maximum
circle is # 2 ' b, where a is the minor axis and b is the
major axis. For the other case he finds the diameter to be
&*  a.
Sakabe gives some attention to indeterminate equations.
Thus in solving (Problem 104) the equation
2# 2 + 7 2 = Z 2
he takes any even number for x and separates x* into two
factors, m and n, then taking
y = m ;/, z = m + n.
Among the geometric problems is the following (No. 138):
"There is a triangle which is divided into smaller triangles by
oblique lines so drawn from the vertex that the small inscribed
circles as shown in the figure are all equal. Given the altitude
k of the triangle and the diameter d of the circle inscribed
have been ignorant. In Kawai's Kaishlki Shimpo (1803) the statement is
made that there may be a mitsJw (without root), that is, a root that is
neither positive nor negative, but nothing is said as to the nature of such
a root.
XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century. 211
in the triangle, required to find the diameter of one of the n
equal circles." His solution may be expressed by the formula
where x is the required diameter.
In his Book X Sakabe gives some interesting methods of
summing a series, but none that involved any principle not
already known in Japan and in the world at large. They include
the general plan of breaking simple series into partial geometric
series, as in this case:
s = i + 2r + 3/ a + 4^ +
= i + r + r 2 + r* +
+ r + r 2 + r* +
+ r 2 + 73 +
In the same way he sums
i + r + 6r 2 +
5574 + .
and so on, these including the general types
i = co X= /' . /:= oo k = z'
". 2 (2
I r
r3
/
(/
+
14*
212 XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century.
In the extraction of roots Sakabe gives (Problem 167) a
rule for the evaluation of V N that has some interest. He
takes any number a^ such that a" is approximately equal
to N. From this he obtains a 2 = Na"~ I . Then the real
H
value of VN will evidently lie between a t and a 2 , so that he
takes for his third approximation a 3 = (a,. + a 2 ), increasing
M
or decreasing this slightly if it is known that YN lies nearer
#! or a 2 , respectively. He next calculates # 4 = N :  a 3 " 1 ,
and continues this process as far as desired. Thus, to find
5
1/0.125, let us take a x = 0.66. Then we find
a = 0.6597541,
* 3 = 0.6597539553865
where a 2 is correct to 5 decimal places and a 3 to 12 decimal
places.
Sakabe gives many other interesting problems, including
various applications of the yenri. Among his results is the
following series:
^L = I _jL_ *4 (i. 3). (4 6) (i. 3. 5). (4. 6. 8)
4 " 5 579 579H.I3 57 1517
He also treats of the length of the arc in terms of the chord
and altitude, as several writers had already done in the pre
ceding century, and he was the first Japanese to publish rules
for finding the circumference or an arc of the ellipse. 1
Sakabe also wrote in 1803 a work entitled the Rippo Eijiku, 2
in which he treated of the cubic equation, the roots being
expressed in a form resembling continued fractions which in
volved only square roots.3 In 1812 he published his Kwanki
1 Ajima is doubtfully said to have discovered these rules, but he did not
print them. Sakabe was the first to treat of the ellipse in a printed work.
2 Or Rippo Eichikic. Literally, Methods of approximating by increase and
decrease (the root of) a cubic.
3 This work was never printed. The same plan had been attempted by
one Fujita Seishin, of Tatebayashi in Joshu, and his manuscript had been
XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century. 2 1 3
kodoshohd? a work on spherical trigonometry, and in 1816
his Kairoanshinroku? a work on scientific navigation.
The bestknown of Sakabe's pupils was Kawai Kyutoku,3 a
shogunate samurai of high rank and at one time a Superintendent
of Finance. In 1803 Kawai published his Kaishiki ShimpoS
although it is suspected that Sakabe may have had a hand in
writing it. He records in the preface that Sakabe had told how
in his day some European and Chinese works had appeared
in Japan, but that in none of them was found so general a
method as he himself laid before his pupils. Indeed there was
some truth in this boast, since the subject considered was the
numerical higher equation, and, as we have seen, Horner's
method had long been known in the East. It was here that
China and Japan actually led the world, and when Sakabe
and Kawai improved upon the work of their countrymen
they a fortiori improved upon the rest of the mathematical
fraternity.
This improvement consisted first in abandoning the sangi in
favor of the sorobanp an ideal of all of the Japanese mathe
maticians of the eighteenth century. In the second place the
general plan of work was simplified, as will be seen from the
following summary of the process:
Let an equation of the #th degree, whose coefficients are
integers, either positive or negative, be represented by
! + a 2 x + a^x 2 + a n x H ~ "* + a >l+I x n = o.
The n roots are generally positive or negative according as
the pairs of coefficients (0 W + 1 , ), (, *_,), ( a > *,) have
different signs or the same sign. The ^th of these roots
(r= I, 2, 3 ) may be found as follows:
submitted to Sakabe, who found it so complicated that he proceeded to
simplify it in this work.
1 Literally, A short way to measure spherical arcs by the telescopic ob
servation of heavenly bodies.
2 Literally, The safety of navigation.
3 Or Kawai Hisanori.
4 New method of solving equations.
5 See Kawai, Kaishiki Shimpo (1803); and Endu, Book III, p. 53.
214 XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century.
First write
Then take
and let B=~>
A may be assigned any value so long as P shall not have
a different sign from a n _ r , t and <2 sna 'l n t have a different
sign from a M _ r+a .
Next proceed in the same way with A', denoting the result
by B'.
If now we shall find either that
A > B and A < B'
or that A < B and A' > B' ,
then there will be in general a root of the equation between
A and A'. Now by narrowing the limits between which the
root lies a first approximation may be reached, but it suffices
for a rough approximation to take the average of A, A', B
and B'.
Repeat the same process with the first approximation as
was followed with A and thus obtain a second approximation,
and so on.
For example, take the equation
3360 2174*+ 249* 2 x* = o.
Since # 3 and 4 have different signs, the first root is positive.
Let us begin with A = 10.
XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century. 215
Then _ 36,
10
336 21/4 =1838,
.,
10
 183.8 + 249 = 65.2 = p.
Also Q = i,
so that B = ~ = 6$ . 2.
Similarly y2 = 10 =65.2
/f = 100 .5' = 227
^" = 230 " = 239.6
A'"=2$o "'=240.3,
which shows that the first root lies between A" and A"', since
A" < B" and A"' > B'".
Furthermore
_ = 239.975, or nearly 240,
which is the first approximation.
In the same way the approximate second root is 7.21. The
rest of the computation is along lines previously known and
already described.
In 1820 an architect named Hirauchi Teishin 1 published a
work entitled Sampo Hengyd Shinan? and later the Shoka
Kiku Ydkai,* both intended for men of his profession and for
engineers. Much use is made of graphic computation, as in
the extraction of the cube root by the use of line intersections.
In 1840 Hirauchi wrote another work, the Sampo Chokujutsu
SeikaiS in which he treated of the geometric properties of
1 Also known by his earlier name of Fukuda Teishin.
2 Also transliterated Sampo Henkei ski nan. Literally, Treatise on the
Hengyo method, Hengyo meaning the changing of forms.
3 Literally, A short treatise on the line methods.
4 Exact notes on direct mathematical methods.
2l6 XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century.
figures rather than of their mensuration. While the book had
no special merit, it is worthy of note as being a step towards
pure geometry, a subject that had been generally neglected
in Japan, as indeed in the whole East.
It often happens in the history of mathematics, as in history
in general, that some particular branch seems to show itself
spontaneously and to become epidemic. It was so with algebra
in medieval China, with trigonometry among the Arabs, with
the study of equations in the sixteenth century Italian algebra,
and with the calculus in the seventeenth century. So it was
with the study of geometry in Japan. In the same year that
Hirauchi brought out his first little work (1820), Yoshida Juku
published his Kikujutsu Dzukai* in which he attempted the
solution of a considerable number of problems by the use of
the ruler and compasses. It is true that this study had
already been begun by Mizoguchi, and had been carried on
by Murata Koryu under whom Yoshida had studied, but the
latter was the first of the Mizoguchi school 2 to bring the
material together into satisfactory form.
About this time there lived in Osaka a teacher named Takeda
Shingen, who published in 1824 his Sampo Benran,* in which
the fan problems of the period appear (Fig. 42), and whose
school exercised considerable influence in the western provinces.
He also wrote the Shingen Sampo, a work that was published
by his son in 1844. The old epigram which he adopted "There
is no reason without number, nor is there number without
reason," is well known in Japan.
It is, however, with the early stages of geometry that we
are interested at this period, and the next noteworthy writer
upon the subject was Hashimote Shoho, who published his
Sampo Tenzan Shogakus/w* in 1830. The particular feature
1 Illustrated treatise on the line method. His works are thought by
some to have been written by Hasegawa.
2 ENDO, Book III, p. 91.
3 Mathematical methods conveniently revealed. He is sometimes known
by his familiar name, Tokunoshin.
4 Tenzan method for beginners.
XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century. 2 1/
of interest in his work is the geometric treatment of the center
of gravity of a figure. One of his problems is to find by
geometric drawing the center of gravity of a quadrilateral,
and the figure is given, although without explanation. 1
This problem of the center of gravity now began to attract
a good deal of attention in Japan. Perhaps the first real study 2
of the question was made by Takahashi Shiji, since a manu
script entitled Toko Scnsei Chojutsu Mokuroku* mentions a
work of his upon this subject. Since this writer was acquainted
with the Dutch language and science, he doubtless received
his inspiration from this source. His son Takahashi Keiho 4
(17861830) was, like himself, on the Astronomical Board of
Fig. 42. From Takeda Shingen's Sampo Benran (1824).
the Shogunate, and was imprisoned from 1828 until his death
in 1830, for exchanging maps with Siebold, whose work is
mentioned in Chapter XIV.
Of the other minor writers of the opening of the nineteenth
century the most prominent was Hasegawa Kan,s who published
his Sampo Shins ho (New Treatise on Mathematics) in 1830
1 ENDO, Book III, p. 107, gives a conjectural explanation. He is of
the opinion that both the problem and the solution come from European
sources.
2 The germ of the theory is found in Seki's writings.
3 List of Master Toko's writings, T6ko being his nom de plume.
4 Or Takahashi Kageyasu.
5 Or Hasegawa Hiroshi.
218
XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century.
under the name of one of his pupils. Hasegawa Kan was
himself a pupil, and indeed the first and bestknown pupil, of
Kusaka Sei, the same who had studied under the celebrated
Ajima, and hence he had good mathematical ancestry. His
work was a compendium of mathematics, containing the
soroban arithmetic, the "Celestial Element" algebra, the tenzan
algebra, the yenri, and a little work on geometry, includ
ing some study of roulettes (Fig. 43). So well written was
it that it became the most popular mathematical treatise in
Fig. 43. From Hasegawa Kan's Sampo Shinsho (1849 edition).
the country and brought to its author much repute as a
skilled compiler. Nevertheless the publication of this work
led to great bitterness on the part of the Seki school, in
asmuch as it made public the final secrets of the yenri that
had been so jealously preserved by the members of this
educational sect. 1 His act caused his banishment from among
the disciples of Seki, 2 but it ended the ancient regime of secrecy
* The yenri here described is not the same as that of Ajima or Wada.
* ENDO attributes his banishment to his having appropriated to his own
use the money collected for printing Ajima's Fukyu Sampo.
XI. The Opening of the Nineteenth Century. 219
in matters mathematical. Hasegawa died in 1838 at the age
of fiftysix years. 1
Among the noteworthy features of the Sampo Shinsho
mention should be made of the reversion of series* in one of
the geometric problems, and of the device of using limiting
forms for the purpose of effecting some of the solutions. One
of his algebraicgeometric problems is this: Given the diameters
of the three escribed circles of a triangle to find the diameter
of the inscribed circle. By considering the case in which the
three escribed circles are equal, as one of the limits of form,
Hasegawa gets on track of the general solution, a device that
is commonly employed when we first consider a special case
and attempt to pass from that to the general case in geometry.
The principle met with severe criticism, it being obvious that
we cannot reason from the square as a limit back to a rectangle
on the one hand and a rhombus on the other. Nevertheless
Hasegawa was very skilful in its use, and in 1835 he wrote
another treatise upon the subject, the Sampo Kyokugyo Shi
nan,^ published under the name of his pupil,'* Akita Yoshiichi
of Yedo.
It thus appears that the opening years of the nineteenth century
were characterized by a greater infiltration of western learning,
by some improvement in the tenzan algebra, and by the initial
steps in pure geometry. None of the names thus far mentioned
is especially noteworthy, and if these were all we should feel
that Japanese mathematics had taken several steps backward.
There was, however, one name of distinct importance in the
early years of the century, and this we have reserved for a
special chapter, the name of Wada Nei.
1 Professor Hayashi gives the dates 17921832. But see ENDO, Book II,
p. 12, and KAWAKITA'S article in the Honcho Siigakn Koenshu, p. 17.
2 An essentially similar problem, in connection with a literal equation of
infinite degree, seems to have been first studied by Wada Nei.
3 Treatise on the method of limiting forms.
4 A custom of Hasegawa's. See the note on Hirauchi, above.
CHAPTER XII.
Wada Nei.
It will be recalled that in the second half of the eighteenth
century Ajima added worthily to the yenri theory, bringing for
the first time to the mathematical world of Japan a knowledge
of a kind of integral calculus for the quadrature of areas and
the cubature of volumes. The important work thus started by
him was destined to be transmitted through his pupil, Kusaka
Sei, 1 to a worthy successor of whom we shall now speak at
some length.
Wada Yenzo Nei (i/S/'iS^), 2 a samurai of Mikazuki in the
province of Harima, was born in Yedo. His original name
was Koyama Naoaki, and in early life he served in Yedo in
the Buddhist temple called by the name Zojoji. He then
changed his name for some reason, and is generally known
in the scientific annals of his country as Wada Nei. After
leaving the temple life he took up mathematics under the
tutelage of Lord Tsuchimikado, hereditary calendarmaker to
the Court of the Mikado. He first studied pure mathematics
under a certain scholar of the Miyagi school, and then under
Kusaka Sei. As has already been mentioned, this Kusaka
compiled the Ftikyu Sampo from the results of his contact
with Ajima, thus bringing into clear light the teaching of his
master. Although it must be confessed that he did not have the
genius of Ajima, nevertheless Kusaka was a remarkable teacher,
1 ENDO, Book III, p. 127. See p. 172.
2 KOIDE, Yenri Sankyo, preface. See Chapter XIV.
XII. Wada Nei. 221
giving to mathematics a charm that fascinated his pupils and
that inspired them to do very commendable work. Money
had no attraction for him, and he lived a life of poverty,
dying in 1839 at the age of seventyfive years. 1
As to Wada, no book of his was ever published, and all
of his large number of manuscripts, which were in the keeping
of Lord Tsuchimikado, were consumed by fire, 2 that great
and everpresent scourge of Japan that has destroyed so much
of her science and her letters. Eking out a living by fortune
telling and by teaching penmanship, as well as by giving
instruction in mathematics, 3 selling some of his manuscripts to
gratify his thirst for liquor, Wada's life had little of happiness
save what came as the reward of his teaching. He claimed
to have had among his pupils some of the most distinguished
mathematicians of his day, 4 men who came to him to learn
in secret, recognizing his genius as an investigator and as a
teacher.s
It will be recalled that Ajima had practiced his integration
by cutting a surface into what were practically equal elements
and summing these by a somewhat laborious process, and
then passing to the limit for n = oo. In a similar manner he
found the volumes of solids. In every case some special series
had to be summed, and it was here that the operation became
tedious. Wada therefore set about to simplify matters by con
structing a set of tables to accomplish the work of the modern
table of integrals. Since his expression for "to integrate" was
the Japanese word "to fold" (tatamu], these aids to calculation
were called "folding tables" (joJiyd), and of these he is known
1 ENDO, Book III, p. 121; C. KAWAKITA'S article in the Honcho Sitgaku
Koenshu, p. 17; KOIDE, Yenri Sankyo, preface.
* KOIDE, Yenri Sankyo, MS. of 1842, preface.
3 ENDO, Book III, p. 128.
4 The original list on some waste paper is now in the possession of
N. Okamoto. The list includes the names of Shiraishi, Kawai, Uchida,
SaitO, and Ushijima, with many others.
5 See also ENDO, Book III, p. 86.
222
XII. Wada Nei.
to have left twentyone, arranged in pamphlet form and bearing
distinctive names. 1
In 1818 Wada wrote the Yenri Shinko in two books, published
only in manuscript. In this he begins by computing the area
of a circle in the following manner:
The diameter is first divided into 2n equal parts. Then,
drawing the lines as shown in the figure, it is evident that
a
D, D;
d
2n
M
D:
M
:ko:
B
and
whence
D D ' =
r r n '
1 ENDO, Book III, p. 74.
XII. Wada Nei. 223
Hence twice the area of D D" N" N
r r i i > i
_d 2 ( __ ^ __ I.H 1.376 _ I _L3^S^ 8 _ \
n \ 2n* 244 2. 4. 66 2.4.6.8^8
Summing for r = I, 2, 3, . . . #, we have
d* f i * i " \
77 v*  ^ 2 r * ~ ^^4 2 rl> )'
Multiplying, and then proceeding to the limit for n = oo, we
have the area of the circle expressed by the formula
a== d 2 (i  _J_ *3 1.35 \
2.3 2.4.5 2.4.6.7 2.4.6.8.9
In the two operations of summing and proceeding to the limit
Wada makes use of his "folding tables."
By a similar process Wada finds the circumference to be
I* I 2 .
.
3! 5! 7!
and he obtains formulas for the area of a segment of a circle
bounded by an arc and a chord, or by two arcs and two
parallel chords. 1 It is also said that he gave upwards of a
hundred infinite series expressing directly or indirectly the
value of it, 2 among which were the following:
1 For the complete treatment see HARZER, P., loc. cit., p. 33 of the Kiel
reprint of 1905. HARZER shows that the formula used is essentially Newton's
of 1666, given later by Wallis.
2 ENDO, A short account of the progress in finding the value of n in Japan
(in Japanese), in the Rigakkai, vol. Ill, No. 4, p. 24.
224 XII. Wada Nei.
945
_ _
3.2 5.8 748 9384 113840
^ = J_ JL 4. _A_ *5 , I0 5 , __945_
4 " 3 52 78 948 T 11.384 ~ 13.3840 "*
JL , _1_ , _3__ , _L5_ I0 5 , 945
8 "3 152 358 63.48 " r 99.384 T 1433840
. *. i. 4. L. 4.  3  4. I5 4 J 5 4 .
32 15 T 35.2 f 63.8 ^ 99.48 T 143384 ^
= T _ l 4. A__ I ! + Ii_J?45 , ...
4 3 15 I0 5 945 10395 T
TT = _i 3 , IS , i5 , .
2 1/2^ 3 2  2 5822 ">" 7.48.23 9. 384. 24 ^
the larger numbers in the denominators of these formulas being
2, 2.4, 2.4.6, . ..
3. 35 357,
i3, 35, 57,
The same principle that he applies to the circle he also uses
in connection with the ellipse, 1 finding the perimeter to be 2
where ; = ( i ), and where for n=i the term is to
4 N a 2 /
be taken as in.
Wada also turned his attention to the computation of volumes,
simplifying Ajima's work on the two intersecting cylinders, and
in general developing a very good working type of the integral
calculus so far as it has to do with the question of men
suration.
The question of maxima and minima had already been con
sidered by Seki more than a century before Wada's time, the
1 In his Setsukei Jungyakit.
2 ENDO, Book III, p. 81.
XII. Wada Nei. 225
rule employed being not unlike the present one of equating, a
differential coefficient to zero, although no explanation was
given for the method. Naturally it had attracted the attention
of many mathematicians of the Seki school, but no one had
ventured upon any discussion of the reasons underlying the
rule. The question is still an open one as to where Seki
obtained the method. In the surreptitious intercourse with the
West it would be just such a rule that would tend to find its
way through the barred gateway, it being more difficult to
communicate a whole treatise. At any rate the rule was known
in the early days of the Seki school, and it remained un
explained for more than a century, and until Wada took up
the question. 1 He not only gave the .reason for the rule, but
carried the discussion still further, including in his theory the
subject of the maximum and minimum values of infinite series. 2 ^
In this way he was able to apply the theory to questions in
volved in the yenri where, as we have seen, infinite series are
always found.
In 1825 Wada wrote a work entitled lyen Sampo* in which
he treated of what he calls "circles of different species." He
says that "if the area of a square be multiplied by the moment
of circular area 4 it is altered 5 into a circle, and we have the
area (of this circle). If the area of a rectangle be multiplied
by the moment of circular area it is altered into an ellipse,
and we have the area (of this ellipse). If the volume of a
cube or a cuboid be multiplied by the moment of the spheri
cal volume, 6 it is altered into a sphere or a spheroid, and
we have its volume. These are processes that are well known.
It is possible to generalize the idea, however, applying these
1 It is found in his manuscript entitled Tekijin Hokyiifw,
2 ENDO, Book III, p. 83.
3 On Circles of different species.
4 I. e., by . We would say, a = Ttr*. The Japanese, however, always
considered the diameter instead of the radius.
5 This seems the best word by which to express the Japanese form.
6 I. e., by it.
226
XII. Wada Nei.
processes to the isosceles trapezium, to the rectangular pyr
amid, and so on, obtaining circles and spheres of different
forms."
For example, given an ellipse inscribed in the rectangle
ABCD as here shown. Take YY' the midpoints of DC and
AB, respectively and construct the isosceles triangle A BY.
Draw any line parallel to AB cutting the ellipse in P and Q,
and the triangle in M and N, as shown. Now take two
points P e , Q' on PQ, symmetric with respect to YY', and
such that AB:MN=PQ:P'Q'. Then the locus of P' and
Q' becomes a curve of the form shown in the figure, touching
AY and BY at their midpoints X' and X, and the line AB
XII. Wada Nei. 227
at F'. If now we let YY' = a, and X'X=b, we may con
sider three species of curve, 1 namely for a~>b, a b, a<ib.
Wada then finds the area inclosed by this curve to be
Tiafi, the process being similar to the one employed for the
other curvilinear figures. He also generalizes the proposition
by taking an isosceles trapezium instead of the isosceles triangle
ABY, the area being found, as before, to be nab, where
a and b are FF' and X' X in the new figure.
Wada also devoted his attention to the study of roulettes,
being the first mathematician in Japan who is known to have
considered these curves. It is told how he one time hung
before the temple of Atago, in Yedo, the results of his studies
of this subject, although doing so in the name of one of his
pupils. The problem and the solution are of sufficient interest
to be quoted in substantially the original form. 2
"There is a wheel with center A as in the figure, on the
circumference of which is the center of a second wheel B,
while on the circumference of B is the center of a third
1 Wada calls these the seitoyen (flourishing flameshaped circle), hoshuyen,
and suitoyen (fading flameshaped circle).
2 From the original. See also ENDO, Book III, p. 103.
IS*
228
XII. Wada Nei.
wheel, C. Beginning when the center C is farthest from the
center A, the center B moves along the circumference of A,
to the right, while the center C moves along the circum
ference of B, also to the right, the motions having the same
angular velocity so that C and B return to their initial positions
at the same time. Let the locus described by C be known
as the kiyen (the tortoise circle). Given the diameters of the
wheels A and B, where the maximum of the latter should be
half of the former, required to find the area of the kiyen.
"Answer should be given according to the following rule:
Take the diameter of the wheel B; square it and double; add
the square of the diameter of A; multiply by the moment of
the circular area, and the result is the area of the kiyen.
"A pupil of Wada Yenzo Nei, the founder of new theories
in the yenri, sixth in succession of instruction in the School
of Seki." 1
Wada's work in the domain of maxima and minima was
carried on by a number of his contemporaries or immediate
B
successors, among whom none did more for the theory than
Kemmochi Yoshichi Shoko. His contribution* to the subject
is called the Yenri Kyokusu Shokai (Detailed account of the
1 The rule is equivalent to saying that the area is IT (a* J 2<$ 2 ), where
a and b are the diameters of A and B. Possibly this pupil was Koide Shuki.
Wada's detailed solution is lost.
2 Unpublished, and exact date unknown.
XII. Wada Nei. 229
CirclePrinciple method of finding Maxima and Minima), and
contains two problems. The first of these problems is to find
the shortest circular arc of which the altitude above its chord
is unity. For this he gives two solutions, each too long to
be given in this connection. His second problem is to con
struct a right triangle ABC with hypotenuse equal to unity,
such that the arc A A' described with C' as a center, as in
the figure, shall be the maximum, and to find the length of
this maximum arc. 1
1 In KEMMOCHI'S work there are certain transcendental equations which
are solved by an approximation method known in Japan by the name Kanrui
jutsii, possibly due to SaitS Gigi or his father. Kemmochi certainly learned
it from him. He also wrote a work usually attributed to Iwai Juyen, the
Sampo yenri hio shaku, one of the first to explain the Kwatsujutsu method.
It should be mentioned that the cycloid had been considered before Wada's
time by Shizuki Tadao, who discussed it in his Rekisho Shinsho (1800).
CHAPTER XIII.
The Close of the Old Wasan.
Having now spoken of Wada's notable advance in the yenri
or Circle Principle, in which he developed an integral calculus
that served the ordinary purposes of mensuration, there remains
a period of activity in this same field between the time in
which he flourished and the opening of Japan to foreign com
merce, which period marks the close of the old wasan, or
native mathematics. Part of this period includes the labors
of some of Wada's contemporaries, and part of it those of the
next succeeding generation, but in no portion of it is there
to be found a genius such as Wada. It was his work, his
discoveries, his teaching that inspired two generations of mathe
maticians with the desire to further improve upon the Circle
Principle. We have seen how the story is told that the best
mathematicians of his day went to him in secret for the
purpose of receiving instruction or suggestions, and it is further
related that his range of discoveries was greater than his regular
pupils knew, and that some of these discoveries appear as the
work of others. This is mere rumor so far as any trust
worthy evidence goes to show, but it lets us know the high
estimate that was placed upon his abilities.
Among his contemporaries who gave serious attention to
the yenri was a merchant of Yedo by the name of lyezaki
Zenshi who published a work in two parts, the Gomel Sampo,
of which the first part appeared in 1814 and the second in
1826. There is a charming little touch of Japan in the fact
that many of the problems relate to figures, and in particular
to groups of ellipses, that can be drawn upon a folding fan,
that is, upon a sector of an annulus.
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan. 23 I
lyezaki gives also some problems in the yenri of a rather
advanced nature. For example, he gives the area of the
maximum circular segment that can be inscribed in an isosceles
triangle of base b and so as to touch the equal sides s, as
He also states that if an arc be described within a right
triangle, upon the hypotenuse as the chord, and if a circle be
drawn touching this arc and the two sides of the triangle, the
maximum diameter of this circle is
where a, b and c are the sides.
Contemporary with lyezaki, or immediately following him,
were several other writers who paid attention to figures drawn
Fig. 44. From Yamada Jisuke's Sampo Tenzan Shinan
(Bunkwa era, 1804 1818).
upon fans. Among these may be mentioned Yamada Jisuke
whose Sampd Tenzan Shinan (Instructor in the tenzan mathe
matics) appeared early in the century (see Fig. 44); Takeda
Tokunoshin whose Kaitei Sampd appeared in 1818 (see Fig. 45);
Ishiguro Shinyu (see Fig. 46), already mentioned in Chapter V
232 XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
as the last Japanese writer to make much of the practice of
proposing problems for his rivals to solve; and Matsuoka
Fig. 45. From Takeda Tokunoshin's Kaitei Sampo (1818).
Fig. 46. Tangent problem from Ishiguro Shinyu (1813).
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
233
Yoshikazu, whose Sangaku Keiko Daizen, an excellent com
pendium of mathematics, appeared in 1808 and again in 1849.
Also contemporary with lyezaki was Shiraishi Chochu (1796
1862) who published a work entitled SJiamei Sampu* in 1826.
He was a samurai in the service of Lord Shimizu, a near
relative of the Shogun. While most of the problems in this
treatise relate to the yenri, there is some interesting work in
the line of indeterminate equations. One of these equations
bears the name of Gokai Ampon, and like the rest was hung
before some temple. The problem is as follows:
"There are three integral numbers, heaven, earth, and man,
which being cubed and added together give a result of which
the cube root has no decimal part. Required to find the
numbers."
The problem is, of course, to solve the equation x* + j3 + z*
= # 3 i n integers. The solution is given in Gokai's name, and
he is known to have been an able mathematician, but whether
it was his or Shiraishi's is unknown. In a manuscript com
mentary on the work 2 the following discussion of the equation
appears:
First a table is constructed as follows:
I 3 +
7 =
23
123 +
469= 133
23 +
19 =
3 3
133 +
547= 143
3 3 +
37 =
43
I4 3 +
631 = 153
4 3 +
61 =
5 3
i5 3 +
721 = 163
5 3 +
91 =
6 3
l6 3 +
817= 173
i7 3 +
r\j }  r83
913 10
o 3 +
T 1 _l_
127 =
7 3
S3
I 83 +
1027 = 193
7 j +
3
83 +
03 +
217 =
271
9 3
IQ3
53 3 +
8587 = 543
IQ3 +
113
113 +
397 =
123
1023+31519=1033
1 Mathematical Results hung in Temples.
2 Shamei Sampu Kaigi.
3 In the table these missing numbers are given, but they are not necessary
for our purposes.
234 xni  The CIose of the Old VVasan.
Taking the second terms, 7, 19, 37, . . ., it will be seen that
the successive differences are as follows:
7 19 37 61 91 127
12 1 8 24 30 36
6666
We can thus easily pick out the numbers that are the sums
of two cubes, such as 91 = 3 3 + 4 3 , 1027 = 3 3 4 io 3 , and so
on, and frame the corresponding relations as has been done
in the table, adding others at will, such as
I97 3 + 117019= I98 3
3O6 3 + 281827 = 307 3 .
Then writing n=y+ i,
from A' 3 + jF 3 + z* = 3
we can derive
Then writing the selected equalities in the form
4 3 + 53+33= 6 3 3i 3 + iO2 3 H i2 3 =
IQ3 + 1 83 + 33 = 193 463 + 1973 + 273 =
193 + 533 + 123 = 543 643 + 306^ + 273 == 3075
we notice that our values of x, y, z, and n may be expressed
as follows:
*3.i + i 33 + 1 36+1 3.10+1 3.15 + 1 32i + i
y 5 18 53 102 197 306
a 3 12 3i 2 32 2 32 2 33 2 33 2
n 6 19 54 103 198 307
We therefore see that z is of the form 3 2 . Corresponding
to this value of z, x is of the form
where r= 2 I or 2 a, alternately. That is,
x = 6a 2 + 3 + i.
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
235
Substituting these values in (i) we have
324<2 6 + 432^5 + 360^+ i8o#3 + 6oa*_ \2a + i
= 4j 2 + 47 + i
from which
y = 9^3 + 6a 2 + $a, or ga* 6a 2 + $a i,
and n = y + i = 9# 3 + 6<2 2 + 30+1, or 9^3_6 rt 2 + 30,
which gives the general solution.
Among the geometric problems given by Shiraishi two, given
in Ikada's name, may be mentioned as types.
The first is as follows: "An ellipse is inscribed in a rectangle,
and four circles which are equal in pairs are described as
shown in the figure, A and B touching the ellipse at the same
point. Given the diameters (a and b} of the circles, required
to find the minor axis of the ellipse." The result is given as
a + b + V(2a + d) b.
The second problem is to find the volume cut from a sphere
by a regular polygonal prism whose axis passes through the
center of the sphere.
There are also two problems given as solved by Shiraishi's
pupils Yokoyama and Baishu, of which one is to find the volume
236
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
cut from a cylinder by another cylinder that intersects it
orthogonally and touches a point on the surface, and the
other is to find the volume cut from a sphere by an elliptic
cylinder whose axis passes through the center.
The Shamei Sampu contains a number of problems of this
general nature, including the finding of the spherical surface
that remains when a sphere is pierced by two equal circular
cylinders that are tangent to each other in a line through the
Fig. 47. From Iwai Juyen's Sampo Zasso (1830).
center of the sphere; the finding of the area cut from a
spherical surface by a cylinder whose surface is tangent to
the spherical surface at one point; the finding of the volume
cut from a cone pierced orthogonally to its axis by a cylinder,
and the finding the surface of an ellipsoid.
Shiraishi also wrote a work entitled Suri Mujinzo* but it
1 An inexhaustible Fountain of Mathematical Knowledge. It is given in
Ikeda's name.
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
237
was never printed. It is a large collection of formulas and
relations of a geometric nature. His pupil Kimura Shoju
published in 1828 the Onchi Sanso which also contained
T ^ 
Fig. 48. From Aida Yasuaki's Sampo Kokon Tsiiran.
238 XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
numerous problems relating to areas and volumes. Interesting
tangent problems analogous to those given by Shiraishi are
found in numerous manuscripts of the nineteenth century.
Illustrations are seen in Figs. 50 and 51, from an undated
manuscript by one Ivvasaki Toshihisa, and in Fig. 48, from
a work by Aida Yasuaki.
Another work applying the yenri to mensuration, the Sampo
Zasso, by Iwai Juyen (or Shigeto), appeared in 1830. Iwai
was a wealthy farmer living in the province of'Joshu and he
had studied under Shiraishi. He also gives the problem of
the intersecting cylinders (see Fig. 47), and the problem of
finding the area of a plane section of an anchor ring. In
Fig. 49. From Horiike's Yomw Sampo (1829).
1837 Iwai published a second work entitled Yenri Hyoshaku?
although it is said that this was written by Kemmochi Yoshichi.
In this the higher order of operations of the yeuri were first
made public, and some notion of projection appears. Another
work published in the same year, the Keppi Sampo by Hori
ike Hisamichi, resembles it in these respects. Horiike's Yo
mio Sampo (1829) contains some interesting fan problems
(see Fig. 49).
More talented as a mathematician, however, and much more
popular, was Uchida Gokan, 2 who at the age of twentyseven
1 The Method of the Circle Principle explained.
1 Or Uchida Itsumi.
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
239
Fig. 50. Tangent problem, from a manuscript by Iwasaki Toshihisa.
240
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
published a work that brought him at once into prominence.
Uchida was born in 1805 and studied mathematics under
Kusaka, taking immediate rank as one of his foremost pupils.
In 1832 he published his Kokon Sankan' 1 in two books which
included a number of problems that were entirely new, and
did much to make the higher yenri. Sections of an elliptic
wedge, for example, were new features in the mathematics of
Japan, and the following problems showed his interest in the
older questions as well:
There is a rectangle in which are inscribed an ellipse and
four circles as shown in the figure. Given the diameters of
the three circles A, B and C, viz., a, b and c, it is required
to find the diameter of the circle D.
The rule given is as follows: Divide a and b by c, and take
the difference between the square roots of these quantities.
To this difference add i and square the result This multiplied
by c gives the diameter of D. This rule was suspected by
the contemporaries and the immediate successors of Uchida,
but they were unable to show that it was false.* Uchida was,
i Mirror (model) of ancient and modern Mathematical Problems.
* For this information the authors are indebted to T. HAGIWARA, the only
survivor, up to his death in 1909, of the leaders of the old Japanese school.
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
241
however, aware of it, although it appears in none of his
writings. 1 Uchida also gave several interesting fan problems
(see Fig. 55).
Uchida died in 1882, having contributed not unworthily
to mathematics by his own writings, and also through the
works of his pupils. 1 Among the latter works are Shino
Chikyo's Kakki Sampo (1837), Kemmochi's Tani Sampo (1840)
t
Fig. 51. Problem of spheres tangent to a tetrahedron, from a manuscript
by Iwasaki Toshihisa.
and Sampo Kaiwun (1848), Fujioka's Sampo Yenritsu (1845),
Takenouchi's Sampo Yenri Kappatsu (1849) an d Kuwamoto
Masaaki's Senyen Kattsu (1855), not to speak of several others.
1 This information is communicated to us by C. KAWAKITA, one of
Uchida's pupils.
2 C. KAWAKITA'S article in the Honcho Sugaku Koenshii, 1908, p. 20.
Shino Chikyo's nom de plume was Kenzan.
16
242
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
Among the contemporaries of Wada should also be men
tioned Saito Gigi, whose Yenrikan appeared in 1834. It is
possible that the real author was Saito's father, Saito Gicho
(17841844), who also took much interest in mathematics.
Father and son were both welltodo farmers in Joshu with
whom mathematical work was more or less of a pastime. The
Yenrikan deserves this passing mention on account of the
fact that": it contains a problem on the center of gravity, and
several problems on roulettes.
Fig. 52. From Kobayashi's Sampo Koren (1836).
In 1836 appeared Kobayashi Tadayoshi's Sampo Koren in
which is considered the volumes of intersecting cylinders and a
problem on a skew surface. The latter is stated as follows:
"There is a 'rhombic rectangle' 1 which looks like a rectangle
when seen from above, and like a rhombus when seen from
the right or left, front or back. Given the three axes, required
the area of the surface." Here the bases are gauche quadri
laterals. (The drawing is shown in Fig. 52.) Saito also published
a similar work, the Yenri Shinshin, in 1840.
1 This is the literal translation of choku bishi. The figure is a solid and
is denned in the problem.
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
243
At about the same period there appeared numerous works
of somewhat the same nature, of which the following may be
mentioned as among the best:
Gokai Ampon's (17961862) Sampo Semmon Sho (1840), a
work on the advanced tenzan theory, with some treatment of
magic squares (Fig. 54).
*P S # f
V A ? V
^ fc
v\,. JS
*t
^ :
Fig S3 From Murata's Sampo Jikata Shinan (1835).
Yamamoto Kazen's Sampo Jojutsu' 1 (1841), containing an
extensive list of formulas and excellent illustrations of the
problems of the day (see Fig. 57).
Murata Tsunemitsu's Sokuyen Shokai (1833), relating to the
tenzan algebra applied to the ellipse, and his Sampo Jikata
Shinan (1835), dealing with enginering problems (Fig. 53).
Murata's pupil Toyota wrote the Sampo Dayenkai in 1842,
also relating to the tenzan algebra applied to the ellipse. 2
1 Aids in Mathematical Calculation.
2 Besides Murata's work we have consulted ENDO, Book III, p. 129.
16*
244
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
m
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Fig. 54. Magic Squares from Gokai's Sampo Semmon Sho (1840).
A work by a Buddhist priest, Kakudo written in Kyoto
in 1794 and published in 1836, entitled Yenri Kiku Sampo,
giving a summary of the yenri.
Chiba Tanehide's Sampo Shinsho (1830), a large compendium
of mathematics, actually the work of Hasegawa Kan.
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
245
Fig. 55. From Uchida's Kokon Sankan (1832).
The Sampo Tenzan Tebikigusa, of which the first part was
published by Yamamoto in 1833 an d the second part by
Omura Isshu (1824 1891) in 1841. This was a treatise on
Fig. 56. From Minami's Sampo Yenri Sandai (1846).
246
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
tenzan algebra. Some of the fan problems in this work are of
considerable interest. (See Fig. 58.)
Kikuchi Choryo's Sampo Seisu Kigensho (1845), a treatise
on indeterminate analysis.
t
Fig. 57. From Yamamoto Kazan's Sampo Jojutsu (1841).
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
247
Minami Ryoho's Sampo Yenri Sandai (1846), with some
treatment of roulettes (see Fig. 56) and the Juntendo Sampu*
(1847) by Iwata Seiyo and Kobayashi (not Tadayoshi). Curi
ously, the first ten pages of Minami's work are numbered with
Arabic numerals.
Kaetsu's Sampo Yenri Katsund (1851), a work on the higher
yenri. This was considered of such merit that it was reprinted
in China.
Iwasaki Toshihisa's Yachu sak kai (1831), Saku yen riu kwai
7
f
v^
^/
.
Jfr.
*
tr
1 :
* ty $ ^
& ^ &
Fig. 58. From Yamamoto and Omura Isshu's SampO Tenzan Tebikigusa
(1833, 18 4 I).
Juntendo Mathematical Problems.
248 XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
gi, and Shimpeki sampo, all works of considerable merit in the
line of geometric problems.
Baba Seito's Shisatsu Henkai (1830), generally known by
the later title Sampo Kisho.
Hasegawa Ko's Kyuseki Tsuko* (1844), published under the
name of his pupil Uchida Kyumei. This is more important
than the works just mentioned. It consists of five books and
gives a very systematic treatment of the yenri, beginning
with the theory of limits and the use of the "folding tables"
of Wada Nei. It treats of the circular wedge and its sections,
of the intersections of cylinders and spheres (see Fig. 59), of
ovals, or circles of various classes, as studied by Wada, and
also of the cycloid and epicycloid.
The study of the catenary begins about 1860. The first to
give it attention were Omura and Kagami, but the first printed
work in which it is discussed is the Sampo Hoyenkan (1862)
of Hagiwara Teisuke (1828 1909). Another interesting problem
which appears in this work is that of the locus of the point of
contact of a sphere ' and plane, the sphere rolling around on
the plane and always touching an anchor ring that is normal
to and tangent to the plane. Hagiwara also published a work
entitled Sampo Yenri Shiron (1866) in which he corrected the
results of thirtyfour problems given in twentytwo works
published at various dates from the appearance of Arima's
Shuki Sampo (1769) to his own time (see Figs. 60, 6 1). He also
published a work entitled Yenri Sanyo (1878), the result of
his studies of the higher yenri problems. His manuscript called
the Reikan Sampo was published in 1910 through the efforts
of a number of Japanese scholars. / Hagiwara was born in
1828, and was a farmer in narrow circumstances in the
province of Joshu. Not until about 1854 did he take an
interest in mathematics, but when he recognized his taste for the
subject he became a pupil of Saito's, traveling on foot ten
miles on the eve of a holiday so as to have a full day with
his teacher. His manuscripts were horded in a miserly fashion
1 General Treatment of Quadrature and Cubature.
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
249
M^i
5* it 4 si >DM >u
W t
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J ^ n ii
f ^
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i
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^i,
*
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t
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^
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Fig 59 From Hasegawa Ko's Kyuseki Tsuko (1844).
250
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
until his death, November 28, 1909, when the last great mathe
matician of the old school passed away.
Mention should be made at this time of the leading mathe
maticians who were the contemporaries of Hagiwara, and who
were living when the Shogunate gave place to the Empire in
1868. Of these, Hodoji Wajuro was born in 1820 and died
in 1 87 1. 1 He was the son of a smith in Hiroshima, and although
he led a kind of vagabond existence he had a good deal of
mathematical ability. It is said that he was the real author
of Kaetsu's Yenri Katsuno. Several other books are known
to have been written by him, but they were not published
under his own name.
Iwata Kosan (1812 1878), born a samurai, devoted his
attention particularly to the ellipse. The following is his best
known problem:
Given an ellipse E tangent to
two straight lines and to four
circles, A, B, C, D, as shown in
the figure. Given the diameters
of A, B and C, required to find
the diameter of D. His solution,
given in 1866, is essentially the pro
portion a\b = c:d, where a, b, c,
d are the respective diameters of
A, B, C and D. The problem
was afterwards extended to any
four conies instead of four circles,
by H. Terao and others.
Kuwamoto Masaaki wrote the
Senyen Kattsu in 1855, and in it
he treated of roulettes of various
kinds (see Fig. 62), of elliptic wedges (see Fig. 63), and other
forms at that time attracting attention.
Takaku Kenjiro (1821 1883) wrote the Kyokusu 'I aiseijutsu
in which he made some contribution to the theory of maxima
and minima.
1 C. KAWAKITA, in the Honcho Sugaku Koenshu, p. 23.
D
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
251
Fig. 60. From Hagiwara's Sampo Yenri Shiran (1866).
Fukuda Riken (1815 1889) lived first in Osaka and finally
in Tokyo. He was a teacher of some prominence, and his
Sampo Tamatebako appeared in 1879.
H.
jvvs
Fig. 6l. From Hagiwara's Sampo Yenri Shiran (1866).
252
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan.
Yanagi Yuyetsu (1832 1891) was a naval officer who gave
some attention to the native Japanese mathematics.
Fig. 62. From Kuwamoto Masaaki's Sen yen Kattsfi (1855).
Suzuki Yen, who may still be living wrote a work (1878) upon
circles inscribed in or circumscribed about figures of various
shapes.
Fig. 63. From Kuwamoto Masaaki's Sen yen Kattsil (1855).
XIII. The Close of the Old Wasan. 253
Thus closes the old wasan, the native mathematics of Japan.
It seems as if a subconscious feeling of the hopelessness of
the contest with Western science must have influenced the
last half century preceding the opening of Japan. There was
really no worthy successor of Wada Nei in all this period,
and the feeling that was permeating the political life of Japan,
that the day of isolation was passing, seems also to have
permeated scientific circles. With the scholars of the country
obsessed with this feeling of hopelessness as to the native
mathematics, the time was ripe for the influx of Western
science, and to this influence from abroad we shall now devote
our closing chapter.
CHAPTER XIV.
The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
We have already spoken at some length in Chapter IX of
the possible connection, slight at the most, between the mathe
matics of Japan and Europe in the seventeenth century. The
possibility of such a connection increased as time went on,
and in the nineteenth century the mathematics of the West
finally usurped the place of the wasan. During this period
of about two centuries, from 1650 to the opening of Japan to
the world, knowledge of the European mathematics was slowly
finding its way across the barriers, not alone through the
agency of the Dutch traders at Nagasaki, but also by means
of the later Chinese works which were written under the in
fluence of the Jesuit missionaries. These missionaries were
men of great learning, and they began their career by im
pressing this learning upon the Chinese people of high rank.
Matteo Ricci (1552 1610), for example, with the help of one
Hsu Kiiangchty (1562 1634), translated Euclid into the
Chinese language in 1607, and he and his colleagues made
known the Western astronomy to the savants of Peking. It
must be admitted, however, that only small bits of this learning
could have found a way into Japan. Euclid, for example, seems
to have been unknown there until about the beginning of the
eighteenth century, and not to have been well known for two
and a half centuries after it appeared in Peking.
Some mention should, however, be made of the work done
for a brief period by the Jesuits in Japan itself, a possible in
fluence on mathematics that has not received its due share of
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics. 255
attention. 1 It is well known that the wreck of a Portuguese
vessel upon the shores of Japan in 1542 led soon after to the
efforts of traders and Jesuit missionaries to effect an entry into
the country. In 1549 Xavier, Torres, and Fernandez landed at
Kagoshima in Satsuma. Since in 1582 the Japanese Christians
sent an embassy carrying gifts to Rome, and since it was
claimed about that time that twelve thousand 2 converts to
Christianity had been received into the Church, the influence
of these missionaries, and particularly that of the "Apostle of
the Indies," St. Francis Xavier, must have been great. In 1587
the missionaries were ordered to be banished from Japan, and
during the next forty years a process of extermination of
Christianity was pursued throughout the country.
In none of this work, not even in the schools that the
Jesuits are known to have established in Japan, have we a
definite trace of any instruction in mathematics. Nevertheless
the influence of the most learned order of priests that Europe
then produced, a priesthood that included in its membership
men of marked ability in astronomy and pure mathematics,
must have been felt. If it merely suggested the nature of the
mathematical researches of the West this would have been
sufficient to account for some of the renewed activity of the
seventeenth century in the scientific circles of Japan. That
the influence of the missionaries on mathematics was manifested
in any other way than this there is not the slightest evidence.
It should also be mentioned that an Englishman named
William Adams lived in Yedo for some time early in the
seventeenth century and was at the court of lyeyasu. Since
he gave instruction in the art of shipbuilding and received
honors at court, his opportunity for influencing some of the
practical mathematics of the country must be acknowledged.
There is also extant in a manuscript, the Kikujutsu Denrai no
Maki, a story that one Higuchi Gonyemon of Nagasaki, a
1 There is only the merest mention of it in P. HARZER'S Die exakten
Wissenschaften im alien Japan, Kiel, 1905.
2 Some even claimed 200,000, at least a little later. E. BOHUM, Geo
graphical Dictionary, London, 1688.
256 XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
scholar of merit in the field of astronomy and astrology, learned
the art of surveying from a Dutchman named Caspar, and
not only transmitted this knowledge to his people but also
constructed instruments after the style of those used in Europe.
Of his life we know nothing further, but a note is added to
the effect that he died during the reign of the third Shogun
(1623 1650). A further note in the same manuscript relates
that from 1792 to 1796 a certain Dutchman, one Peter Walius(?)
gave instruction in the art of surveying, but of him we know
nothing further.
In the eighteenth century the possibility that showed itself
in the seventeenth century became an actuality. European
sciences now began to penetrate into Japanese schools, either
directly or through China. In the year 1713, for example, the
elaborate Chinese treatises, the Lihsiang K'aoch'eng and the
Suli ChingYun, which had been compiled by Imperial edict,
were published in Peking. Of these the former was an
astronomy and the latter a work on pure mathematics, and
each showed a good deal of Jesuit influence. These books
were early taken to Japan, and thus some of the trend of
European science came to be known to the scholars of that
country. There was also sent across the China Sea the Li
suan Ctiiianshii in which Mei Wenting's works were collected,
so that Japanese mathematicians not only came into some
contact with Europe, but also came to see the progress of
their science among their powerful neighbors of Asia. Takebe,
for example, is said to have studied Mei's works and to have
written some monographs upon them in I726. 1
Nakane Genkei (1662 1733) also wrote, about the same
time, a trigonometry and an astronomy (see Fig. 64) based on
the European treatment, 2 the result certainly of a study of
Mei Wenting's works and possibly of the Suli CliingYun.
1 ENDO, Book II, p. 69. There is a copy in the Imperial Library.
2 The Hassenhyo Kaigi (Notes on the Eight Trigonometric Lines), and
the Tenmon Zul^wai Hakki (1696). He also wrote the Kowa Tsureki and the
Kb reki Sampo (1714).
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics. 257
6
>
,
Fig. 64. From Nakane Genkei's astronomy of 1696.
His pupil Koda Shinyei, who died in 1758, also wrote upon
the same subject. The illustrations given from the works on
surveying by Ogino Nobutomo in his Kiku Genpo Choken of
1718 (Fig. 65), and Murai Masahiro in his Riochi Shinan of
17
258 XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
Fig. 65. From Ogino Xobutomo's Kiku Genpo Choken (1718).
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
259
about the same time (Fig. 66) show distinctly the European
influence.
Later writers carried the subject of trigonometry still further.
For example, in Lord Arima's Shnki Sampd of 1769 there
appear some problems in spherical trigonometry, and in Sakabe's
Sanipo Tenzan Shinanroku of 1810 1815 the work is even
more advanced. Manuscripts of Ajima and Takahashi upon
the same subject are also extant. Yegawa Keishi's treatise
Fig. 66. From Murai Masahiro's Riochi Shinan.
on spherical trigonometry appeared in 1842. Some of the
illustrations of the manuscripts on surveying are of interest, as
is seen in the reproductions from Igarashi Atsuyoshi's Shinki
Sokurio ho of about 1775 (Fig. 67) and from a later ano
nymous work (Fig. 68).
The European arithmetic began to find its way into Japan
in the eighteenth century, but it never replaced the soroban
by the paper and pencil, and there is no particular reason
why it should do so. Probably the West is more likely to
17*
260
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
return to some form of mechanical calculation, as evidenced
in the recent remarkable advance in calculating machinery,
than is the Eastern and Russian and much cf the Arabian
mercantile life to give up entirely the abacus. Napier's rods,
however, appealed to the Japanese and Chinese computers,
and books upon their use were written in Japan. Arithmetics
on the foreign plan were, however, published, Arizawa Chitei's
Chusan Shiki of 1725 being an example. In this work Arizawa
speaks of the "Redbearded men's arithmetic," the Japanese of
Fig. 67. From Igarashi Atsuyoshrs Shinki Sokurio ho,
the period sometimes calling Europeans by this name, the
title Barbarossa of the medieval West. Senno's works of 1767
and 1768 were upon the same subject, not to speak of several
others, including Hanai Kenkichi's Seisan Sokuclii as late as
the Ansei (1854 1860) period. (See Fig. 69.) It is a matter
of tradition that Mayeno Ryotaku (1723 1803) received an
arithmetic in 1773 from some Dutch trader, but nothing is
known of the work. Mayeno was a physician, and in 1769,
at the age of forty six, he began those linguistic studies that
made him well known in his country. He translated several
Dutch works, including a few on astronomy, but we have no
XIV*. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics. 261
fr JSL % f
f
t
A
ft "ft Jg
Fig. 68. From an anonymous manuscript on surveying.
262
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
evidence of his having studied European mathematics. Never
theless one cannot be in touch with the scientific literature of
a language without coming in contact with the general trend
Fig. 69. From Hanai Kenkichr's Seisan Sokuchi, showing
the Napier rods.
of thought in various lines, and it is hardly possible that
Mayeno failed to communicate to mathematicians the nature
of the work of their unknown confreres abroad.
XIV 7 . The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics. 263
Contemporary with Mayeno was scholar by the name of
Shizuki Tadao (1760 1806),' an interpreter for the merchants
at Nagasaki. At the close of the eighteenth century, he began
a work entitled Rekisho Shins/id, 2 consisting of three parts,
each containing two books, the composition of which was
completed in 1803. The treatise, which was never printed,
is based upon the works of John Keill.^ The first part treated
of the Copernican system of astronomy and the second and
third parts of mechanical theories. The latter part of the
work may have had its inspiration in Newton's Principia. It
was the first Japanese work to treat of mechanics and physics,
and it is noteworthy also from the fact that the appendix to
the third part contains a nebular hypothesis that is claimed
to have been independent of that of Kant and Laplace. Since
by the statement of Shizuki his theory dated in his own mind
from about I/93, 4 while Kant (1724 1804) had suggested it
as early as 1755, although Laplace (17491827) did not
publish his own speculations upon it until 1796,5 he may
have received some intimation of Kant's theory. Nevertheless
Laplace is known to have stated his theory independently, so
that Shizuki may reasonably be thought to have done the
same.
It should also he stated that in Aida Ammei's manuscript
entitled Sampo Densho Mokuroku (A list of Mathematical
Compositions) mention is made of an Oranda Sampo (Dutch
arithmetic). This must have been about 1790.
Contemporary with Shizuki was the astronomer Takahashi
Shiji, who died in 1804, aged forty. He was familiar with the
1 He is represented in ENDO'S History, Book III, p. 36, as Nakano Ryuho,
RyQho being his nom de plume, and the date of his book is given as 1797.
2 New Treatise on subjects relating to the theory of Calendars.
3 John Keill (1671 1721), professor of astronomy at Oxford. It is said
by Dr. Korteweg to have been based upon a Dutch translation of these works ;
but we fail to find any save the Latin editions.
4 K. KANO, On the Nebular Theory of Shizuki Tadao (in Japanese), in the
Toyo Gakugei Zasshi, Book XII, 1895, pp. 294 300.
5 Exposition du Systeme du Monde, Paris 1796.
264 XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
Dutch works upon his subject, and his writings contain ex
tracts from some one by the name of John Lilius J and from
various other European scholars.
The celebrated geographer Ino Chukei (1745 1821), whose
great survey of Japan has already been mentioned, was a
pupil of Takahashi's, who translated La Lande, and thus came
to know of the European theory of his subject, which he carried
out in his field work. It might also be said that the shape of
the native Japanese instruments used by surveyors early in the
nineteenth century (see Fig. 70) were not unlike those in use in
Europe. They were beautifully made and were as accurate as
could be expected of any instrument not bearing a telescope.
It should be added that Ino was not the first to use European
methods in his surveys, for Nagakubo Sekisui of Mito learned
the art of map drawing from a Dutchman in Nagasaki, and
published a map on this plan in 1789.
Takahashi Shiji's son, Takahashi Kageyasu, 2 was also a
Shogunate astronomer and as already related he died in prison
for having exchanged maps with a German scientist in the
Dutch service. This scientist was Philip Franz von Siebold
(1796 1866), the first European scientist to explore the country.
He was born at Wiirzburg, Germany, and attended the uni
versity there. In 1822 he entered the service of the King of
the Netherlands as medical officer in the East Indian army,
and was sent to Deshima, the Dutch settlement at Nagasaki.
His medical skill enabled him to come in contact with Japanese
people of all ranks, and in this way he had comparatively
free access to the interior of the country. Well trained as a
scientist and well supplied with scientific instruments and with
a considerable number of native collectors, he secured a large
amount of scientific information concerning a people whose
1 This is recorded in the list of his writings prepared by Shibukawa
Keiyu, Takahashi's second son. The name there appears in Japanese letters
as Ririusu, with the usual transliteration of r for /. Very likely it was some
thing from the writings of the wellknown astrologer William Lilly.
2 Also called Takahashi Keiho, Kageyasu being merely another reading
of Keiho.
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics. 265
customs and country up to this time had been practically
unknown to the European world. As a result he published
in 1824 his De Historia Fauna Japonica, and in 1826 his
Epitome Lingua Japonicce. He later published his Catalogus
Librorum Japonic orum, Isagoge in Bibliothecam Japonicam, and
Fig. 7 Native Japanese surveying instrument. Early nineteenth century.
Bibliotheca Japonica, besides other works on Japan and its
people. It is thus apparent that by the close of the first
quarter of the nineteenth century Japan was fairly well known
to the outer world, and that foreign science was influencing
the work of Japanese scholars.
266 XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
Indeed as early as 1811 this interrelation of knowledge had
so far advanced that a Board of Translation was established
in the Astronomical Observatory in Yedo, being afterward (1857)
changed into an Institute for the Investigation of European
Books. Both of these titles were auspicious, but they proved
disappointing misnomers. Not until 1837 was any noteworthy
result of the labors of the Institute apparent, and then only
in the preparation of the Seireki Shimpen by Yamaji Kaiko 1
and a few others, and in a translation of La Lande. 2
Foreign influence shows itself indirectly in a manuscript
written in 1812 by Sakabe Kohan. This is upon the theory
of navigation and is based upon the spherical astronomy of
the West. Another work along the same lines, the Kairo
Anshinroku, was published in 1816 by Sakabe.
In 1823 Yoshio Shunzo published his Yensei Kansho Zusetsu,
in three books. This work is confessedly based upon the
Dutch works of Martin 3 and Martinet," 1 as is stated in the
introductory note by Kusano Yojun.s
1 Grandson of Yamaji Shuju, also a Shogunate astronomer. The work
was never printed.
2 It is sometimes said that this was based on Beima's works. But Elte
Martens Beima (1801 1873) wrote works on the rings of Saturn that appeared
in 1842 and 1843, and there is no other Dutch writer of note on astronomy
by this name.
3 Probably Martinus Martens, Inwijings Redenvoering over eenige Vborname
Nuttigheden der IVisen Sterrekunde, Amsterdam, 1743, since Yoshio speaks of
it as published sixty years earlier.
4 Johannes Florentius Martinet (1729 1792). His Katechisuius der Natuur
(1777 ! 779) i s recorded by D. BIERENS DE HAAN (Bibliographie Neerlandaise,
Rome, 1883, p. 183) as having been translated into Japanese by Sammon
Samme, but with no information as to publication. Professor T. HAYASHI,
who has given scholarly attention to this subject, is able to find no trace
of this translation. See his articles, A list of Dutch Astronomical Works
imported from Holland to Japan, How have the Japanese used the Dutfh Books
imported from Holland, and Some Dutch Books on Mathematical and Physical
Sciences, etc., in the Nieuw Archie/ voor Wiskunde, tweede reeks, zevede deel,
and negende deel. Possibly the translation was merely Yoshio's work above
mentioned, since its secondary title is Catechism of Science.
5 The work was published by him as having been orally dictated by
Yoshio Shunzo.
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
267
In the Tempo Period (18301844) Koide Shuki translated
some portions of Lalande's work on astronomy, and showed
to the Astronomical Board the superiority of the European
calendar, but without noticeable effect. 1
In 1843 Iwata Seiyo published his Kubo Shinkei Shind (a
work relating to the telescope) in which he made use of
European methods in astronomy. 2
Fig. 71. Native Japanese surveying instrument.
Early nineteenth century.
In 1851 Watanabe Ishin published a work on Illustrating the
Use of the Octant, in which he even adopted the Latin term
as appears by the title, Okittanto Yd ho Ryaknzusetsu. He
was followed by Murata Tsunemitsu in 1853 on the use of the
sextant. An octant had been brought from Europe in 1780,
* FUKUDA, Sampo Tamatebako, 1879.
2 ENDO, Book III, p. 131.
268 XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
but had been kept in the storehouse of the observatory because
no one on the Shogunate Astronomical Board knew how to
use it. Finally Yamaji Kaiko and a few others worked with
it until they understood it, and Watanabe, who was an expert
in gunnery, wrote the work above mentioned. He, however,
was not aware of its use in astronomy, only showing how it
might be employed in measuring distances in surveying. 1 The
sextant was imported somewhat later than the octant, but its
use was not understood until Murata Tsunemitsu published
his work, and even then it. was employed only in terrestrial
mensuration. 2
The Japanese first learned of logarithms through the Chinese
work, the Suli Chingyiin, printed at Peking in 1713. This
was not the only Chinese publication of the subject, however,
for it is a curious fact that no complete edition of Vlacq's
tables ^ appeared in Europe after his death, and that the next
publication 4 thereafter was in Peking in 1721,5 a monument to
Jesuit learning. The effect of these Chinese works was not
marked, however. Ajima, who died in 1798, was one of the
first Japanese mathematicians to employ logarithms in practical
calculation, and his manuscript upon the subject was used by
Kusaka in writing the Fukyu Sampo (1798), but the tables
were not printed. A page from an anonymous table in an
undated manuscript entitled Tai shin Rio su kw t giving the
logarithms to seven decimal places is shown in the illustration
(Fig. 72). The first printed work to suggest the actual use
of the tables was Book XII of Sakabe's Sampo Tenzan Shinan
roku (Treatise on Tenzan Algebra), published in 1810 1815.
Speaking of them he says: "Although these tables save much
labor, they are but little known for the reason that they have
* ENDO, Book III, p. 141.
2 ENDO, ibid., p. 143.
3 His Logarithmica Arithmetica appeared at Gouda in 1628.
4 They had been reprinted in part in GEORGE MILLER'S Logarithmicall
Arilhmetike, London, 1631.
5 Magnus Canon Logarithmorum . . . Typis sinensibus in Aula Pekinensi jussu
Imperatoris, 1721.
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
269
never been printed in our country. If anyone who cares to
copy them will apply to me I shall be glad to lend them to
him and to give him detailed information as to their use."
He gave the logarithms of the numbers I 130 to seven
decimal places, by way of illustration. He may possibly have
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Fig. 72. From an anonymous logarithmic table in manuscript.
2/O XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
had some Dutch work on the subject, since he knew the word
"logarithm," or possibly he had the Peking tables of 1713
and 1721.
Sakabe further says: "The ratios involved in spherical triangles,
as given in the Lisuan Ctiuanshu, are so numerous that it
is tedious to handle them. Since addition and subtraction are
easier than multiplication and division, Europeans require their
calculations involving the eight trigonometric lines J to be made
by means of adding and subtracting logarithms. They do not
know, however, how to obtain the angles when the three sides
are given, or how to get the sides from the three angles, 2 by
the use of logarithms alone."
The first extensive logarithmic table was printed by Koide
Shuki (1797 1865) in 1844. Another one was published by
Yegawa Keishi in 1857, in which the logarithms were given
up to 10,000,3 and in the same year an extensive table of
natural trigonometric functions was published by Okumura and
Mori Masakado, in their Katsuyen Hio.
Although the tables were used more or less in the first half
of the nineteenth century, the theory of logarithms remained
unknown for a long time after it was understood in China.
Ajima, Aida, Ishiguro, and Uchida Gokan seem to have been
the first to pay any attention to the nature of these numbers,
but few explanations were put in print until Takemura Ko
kaku published his work in 1854. Since Uchida used only
logarithms to the base 10, his theory as to developing them
is very complicated. 4
It is quite probable that some suggestion leading to the study
of center of gravity found its way in from the West. Seki
seems the first to have had the idea in Japan, and it appears in
his investigation of the volume of the solids generated by the
revolution of circular arcs. Arima touches upon the subject
1 I. e., the six common functions together with the versed sine and the
coversed sine.
2 Of a spherical triangle.
3 ENDO, Book III, p. 135.
* ENDS, Book III, p. 143.
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics. 2/1
in the Shuki Sampo of 1769, and Takahashi Shiji also mentions
it. But it was not until after the publication of Hashimoto's
work in 1830, and after there was abundant opportunity for
European influence to show itself, that the problem became
at all popular. From that time on it was the object of a
great deal of attention, the solids becoming at times quite
complicated. For example, the center of gravity was studied
for such a solid as a segment of an ellipsoid pierced by a
cylindrical hole, and for a group of several circular cones,
each piercing the others.
Similarly we may be rather sure that the study of various
roulettes, including the cycloid and epicycloid, came from some
hint that these problems had occupied the attention of mathe
maticians in the West. This does not detract from the skill
shown by Wada Nei, for example, but it merely asserts that
the objects, not the methods of study, were European in source.
For the method, the ingenuity, and the patience, all credit is
due to the Japanese scholars.
The same remark may be made with respect to the catenary
and various other curves and surfaces. The catenary first
appears in Hagiwara's work above mentioned, and the problem
was subsequently solved by Omura Isshii and Kagami Mitsuteru,
being attacked by approximating, step by step, the root of a
transcendental equation, a treatment very complicated but full
of interest. The treatment is purely Japanese, even though
the idea of the problem itself may have found its way in
through Dutch avenues.
In the nineteenth century there were a number of scholars
in Japan who possessed more or less reading knowledge of
the Dutch language. One of these was Uchida Gokan whose
name has just been mentioned in connection with logarithms.
He even called his school by the name "Maternateka." 1 Of
him Tani Shomo wrote, in the preface of a work published
in i84O, 2 these appreciative words: "Uchida is a profoundly
1 ENDO, Book III, p. 102.
2 KEMMOCHI'S Tani Sampj.
2/2 XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
learned man, and his knowledge is exceeding broad. He is
master even of the 'mathematica' of the Western World." To
this knowledge his sole surviving pupil, C. Kawakita, has borne
witness in personal conversation with one of the authors of
this history, and N. Okamoto still has some of the European
books formerly owned by Uchida. Mr. Kawakita assures us,
however, that Uchida's higher mathematics was his own
and was not derived from Dutch sources, meaning that the
method of treatment was, as we have already asserted, purely
Japanese.
In a manuscript 1 written in 1824 Ichino Mokyo tells of an
ellipsograph that Aida Ammei designed from a drawing in
some Dutch work. "In reading some Occidental works recently,"
he says, "we have seen recorded a method of drawing an
ellipse that is at the same time very simple and very satis
factory," and he speaks of the fact that the rectification of
the ellipse by Japanese scholars is entirely original with them.
Indeed it would seem that the scholars of the early nineteenth
century were quite doubtful as to the superiority of the European
mathematics over their own, which is a rather unexpected
testimony to the independence of the Japanese in this science.
Thus Oyamada Yosei uses these words upon the subject: 2
"Mogami Tokunai says in his Sokuryo Sansaku that the mathe
matical science of our country is unsurpassed by that of either
China or Europe." In the same spirit an anonymous writer
of the early part of the nineteenth century writes 3 these words:
"There is an Occidental work wherein the value of the circum
ference of a circle is given to fifty figures, and of this I
possess a translation which I obtained from Shibukawa. It
is said that this is fully described by Montucla in his History
of the Quadrature of the Circle, published in I/54, 4 but I under
1 The Dayenshii Tsujulsu (General Method of Rectifying the Ellipse).
2 In the Malsunoya Hikki, an article on Mathematics and the Soroban,
written early in the nineteenth century.
3 Unpublished manuscript.
4 JEAN ETIENNE MONTUCLA, Histoirc des recherches sur la quadrature du
cercle, Paris, 1754.
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics. 273
stand that this work has not been brought to Japan. I, however,
have also calculated of late, with the help of Kubodera, the
value to sixty figures, and not in a single figure does it differ
from the European result. This goes to show how exact
should be all mathematical work, and how, when this accuracy
is attained, the results are the same even though the calcul
ations be made by men who are thousands of miles apart."
The same writer also says: 1 "Although the Europeans highly
excel in all matters relating to astronomy and the calendar,
nevertheless their mathematical theories are inferior to those
that we have so accurately developed. I one time read the
Suli Chingyun, compiled by Imperial edict, and in it I found
a method of solving a right triangle for integral sides, . . . but
the process was much too cumbersome and it was lacking in
directness. . . . Moreover I have found certain problems that
were incorrectly solved, although I shall not mention them
specifically at this time. From this we may conclude that
foreign mathematics is not on so high a plane as the mathe
matics of our own country."
Even such a writer as Koide Shuki had a similarly low
estimate of the mathematics of the West, for he expressed
himself in these words: 8 "Number dwells in the heavens and
in the earth, but the arts are of human make, some being
accurate and others not. The minuteness of our mathematical
work far surpasses that to be found in the West, because our
power is a divine inheritance, fostered by the noble and daring
spirit of a nation that is exalted over the other nations of
the world."
In similar spirit, the lordly spirit of the old samurai, Takaku
Kenjiro (1821 1883) writes in his General View of Japanese
Mathematics: ^ "Astronomy and the physical sciences as found
in the West are truth eternal and unchangeable, and this we
must learn; but as to mathematics, there Japan is leader of
the world."
1 In his Sanwa Zuihitsii.
2 In his preface to KEMMOCHI'S Tani Sampo, 1840.
3 For this we are indebted to the writings of C. KAWAKITA.
18
2/4 XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
Hagiwara Teisuke (1828 1909), one of the last of the
native school, also bemoaned the sacrifice of the wasan that
followed on the inroads of Western science. Of his own
published problems he was wont to say that no European
mathematician could ever have solved them because of their
very complicated nature.
Such testimony may be looked upon by some as a display
of pitiful ignorance, as in certain respects it was. But on the
other hand it bears testimony to the fact that the mathe
maticians of the old school were not looking to Europe for
assistance, feeling rather that Europe should look to them.
In view of these opinions it is of interest to read the words
of a serious observer of things Japanese in the seventeenth
century. Engelbert Kaempfer living in Japan during the rule
of the fifth of the Tokugawa Shoguns (1680 1709) remarked
"They know nothing of mathematics, especially of their pro
found and speculative parts. No one interests himself in this
science as we Europeans do." 1
The differential and integral calculus, in its definite Western
form, entered Japan through a Chinese version of the American
work by Loomis. 2 This version, entitled Taiweichi ShihcJd,
was translated by Li ShanIan in 1859, with the help of Alexander
Wylie, an English missionary. About the same time several
other treatises were translated into Chinese, but how many of
these found their way into Japan we do not know.
As to arithmetic some mention has already been made of
the European influence. Yamamoto Hokuzan says, in his
preface to Ohara Rimei's TenzanShinan of 1810, that the
tenzan algebra of the Seki school was merely founded on the
European method of computing. For this statement there
1 KAEMPFER'S work was translated from the German by SCHEUCHZER, and
published in London in 1727 1728. This extract comes through a German
retranslation from the English, by P. HARZER, loc. cit., p. 17.
2 Elias Loomis (1811 1899). Since the work is on both algebra and the
calculus it was probably compiled from the Elements of Algebra, New York,
1846. and the Elements of Analytical Geometry and of the Differential and
Integral Calculus, New York, 1850.
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
275
seems to be no basis, but it shows that even in the nineteenth
century the Western methods of computation were not at all
well known.
About the middle of the century the European methods
began to find definite place in Japanese works, if not in the

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schools. The first of these works was Hanai Kenkichi's
Seisan Sokuchi (Short Course in Western Arithmetic), published
in 1856 (Fig. 73), and Yanagawa Shunzo's Yosan Yoho (Methods
18*
2/6 XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
of Western Arithmetic) that appeared in the same year. The
influence of these and similar books of later date has been
on pedagogical and commercial rather than on mathematical
lines. The soroban is as popular as ever, and save for those
who proceed to higher mathematics it seems destined to re
main so.
It was about the year 1851 that the Shogunate ordered
certain persons to be instructed by Dutch masters at Naga
saki in the art of navigation. As a basis for this instruction
Dutch arithmetic was taught and this seems to have been the
first systematic instruction in the subject in Japan. In 1855
an institute was founded in Yedo for the same purpose, Dutch
teachers being employed. One of the pupils in this school
was Ono Tomogoro, and from him we know of the work there
given. 1 The course extended over four or five years, and
Li's version of the work of Loomis was used as a text
book. 2
The influence of such a work as that of Loomis was very
slight, however. Scholars who knew European mathematics
were few, and the subject was generally looked upon as of
inferior merit. It was not until a generation later that the
Western calculus attracted much attention. Some of the
efforts at combining Eastern and Western mathematics at about
this period are interesting, as witness an undated manuscript
by one Wake Yukimasa, of which a page is here shown
(Fig. 74).
There exists in the library of one of the authors a manuscript
translation from the Dutch of Jacob Floryn (1751 1818),
entitled Shinyakuho Sankaku Jutsu (Newly translated art of
trigonometry). It was made in the Ansei period (1854 1860)
by Takahashtri Yoshiyasu, probably a member of the family
of wellknown mathematicians. It is possibly from Floryn's
1 The Use of Japanese Mathematics (in Japanese) in the Sugaku Hochi,
no. 88.
2 Mr. K. UYENO informs us that the Loomis book was brought to Japan
before Li's translation was made, but that there was no one who knew both
English and mathematics well enough to read it.
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics. 277
Grondbeginzels der Hoogere Meetkunde which was published
in Rotterdam in 1794. This translation seems not to be known.
Of the conic sections some intimation of the subject may
have reached Japan in the seventeenth century, but it evi
dently was taken, if at all, only as a hint. The Japanese
studied the ellipse very zealously, always by their own peculiar
JiL = Q
: f == i /
Fig. 74. From a manuscript by Wake Yukismasa.
method, but the parabola and hyperbola seem never to have
attracted the attention of the old school. To be sure, the
parabola enters into a problem about the path of a projectile
in Yamada's Kaisanki of 1656, but it seems never to have
been noticed by subsequent writers. The graphs of these
curves are found in certain astronomical works, as in Yoshio's
Yensei Kansho Zusetsu of 1823 where they are used in illustrat
2/8 XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
ing the orbits of comets, but they do not enter into the works
on pure mathematics. This very fact is evidence against any
influence from without affecting the native theories.
We have already spoken of the change of the Board of
Translation to the Institute for the Investigation of European
Books. Six years after this change was made the Kaiseijo
School was founded (1863), in which every art and science
was to be taught. A department of mathematics was included,
and in this Kanda Kohei was made professor. He it was who
made the first decisive step towards the teaching of European
mathematics in Japan, and from his time on the subject re
ceived earnest attention in spite of the small number of students
in the department.
The year 1868 is well known in the West and in Japan
as a year of great import to the world. This was the year
of the political revolution that overthrew the Tokugawa Sho
gunate, that put an end to the feudal order, and that restored
the Imperial administration. Yedo, the Shogun's capital, became
Tokyo, the seat of the Empire. The year is known to the
West because it marked the coming of a new World Power.
What this has meant the past forty years have shown; what
it is to mean as the centuries go on, no one has the slightest
conception. To Japan the year marks the entrance of Western
ideas, many of which are good, and many of which have been
harmful. The art of Japan has suffered, in painting, in sculp
ture, and especially in architecture. The exquisite taste of a
century ago, in textiles for example, has given place to a catering
to the bad taste of moneyed tourists. And all of this has its
parallel in the domain of mathematics, in which domain we
may now take a retrospective view.
What of the native mathematics of Japan, and what of the
effect of the new mathematics? What did Japan originate and
what did she borrow? What was the status of the subject
before the year 1868, and what is its status at the present
and its promise for the future?
Looked at from the standpoint of the West, and weighing
the evidence as carefully and as impartially as human imper
XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics. 279
factions will allow, this seems to be a fair estimate of the
ancient wasan:
The Japanese, beginning in the seventeenth century, produc
ed a succession of worthy mathematicians. Since these men
studied the general lines that interested European scholars of
a generation earlier, and since there was some opportunity
for knowing of these lines of Western interest, it seems reason
able to suppose that they had some hint of what was occu
pying the attention of investigators abroad. Since their me
thods of treatment of every subject were peculiar to Japan,
either her scholars did not value or, what is quite certain,
did not know the detailed methods of the West. Since they
decried the European learning in mathematics, it is probable
that they made no effort to know in detail what was being
done by the scholars of Holland and France, of England and
Germany, of Italy and Switzerland.
With such intimation as they may have had respecting the
lines of research in the West, Japan developed a system of
her own for the use of infinite series in the work of mensur
ation. She later developed an integral calculus that was
sufficient for the purposes of measuring the circle, sphere,
and ellipse. In the solution of higher numerical equations she
improved upon the work of those Chinese scholars who had
long anticipated Horner's method in England. In the study
of conies her scholars paid much attention to the ellipse but
none to the parabola and hyperbola.
But the mathematics of Japan was like her art, exquisite
rather than grand. She never develpoed a great theory that
in any way compares with the calculus as it existed when
Cauchy, for example, had finished with it. When we think
of Descartes's La Geometric; of Desargues's Brouillon proiect,
of the work of Newton and Leibnitz on the calculus; of that
of Euler on the imaginary, for example; of Lagrange and
Gauss in relation to the theory of numbers; of Galois in the dis
covery of groups, and so on through a long array of names,
we do not find work of this kind being done in Japan, nor have
we the slightest reason for thinking that we ought to find it.
28O XIV. The Introduction of Occidental Mathematics.
Europe had several thousand years of mathematics back of
her when Newton and Leibnitz worked on the calculus,
years in which every nation knew or might know what its
neighbors were doing; years in which the scholars of one
country inspired those of another. Japan had had hardly a
century of real opportunity in mathematics when Seki entered
the field. From the standard of opportunity Japan did remark
able work; from the standpoint of mathematical discovery this
work was in every way inferior to that of the West.
When, however, we come to execution it is like picking up
a box of the real old red lacquer, not the kind made
for sale in our day. In execution the work was exquisite in
a way wholly unknown in the West. For patience, for the
everlasting taking of pains, for ingenuity in untangling minute
knots and thousands of them, the problemsolving of the Ja
panese and the working out of some of the series in the yenri
have never been equaled.
And what will be the result of the introduction of the new
mathematics into Japan? It is altogether too early to foresee,
just as we cannot foresee the effect of the introduction of
new art, of new standards of living, of machinery, and of all
that goes to make the New Japan. If it shall lead to the
application of the peculiar genius of the old school, the genius
for taking infinite pains, to large questions in mathematics,
then the world may see results that will be epoch making.
If on the other hand it shall lead to a contempt for the past,
and to a desire to abandon the very thing that makes the
wasan worthy of study, then we cannot see what the future
may have in store. It is in the hope that the West may
appreciate the peculiar genius that shows itself in the works
of men like Seki, Takebe, Ajima, and Wada, and may be sym
pathetic with the application of that genius to the new mathe
matics of Japan, that this work is written.
INDEX
Abo no Seimei 67.
Adams 255.
Ahmes papyrus 51, 104.
Aida Ammei 172, 177, 188, 193,
263, 272.
Ajima Chokuyen 163, 191, 195,
218, 220, 221, 224, 259, 268.
Akita Yoshiichi 219.
Algebra 49, 50, 105.
See Equations.
Algebra, name 104.
Almans 137.
Ando Kichiji 130.
An do Yuyeki 63.
Andrews 69.
Aoyama Riyei 77, 164.
Apianus 114.
Araki Hikoshiro Sonyei 33, 45,
104, 107, 155, 158.
Arima Raido 106, 161, 181,
182, 186, 197, 208, 259, 270.
Arizawa Chitei 260.
As,da Goryu 141, 206, 207.
Astronomy 263.
Baba Nobutake 166.
Baba Seito 248.
Baba Seitoku 172.
Baisho 52.
Baker 197.
Bamboo rods 21, 23, 47.
Ban Seiyei 197, 198.
Bernoulli 197.
Bierens de Haan 266.
Biernatzki 12.
Binomial theorem 51, 182, 193.
Bohlen, von 6.
Bohum 255.
Bostow 137.
Bowring 30.
Buddhism 7, 15, 17.
Bushido 1 4.
Calculus 87, 123, 272.
See Yenri.
Cantor 133.
Carron 135, 138.
Carus iv, 20.
Caspar 256.
Casting out nines 170.
Catenary 248.
Cauchy 126.
Cavalieri 85, 86, 123, 157, 162.
Celestial element 49, 52, 77, 86,
132.
Celestial monad 50.
Center of gravity 217, 242, 270.
Chang Heng 63.
282
Index.
Chang T'sang 48.
Chen 49.
Ch'en Huo 63.
Cheng and fu 48.
Ch'eng Taiwei 34.
Chiang Chou Li Wend 49.
Chiba Saiyin 171.
Chiba Tanehide 244.
Ch'in Chiushao 48, 49, 50, 63.
China i, 9, 48, 57.
Chinese works 9, 33, 35, in,
115, 129, 132, 146, 168, 213,
254, 256, 268.
Chiuchang 9, n, 48.
Chiuszu 9, ii.
Choupei Suanching 9.
Chu Chichieh 48, 49, 51, 52, 56.
Chuishu 9, 14.
Circle 60, 63, 76, 77, 109, 131.
See TT.
Colebrooke 5.
Continued fractions 145, 200.
Counting 4.
Courant 22.
Cramer 126.
Cycloid 248.
De la Couperie 18.
Descartes 133.
Determinants 124.
Differences, method of 106, 107,
148, 234.
Diophantine analysis 196.
See Indeterminate equations.
Di san Filipo 6.
Dowun 52.
Dutch influence 132, 136, 140,
206, 217, 254, 256, 260, 263,
271, 272, 276.
Ellipse 69, 206.
Elliptic wedges 250.
Endo iv, 4, 9, 15, 17, 33, 35,
60 63, 65, 78, 79, 85, 91
93, 95, 102, 104106, 123,
129, 130, 141, 144, 151, 152,
155. 156, 159, 172, i77,
179181, 197, 200, 204,
207, 216225, 227, 243,
256, 263, 267, 268, 270, 271.
Epicycloid 248.
Equations 49, 52, 86, 102, 106,
113, 129, 138, 168, 172, 182,
2I2 ; 213, 224, 225, 226, 229,
235. 271, 272, 279.
Euclid 25^
Euler 193.
Fan problems 231.
Fernandez 255.
Floryn 276.
Folding process 125.
Folding tables 221, 248.
Fractions 105, 145, 176, 198.
Fujikawa 136.
Fujioka 241.
Fujisawa iii, 92.
Fujita Kagen 184.
Fujita Sadasuke 92, 183, 184,
188, 195.
Fujita Seishin 212.
Fujiwara Norikaze 46.
Index.
283
Fukuda Riken 32, 85, 92, 155,
177, 251, 267.
Fukuda Sen 199.
Fukudai problems 124.
Furukawa Ken 76.
Furukawa Ujikiyo 157, 207.
Genko 60.
Gensho 17.
Gentetsu 52.
Geometry 216, 218.
Gokai Amp on 233, 243.
Goschkewitsch 18.
Gow 5.
Hachiya Kojuro Teisho 153.
Hagiwara Teisuke 157, 159, 240,
248, 271, 274.
Haitao Suanshu 9, n.
Hanai Kenkichi 260, 275.
Hartsingius 133, 138.
Harzer 133, 154, 155, 195, 223,
255
Hasegawa Ko 248.
Hashimoto Shoho 216, 271.
Hasu Shigeru 177.
Hatono Soha 136, 138.
Hatsusaka 64.
Hayashi in, 18, 23, 26, 33, 65,
85, 9i, 92, 95, I0 7, H4,
124, 126, 133, 141, 152, 155,
159, 193, 200, 266.
Hayashi Kichizaemon 140.
Hazama Jufu 206, 207.
Hazama Jushin 206.
Hendai problems 115.
Higher equations 50, 52, 86, 93.
Higuchi Gonyemon 255.
Hirauchi Teishin 215, 219.
Hitomi 192.
Hodqji Wajuro 250.
Honda Rimei 143, 172, 188,
208.
Honda Teiken 183.
Horiike Hisamichi 238.
Horiye 177.
Homer's method 51, 56, 115,
213.
Hoshino Sanenobu 57, 128.
Hosoi Kotaku 166.
Hozumi Yoshin 163.
Hsu Kuangcrfijfijjf" 254.
Hiibner 18.
Ichikawa Danjyuro 166.
Ichimo Mokyo 272.
Idai Shoto 62.
Igarashi Atsuyoshi 259.
Ikeda Shoi 129, 130, 235.
Ikuko 172.
Imaginaries 209.
Imai Kentei 166, 171.
Imamura Chisho 62, 63.
Indeterminate equations 168, 182,
192, 196, 233, 246.
Infinitesimal analysis 197.
Ino Chukei 206, 264.
Integration 123, 129, 202, 204,
221.
Iriye Shukei 164, 171.
Ishigami 136.
Ishigaya Shoyeki 144.
Ishiguro Shinyu 62, 231.
284
Index.
Isomaru Kittoku 17, 45, 62, 64,
65, 103, 129, 149, 158.
It 6 Jinsai 166.
Iwai Juyen 229, 238.
Iwasaki Toshihisa 238, 247.
Iwata Kosan 250.
Iwata Seiyo 247, 267.
lyezaki Zenshi 230.
Jartoux 154.
Jesuits 57, 132, 154, 168, 254,
255, 256
Jindai monji 3.
Kaempfer 274.
Kaetzu 247, 250.
Kagami Mitsuteru 248, 271.
Kaiko 266.
Kakudo Shoku 244.
Kamiya Hotei 166.
Kamiya Kokichi Teirei 189.
Kamizawa Teikan 92 94.
Kanda Kohei 278.
Kano 62, 166, 192, 263.
Kanroku 8.
Kant 263.
Karpinski 6, 30, 35.
Katsujutsu method 123.
Kawai Kyutoku 213.
Kawakita 33, 59, 60, 62, 91,
146, 155, 159, 177, 183, 188,
191, 196, 219, 221, 241, 272,
273
Keill 263.
Keishizan 17.
Kemmochi Yoschichi Shoko 228,
238, 241, 271, 273.
Kieoufong 20.
Kigen seiho method 104.
Kikuchi, Baron iii.
Kikuchi Choryo 246.
Kimura Shoju 237.
Kimura, T., 6.
Klingsmill 6.
Knott 4, 1 8, 31, 36, 37, 40.
Kobayashi 247.
Kobayashi Koshin 186.
Kobayashi Tadayoshi 242.
Kobayashi Yoshinobu 140.
Kobo Daishi 15.
Koda Shinyei 170, 257.
Koide Shuki 199, 220, 221, 267,
270, 273.
Koike Yuken 172.
Koko 59.
Korea i, 21, 31, 48.
Kouo Sheoukin 21.
Koyama Naoaki 220.
Kozaka Sadanao 129.
Kubodera 273.
Kuichi Sanjin 92.
Kuichi school 129.
Kuo Shouching 108.
Kuru Juson 153.
Kurushima Kinai 166, 170.
Kurushima Yoshita 176, 179, 181.
Kusaka Sei 172, 218, 220, 240,
268.
Kusano Yojun 266.
Kuwamoto Masaaki 250.
Kwaida Yasuaki 238.
Kyodai problems 115.
Index.
28 5
Laotze 20.
Laplace 263.
Legge 12.
Leibnitz 125, 126, 154.
Leyden 133.
Li ShanIan 274.
Li Show 12.
Li TeTsi 49.
Li Yeh 4850.
Lieou YiK'ing 20.
Lilius 264.
Liuchang 9, 10.
Liu Hui 48, 63.
Liu Ju Hsieh 49.
Liu TaChien 49.
Lo Shihlin 48.
Locke v.
Logarithms 268.
Loomis 274, 276.
Lowell 21.
Magic circles 71, 79, 120.
Magic squares 57, 69, 116,
177.
Magic wheels 73.
Malfatti problem 196.
Mamiya Rinzo 172.
Mano Tokiharu 163.
Mathematical schools of Japan
207, 271.
Mathematics, first printed 61.
Martin 266.
Martinet 266.
Matsuki Jiroyemon 166.
Matsunaga 104, 158, 160, 180.
Matsuoka 180, 231.
Matteo Ricci 132, 254.
Maxima and minima 107, 182
229, 250.
Mayeno Ryotaku 141, 260.
Mechanics 263.
Mei Kucheng 155.
Mei Wenting 19, 29, 168, 256.
Meijin 196.
Michinori 17.
Michizane 15.
Mikami 14, 29, 49, 63, 91, 133,
138, 144, 147.
Mtnami Ryoho 247.
Mitsuyoshi 59.
Miyagi Seiko 129, 130, 179.
Miyajima Sonobei Keichi 185.
Miyake Kenryu 27, 46, 83,
164.
Mizoguchi 216.
Mochinaga 129.
Mogami Tokunai 143, 172, 272.
Mohammed ibn Musa 104.
Mohl 20.
Momokawa Chubei 43.
Monbu 9.
Montucla 272.
Mori Kambei Shigeyoshi 32, 35,
58, 60, 61, 103.
Mori Misaburo 35.
Mori Masakado 270.
Muir 124, 125.
Murai Chuzen 15, 34, 172, 174.
Murai Mashahiro 164, 257.
Muramatsu 61, 64, 77, 109.
Murase 128.
Murata Koryu 172, 216.
Murata Tsunemitsu 243, 267,
268.
286
Index.
Murata Tsushin 45.
Murray 9.
Nagakubo Sekisui 141.
Nagano Seiyo 172.
Naito Masaki 104, 159.
Nakamura 64.
Nakane Genkei 130, 146, i66 ;
256.
Nakane Genjun 164, 166, 169,
172, 174, 181, 198.
Nakanishi Seiko 129.
Nakanishi Seiri 129, 188.
Nakashima Chozaburo 136.
Napier's rods 260.
Nashimoto 166.
Nebular theory 263.
Newton 115, 193, 263.
Nines, check of 170.
Nishikawa Joken 141.
Nishimura Yenri 198.
Nishiwaki Richyu 27, 163.
Nitobe 14.
Nozawa Teicho 65, 80, 84, 86.
Oba Keimei 172.
Ogino Nobutomo 164, 257.
Ogyu Sorai 166.
Ohara Rimei 208, 274.
Ohashi 129.
Okamoto 34, 35, 155, 157, 160,
221, 272.
Okuda Yuyeki 128.
Omura Isshu 245, 248, 271.
Otaka 45, 107, 108, 113, 147.
Oyama Shokei 152, 156.
Oyamada Yosei 31, 143, 272.
Ozawa Seiyo 65, 91, 92, 104,
172.
Pan Ku 20.
Pascal's triangle 51, 114.
Pentagonal star 67.
Physics 263.
TT 60, 63, 65, 78, 85, in, 129,
144, i45> IS 1  J 53> 160, 179,
182, 191, 212, 223, 224.
Positive and negative 48.
Postow 137.
Power series 108.
Prismatoid 164.
Pythagorean theorem 10, 13, 180.
Rabbi ben Ezra 84.
Recurring fractions 176, 198.
Regis 154.
Regula falsi 13.
Regular polygons 63, 65, 107,
161.
Reinaud 6.
Ricci 132, 254.
Riken 199.
Rodet 1 8.
Roots 212.
See Equations, Square root,
Cube root.
Roulettes 242, 247, 250.
Saito Gicho 242.
Saito Gigi 242.
Sakabe Kohan 172, 208, 259,
266, 268, 270.
Sangi 1 8, 21, 23, 47, 52, 213.
Sank'ai Chungch'a 9.
Index.
28;
Sato Moshun (Shigeharu) 24, 45,
65, 86, 88, 89, 130.
Sato Seiko 85, 130.
Sawaguchi Kazuyuki 45, 86, 95,
130.
Schambergen 137.
Schools 207, 271.
Schotel 135.
Seki Kowa 17, 82, 91, 138;
144, 145, 147, 151, 156, 159,
209, 218, 225, 270.
Senno 260.
Series 161, 177, 200, 203, 211,
225.
Sharp 14.
Shibamura 64.
Shibukawa Keiyu 264.
Shibukawa Shunkai 130.
Shih Hsing Dao 49.
Shino Chikyo 241.
Shiono Koteki 144.
Shiraishi Chochu 34, 201, 233,
Shizuki Tadao 141, 263.
Shotoku Taishi 8.
Siebold 217, 264.
Skew surface 242.
Smith 6, 19, 30, 35, 51, 114,
124.
Someya Harufusa 144.
Soroban 18, 31, 47, 176, 213,
259, 276.
Sou Lin 20.
Sphere 63, 76.
Spiral 163.
Square root 176, 177, 200.
Suanhsiao Chimeng 146.
Sumner 7, 8.
Suntsu 21.
Suntsu Suanching 9, 10.
Surveying 256.
Suzuki Yen 252.
Swanking 9.
Swanpan 19, 29, 47.
T'ai tsou 29.
Takebe Kenko 48, 52, 76, 95,
98, 103, 104, 112, 128, 129,
143146, 151, 153, 158,
166, 168.
Takahara Kisshu 64, 86, 92.
Takahashi Kageyasu (Keiho)
264.
Takahashi Shiji 141, 206, 207,
217, 259, 263, 264, 271.
Takahashi Yoshiyasu 276.
Takaku Kenjiro 250, 273.
Takeda Saisei 166.
Takeda Shingen 216.
Takeda Tokunoshin 231.
Takemura Kokaku 270.
Takenouchi 241.
Takuma Genzayemon 179.
Tani Shomo 271.
Tanimoto 15.
Tatamu process 125.
Tawara Kamei 64.
Tendai problems 114.
Tengen jutsu 48, 102.
Tenji 9.
Tenjin 15.
Tenzan method 103, 104, 107,
159, 182, 196, 208, 218, 219,
243, 274.
Terauchi Gompei 159.
288
Index.
Tetsujutsu method 106.
Tokuhisa Komatsu 129.
Torres 255.
Toyota 243.
Toyota Bunkei 182.
Trapezium 226, 227.
Trigonometry 196, 213, 25 6,
259, 276.
Ts'ai Ch'en 20.
Tschotu 19.
Tsu Ch'ungchih 112, 147.
Tsuboi Yoshitomo 166.
Tsu da Yenkyu 198.
Uchida Gokan 15, 33, 238,
241, 270, 271.
Uchida Kyumei 248.
Unknown quantity 51.
Uyeno 276.
Van Name 18.
Van Schooten 133, 134, 138.
Vissiere 18, 19, 29.
Vlacq 268.
Wada Nei 114, 219, 220, 230,
248, 271.
Wake Yukimasa 276.
Walius 256.
Wallis 154.
Wang Paoling 8.
Wang Paosan 8.
Wasan i .
Watanabe Ishin 267, 268.
Watanabe Manzo Kazu 76.
Wei Chih 112, 147.
Westphal 33.
Williams 5.
Wittstein 197.
Wut'sao Suanshu 9, n.
Wylie 10, n, 12, 19, 49, 274.
Xavier 255.
Yamada Jisuke 231.
Yamada Jusei 64.
Yamaji Kaiko 266, 268.
Yamaji Shuju 177, 181, 183.
Yamamoto Hifumi 176.
Yamamoto Hokuzan 274.
Yamamoto Kakuan 166, 176.
Yamamoto Kazen 243, 245.
Yang Houei (Hoei, Hwuy, Hui)
21, 22, 51, 116.
Yanagawa Shunzo 275.
Yanagi Yuyetsu 252.
Yegawa Keishi 259, 270.
Yenami Washo 64.
Yendan process 103, 129, 130.
Yenri 92, 143, 150, 196, 200,
212, 218, 225, 230, 238, 240,
248.
Yihking 20.
Yokoyama 136, 138.
Yoshida 17, 44, 59, 66, 84.
Yoshida's problems 66.
Yoshikadsu 180.
Yoshio Shunzo 266, 277.
Yoshitane 64.
Yosho 181.
Yoshio 277.
Yuasa Tokushi 128.
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