Six Abilities Cultivated by Soroban

Ability to concentrate (Concentration)

注意深く観察する力 For the soroban official examination, you have to provide a certain number of correct answers within the time limit of ten minutes. For example, in the first grade examination for multiplication, you have to move your fingers more than a hundred times to operate the soroban for multiplying a six-digit number by a five-digit number. During the calculation, the multiplication table is mentally recited thirty times. Then, an answer of eleven digits is provided. Not a single mistake can be allowed in this process. When a question such as this is repeated twenty times, the examination is completed. Fingers move more than 2000 times only for the multiplication test. We believe you now understand that soroban education develops concentration through the training of finger movements.

Ability to visualize and to be inspired (Inspiration)

イメージやヒラメキの力 Ms. Kimiko Kawano at Nippon Medical School has demonstrated in her research that soroban users in high 'dan' (ranks) use their right brain in the soroban method of mental calculation. Inspiration, such as problem solving and invention, is said to come from the right brain. The "brain power" that enhances the shortest route for the thought process needed for problem solving is also developed there. In addition, Professor Toshio Hayashi at Osaka Prefecture University emphasizes that the training of finger movements encourages synapses to be entwined with each other and constructs neuron networks. Inspiration creates new concepts and is one of the "brain powers" that is required in many fields.

Ability to memorize (Memorization)

記憶する力 Mental calculation can be classified into two groups. One is the soroban method that uses the right brain. The other is the mathematical method that uses the left brain. In the soroban method of mental calculation, the right brain memorizes the patterns of answers processed. In this method, answers are stored in the long-term memory as intuitive images. The memorization method (which uses the left brain) that is commonly utilized for examinations only uses the short-term memory. There seems to be no wonder that 80% of the students at the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University have learned the soroban. This type of "brain power" is acquired through mental calculation training. People who start this training while still young are more likely to acquire this "brain power" effectively.

Ability to observe attentively (Insight)

集中する力 The ability to observe attentively is greatly improved through soroban training. You can learn to observe numbers attentively by training to carefully monitor them. No mistakes are excused in this process. You are considered successful when you are able to discover the workings of numbers. This practice leads to the ability to analyze various aspects with the use of numbers.

Ability to process information (Information processing)

情報を処理する力 A tremendous amount of information is available nowadays. The ability to rapidly process necessary information is one of the most important abilities in the twenty-first century. Training for information processing with numbers is realized through the soroban method of mental calculation (anzan). Numbers are read rapidly without any mistake and are processed in the right brain. The information is then converted to accurate numerical data.

Ability to listen and read quickly (Speed reading and listening)

速く聴き・速く読む力 There is a training component called "mental calculation of figures read out aloud" (yomiageanzan). In this training, a problem is read out aloud while the student promptly comprehends and mentally processes it. It may seem like an outdated way of learning, but it actually trains the "brain power" of listening intently, or speed listening.