Incredible! Soroban Power report

Give energy to children with soroban!
The League of Japan Abacus Association
Soroban has become a mandatory subject for a math class in Hungary!
Soroban has been a huge boom in Hungary,a nation of mathematics!
The purpose is to foster "thinking power" through acquisition of Soroban.
Soroban has been widely recognized in the world.
One of major examples is Hungary which the country produces many scientists and there is the most number of the Nobel Prize winners per capita.
Currently, 400 elementary schools out of 3,000 schools teach a soroban class. In a math class for 1st and 2nd grade in particular, 5 to 10 minutes of 146 hours are used to teach soroban out of a math subject of 185 hours.
In Japan, soroban is taught to train the right brain growth, concentration, as well as endurance while cultivating a calculating ability. In contrast, one of the goals of soroban education in Hungary is to acquire "ability to think".
For the country having an important theme to develop individuality and maximize potential of each student, soroban has been an essential role to play in the education.
Actually, a successful story of soroban education in overseas is not only for Hungary.
Soroban has been an important tool to foster people with a rich sense of humanity in 20 countries in the world. Many public elementary schools use abacuses in a math class and actively introduce Japanese Soroban not only in America and Brazil, but also in China, the birthplace of original abacus.
(A list of countries where Soroban has been already introduced or is becoming popular rapidly.)
Hungary, America, Brazil, China, Taiwan, Tonga, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Fiji, Mexico, India, Philippines, Canada, Australia, Samoa, Venezuela, Cambodia, Laos, Ghana, Brunei, Eritrea, Jordan, Pakistan
1.In Hungary, the purpose of teaching soroban is to foster "thinking power".
2.Almost 400 schools of approximately 3,000 schools conduct a soroban education to the students of 1st to 8th grade.
Surprising effect in a special soroban zone!
Current situation of the special calculation education zone (special Soroban zone) in Amagasaki city, Hyogo Prefecture, started from 2004.
Since 2004, there has been an excellent result in elementary schools in Amagasaki city, where the soroban education has been active in the special soroban zone.
The special soroban zone is a system which actively employs "Soroban", a widely recognized way to foster "self confidence", "development of the right side of brain", "rejuvenation", "concentration", "memory retention" and "good intuition" to the education environment.
Amagasaki city, Hyogo Prefecture, was chosen to be a model area. The city was an area where a result of research for academic ability and life presents with decreased motivation for learning. The system of special soroban zone started out from one school in 2004, but number of schools are introducing the system every year for its remarkable result.
Among various approaches, it has never received the high feedback from parents like Soroban. Further, there is no other method of learning which over 40% of the entire students can improve their calculation ability. No wonder the entire schools in Amagasaki have decided to introduce soroban.
1st year (2004) 1 school 2nd year (2005) 5 schools 3rd year (2006) 10 schools
4th year (2007) 15 schools 5th year (2008) 21 schools 6th year (2009) 43 schools (The entire elementary schools in Amagasaki)
In the 6th year (2009), 43 schools in entire Amagasaki have introduced Soroban. Now that Soroban has become an essential way to improve scholastic ability in Amagasaki.
According to a survey conducted to parents and students of Amagasaki, the following feedbacks are given:
Survey targeting parents: "Very good" 86%
Survey targeting students: "It helped to brush up my Soroban skill" 94%
"I can calculate faster" 43%
"Soroban is useful" 48%
1. Teacher is giving yomiage-zan.
2. Currently, schools in Amagasaki city offer 10 minutes of soroban practice every morning
Surprising benefit of soroban found in a survey!
A result of survey of a morning soroban practice Otaki Elementary School in a town of Otaki, Chiba Prefecture
Schools in Otaki, Chiba devote 10 minutes before class to a "Morning soroban practice". This works to feel refreshed and improve a concentration level at the beginning of school. Soroban is a great tool for students to move their fingers when doing calculation.
Now, here is a result of "Morning soroban practice" to show you what type of change were made to students. It has revealed that soroban made an amazing change to them and improved not only their calculation ability, but also their concentration, motivation and communication ability.
The survey result was compared after being divided into three groups as below (from source of 2006):
A Group: Students who are always eager to practice soroban in a morning
B Group: Students who answered they cannot always be eager to practice soroban
C Group: Students who are not too eager to practice soroban in a morning
Illustration 1
After the morning soroban practice, students feel refreshed.
Students in A Group who are keen to practice soroban in a morning feel "refreshed" at a higher rate than other group of students. It shows that their brains become stimulated by soroban.
Illustration 2
Can focus on kanji practice etc. without chatting with friends and doing unnecessary things
Students who are keen to practice soroban in a morning are more focused toward other subjects. Such as kanji practice, their attitude toward using fingers for learning is one of the big changes as well.
Illustration 3
Able to ask teachers questions
The calculation using soroban brings repeating achievement of small success. It helps to rapidly increase concentration and ability to calculate. As they feel refreshed, it gives them an opportunity to get motivated toward various things.
Illustration 4
Able to express and listen to opinions in a discussion
During a soroban practice, they use their ears to hear questions and say answers. It helps to foster an ability of basic communication.
Students were grouped into A, B, and C based on the following questionnaires:
Q1. Do you focus on practicing soroban when directed by announcement in the morning without chatting with friends and doing unnecessary things?
Q2. Do you enjoy morning brain exercise (soroban practice) in the morning?
A Group answered "Yes" to both Q1 and 2.
B Group answered "Sometimes" to both Q1 and 2.
C Group answered "No" to both Q1 and 2.
Mitori-zan stimulates the brain
Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University
Professor Ryuta Kawashima
Excerpt of the metering experiment report of brain functions
This research used a functional brain imaging measuring instrument to verify an activation effect on the dorsolateral prefrontal area (an area which works to play the most important role for humans to behave like human beings) when a subject is calculating with an abacus and see if same effect could be found as reading, writing and calculation. If the research confirmed an activation effect of abacus education on the dorsolateral prefrontal area, it would maintain and improve efficiency of the brain functions for personal care.
A result of preliminary experiment conducted by the author showed that intense activation was observed to the left and right hemispheres of the brain when an abacus beginner did a simple calculation on an abacus such as adding numbers from 1.
(Method of experiment)
The experiment was conducted targeting 12 students of Tohoku Univ.; 5 students who had never used abacus before and 6 students who had used abacus (One of the students who have never used abacus canceled the experiment so there were 5 students of abacus beginners). Abacus beginners took approximately 2 hours of abacus class on the day before the metering experiment of brain functions.
Problems were varied from different levels of difficulty including mental calculations, silent reading and mitori-zan (students calculate numbers printed on a piece of paper), as well as different difficulty level of yomitori-zan (somebody reads numbers quickly and students have to calculate the numbers). The following shows the calculation that the prefrontal cortex was activated the most.
Brain activation caused by mental calculations
In mental calculations, students who had used abacus before showed a small activation to the left and right hemispheres of the brain (Fig. 1). In contrast, students who had never used abacus showed a small activation to only the left hemisphere of the brain
(Fig. 2).
Brain activation caused by easy mitori-zan
In easy mitori-zan, students who have used abacus before showed activation to the left and right hemispheres of the brain (Fig. 3). In contrast, students who had never used abacus showed activation to only the right hemisphere of the brain (Fig. 4).
Brain activation caused by difficult mitori-zan
In difficult mitori-zan, students who have used abacus before showed an intense activation to the left and right hemispheres of the brain (Fig. 5). In contrast, students who had never used abacus showed activation to the both hemisphere of the brain (Fig. 6).
The result showed that mitori-zan caused the most activation effect on the dorsolateral prefrontal area for both students who were experienced and inexperienced. In the yomiage-zan, very small activation showed on the experienced students' prefrontal cortexes and a slight activation showed on the left hemispheres of the inexperienced students' brains. Further in mental calculations, very small activation effects showed on both experienced and inexperienced students. A result of preliminary experiment conducted by the author showed that very intense activation was observed to the both side of hemispheres when students of both experienced and inexperienced did calculation by writing.
In view of these facts, it can be concluded that the dorsolateral prefrontal area shows intense activation when calculation is conducted using fingers to operate an abacus based on visual information.
Further in mitori-zan, more activation was observed on the dorsolateral prefrontal area when higher level of materials was used.
From a viewpoint of utilizing an abacus to improve the brain function of elderly and to develop the brain function of children, it has shown that mitori-zan should be valued the most. Also, the result showed that it could be another key element to choose the right level of materials to get the best outcome.
It can be considered that the development of brain training method using mitori-zan will continue to be an important challenge for the future.
Soroban support team talks about how amazing the soroban is!
An advisory panel of well-informed independent eminent people from various fields was convened to rediscover the value of soroban as well as to introduce to the society. Here are some messages of enthusiasm for soroban:
1 "Soroban is an effective way which follows "Mental calculation and calculation of soroban on paper" and gives an educational foundation for children"
2 "There is no doubt that the old Terakoya education system that focused on teaching soroban built a foundation of Japan."
3 "Soroban has a power to foster intuitive ability toward calculation and increases an ability of mathematics."
4 "Let's think of soroban from aspects of tools for its small size, multi-functionality as well as design."
5 "After soroban is introduced to the education, over 90% of parents are indeed happy with the outcome."
6 "Let's broadcast information via a community-based broadcasting station about soroban for preschoolers and their mothers!"
7 "I would like to make a proposal to establish "21st century of Terakoya", a training institution of humanity to learn reading, calligraphy and physical education, which allows five senses to awaken."
8 "The good thing about soroban is that it can increase academic ability, concentration, humanity as well as communication ability."
9 "For the development of soroban, let's reconsider the value of [Japanese Traditional Mathematics]."
10 "I will support the soroban culture with "Itsudemo Soroban DC" game"
11 "Establishment of the museum of calculation will be a base to introduce the importance of the basic calculation ability"
12 "Let's think of soroban as sports and enjoy the feel of winning through a regional competition."
13 "I will show the hidden attraction of soroban with Go-Go Soroban Team"!
14 "Solving calculations one after another is like a repeating achievement of small success. It is extremely a good way to build a positive personality."
15 "I personally helped teaching soroban at nursing homes. I was surprised to see how beneficial it was."