The Abacist's Guide to the Internet

(All links have been verified in July 2004)

Recent changes

24 June 2005Added: Mathabacus in Malaysia [Go there]
13 June 2005Added: Soroban resources from Japan21. [Go there]
13 June 2005Added: Abacus software for the TI-89 pocket calculator. [Go there]
13 June 2005Added: AbacusGuru, a soroban school. [Go there]
13 June 2005Added: SEMAS Academy. [Go there]
20 September 2004Added: Windows soroban software. [Go there]
18 July 2004Added: ASCII art animation of a soroban. [Go there]
17 July 2004Added: German vendor for aids for the Blind. [Go there]
 Added: Ayi talks about the Chinese Suan-Pan. [Go there]
 Added: Interview with Kiyoshi Ohbe from Hawaii. [Go there]
 Added: Online book shop in Singapore offering a cheap soroban. [Go there]
 Added: Soroban online shop at the ATM. [Go there]
17 April 2004Added: Soroban shop in Tokyo. [Go there]
6 April 2004 Added: Animated ascii-art soroban. [Go there]
 Additional link for Abacus Brainstudy. [Go there]
 Added: The Japanese Number System. [Go there]
5 April 2004 Corrected link to Japan Atlas. [Go there]
  Added link to a page from the city of Kobe showing Soroban production. [Go there]
  Added link to a page that teaching calculating on the greek Abax. [Go there]
  Added link to a German page dealing with different abacus types. Parts of this site are also translated into English. [Go there]
  Added link to a site of the Osaka Abacus Association. [Go there]
  Added link to a Brazilian site in Japan. [Go there]
1 April 2004Added a link to Tim Cranmer, the inventor of an abacus for the Blind and another link telling the story of how the invention developed. [Go there]

Sites with treatment of many different abacus aspects
The Art of Calculating with Beads A site with lots of information and stories around the abacus and it's use, including history, frequently asked questions, articels, and analyses. Lots of links.
The First Soroban Foundation A site in Hungary from a foundation seeming to teach soroban calculation. There are some nice animated diagrams showing the basic operations. It appears as if they use their own selfmade sorobans!
Where can I talk with other people about this subject?
Yahoo! Groups: SorobanAbacus A discussion group on the Yahoo site dedicated to all aspects of abaci and especially sorobans (the Japanese Abacus)
Abacus and mental arithmetic
Mindabacus EducationMindabacus was developed from 'Abacus mental arithmetic'. With abacus as main teaching tool, idea function as core concept, Mindabacus targets on developing children?s whole brain and stimulating their multiple natural potentials at an early age.
Abacus Brain Study Improving mental arithmetic with an imaginery abacus (Brain wave training). There is a link to ABS of Texas on this page. The Texas site has some additional ressources inclusing some videos.
ALOHA Mental Arithmetic An organization promoting mental arithmetic and providing training.
A calculating instructor This is a PDF file. It tells the story of Mina Watanabe who started the SuperMath Soroban School in the Bay area.
Functional Mapping of the Human Brain Ever wanted to know where mental arithmetic takes place inside your brain? Just have a look.
Abacus manufacturers and vendors
TOMOE Soroban A vendor for sorobans located in Tokyo, Japan. They have an online shop.
UNSHU SOROBAN A soroban manufacturer located in Yokota, Japan. It was designated a place of "National Traditional Art Work" in 1985. They have some small pictures showing the production process.
Japan Atlas Another site telling a little about the Unshu sorobans. Follow the link number 23. There is a map on the page showing where the town of Yokota is located in Japan.
Sigma Educational Supply Co. A vendor located in West Covina, California, USA. It sells different abaci (sorobans), a textbook, and video material.
American Printing House for the Blind A vendor providing specialized materials, products, and services needed for education and life to promote the independence of blind and visually impaired persons. Among other things, they have abaci (Cramner's Abacus invented by Tim Cranmer in 1962) with beads that won't accidentally slip out of place when operated on. Read the story of this invention.
AsianIdeas A simple Chinese abacus can be bought here.
Dragon Gate Chinese abaci made of metal (is it really gold?).
Bansyu Soroban The "Fujiwara Tomeichi Company located in Honmachi, Japan. They produce sorobans. If you always wanted to know the Japanese lettering for the different parts of a soroban, check out this page here. The site has lots of pictures showing the manufacturing process and the history of the abacus. Unfortunately these pages are in Japanese. (I have to learn these signs, some day!)
Yamamoto This page lists many shops with traditional Japanese products. About halfway down the page is the "Yamamoto specialty store of soroban" in Tokyo. The picture shows the front windows of the shop and standing in front of it a very large soroban.
Association of Teachers of Mathematics The ATM offers different sorobans for teaching purposes, including class sets. Although a large display abacus is shown on the page, they do not these any longer. They were from "Tomoe Soroban" who still has these on sale.
SGBox An online shop in Singapore. It offers books, CDs, food, ... and a chaep soroban.
Blindenhilfsmittel Kiefer A manufacturer of plastic instruments for the Blind. They sell a version of Cranmer's abacus (about 15 Euro).
(Online) Museums and galleries
Abacus-Online-Museum A very complete collection of all kinds of abaci with wonderful pictures and descriptions.
Soroban museum (Tomoe) Different abacus types with concise descriptions.
ALOHA Abacus Museum A nice online museum with a photo gallery of many unusual abaci both in form and function. Unfortunately without good descriptions.
Galeria Abacorum A photo gallery (in German) with abaci. Some of the instruments are claimed to have belonged to Hirohito (emperor of Japan) and Pu-Yi (last emperor of China).
Soroban museum (Tomoe again) Nice old drawings of Japanese soroban operators.
Abacus museum All in Japanese ... but nice pictues anyway. There are some unusual types there also: a paper abacus (kami soroban) and a soroban that can be rolled.
Soroban, The abacus A truly fascinating collection of soroban statues, furniture, animals. You need to have a look at this site.
China's Abacus Museum A report in "People's daily" on China's first Abacus Museum in Qixian County with over 600 abaci.
Der Abakus A site in German. It is about math in general and has a section on the different abacus types as well. Parts of the site are translated into English
How do I calculate using an abacus?
THE ABACUS HANDBOOK An online manual explaining the operations needed for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Der Abakus - Geschichte und Funktionsweise A site in German explaining the history of the abacus and giving an explanation the four basic arithmetic operations and how to extract the square root.
Abacus lesson The page is not complete yet but it's a good start for an online lesson in abacus calculation.
The Chinese Abacus Explanation of the four basic operations apparently taken from a small booklet called "Bead Arithmetic". It demonstrates the Chinese methods.
Square root This is a description of how to extract square roots on the abacus. This method is taken from an abacus book by Welton J. Crook.
Abax This site discusses the abacus and tells you how to add and subtract using an Abax. You can also buy one there.
Schools, institutes, and associations
Montana Abacus/Soroban Institute A non-profit organization providing abacus curriculum materials and training to education and parents.
The League of Japan Abacus Associations An association promoting the use of the soroban in Japan. Including soroban training for foreigners in Japan.
Soroban Education Singapore The Soroban Education Centre of Singapore. A teaching institution for abacus and mental calculation. They also have a little photo gallery.
Global Soroban Institute The Global Soroban Institute is a non-profit school organization, established in 2000 and gives guidance and support to Soroban education: research of soroban education, training and development of soroban personnel, operation of Soroban examinations and workshops, propagation of Isao method of Soroban education.
Ishido Abacus Institution Follow the English link to the page "Prospectus". You can take courses there up to the Dan levels. (The English is perhaps not the best on these pages ...)
JAMS Portland A school located in Portland, Oregon, USA, where you can learn to operate the soroban.
Osaka Abacus Association The site is mostly in Japanese but there are some very interesting experience stories in English.
SEMAS Academy SEMAS is the abbreviation of "Soroban Education for Mental Arithmetic System". It is a school located in India and they have courses for three different age groups.
abacusGuru This is a soroban school located in Nagpur, India. They have courses for two different age groups and make use of the "Advanced Japanese Brain Development Program". You can also buy some handmade 1/4-sorobans in their online shop.
The Japanese Abacus "The Japanese Abacus. Its use and theory." By Takashi Kojima. An excellent book for beginners explaining the four basic arithmetic operations.
The Abacus "The Abacus". Including a working abacus. By Jesse Dilson. Not the best book available but may be good for beginners. You can have a look at 7 pages from the book at amazon.
Computing before computers This is the scanned version of a book describing many aspects of computing with devices others than modern computers. Chapter 1 is about "Early calculation" and has a section on abaci, describing history and use. Quite worth reading. You can download the PDF version (beware: chapter 1 has 5.7 MB).
Mathabacus This is a website from Malaysia offering two books to learn abacus calculation, including the concept of numbers and mental arithmetics. The books are designed for children but are a great resource for parents and teachers also. Online, you can view the table of contents and some sample pages.
Sites in languages I don't understand well
Le boulier chinois A french site with information on history and technique of the Chinese abacus.
Unshu soroban A site in Japanese. Click on the links with the house and the small bead-like plates and have a look at the place where the famous Unshu sorobans are made. There is also a page showing the produced sorobans and their prices in Yen (here).
OrderForm You can win or order a Banshu soroban here ...
Leage for soroban education (Founded 24 September 1953) Everything in Japanese: Lists the advantages of using the soroban. Tells where in the world the soroban is spreading to. Gives an overview of the history of the abacus. Informs about the permissibility tests (shuzan, anzan). Lists soroban vendors. Has links to many abacus schools throughout Japan.
Aritmetica en el Abaco Japones A nice Spanish introduction to soroban usage. With some scanned instruction pictures from a book I don't know.
Unshudo Soroban The whole site is in Japanese. But there are some links with pictures. You can buy an exellent soroban there if you understood some Japanese ...
Ono Soroban Lots and lots of links telling about the manufacturing process and the history of the abacus and much more. Wonderful pictures behind some of them. You will get lost there somewhere ...
Maruho-Soroban A soroban manufacturer. There are pictures of sorobans built into parts of trees and a catalogue with prices.
City of Kobe Pictures of the production proccesses involved in making a Soroban.
Soroban Most of this page is in Brasilian and Japanese but there is also an English part. And of course some nice pictures.
Hewlett-Packard Abacus The picture of an abacus on a wide dynamic range analog-to-digital converter integrated circuit.
T-Shirts I don't know what this site is for, but they have some t-shirts, calendars, and other stuff with abaci on them.
Key Curriculum Press Here you can buy a so-called "Multicultural Classroom Poster" in the Ukiyo-e block print form showing the development and usage of the soroban.
Soroban demonstration Impressions from a soroban demonstration and workshop held in Exeter City Museum in Sptember 2002. Look at the TOC of the "Spring 2002" edition
Calculation tips, problems, and puzzles This can help you to improve abacus performance or mental calculation or give some hints about certain operations.
Chisenbop tutorial Chisenbop is an ancient Korean method of calculation using your fingers. It resembles the abacus, especially the soroban, since the thumb count 5 while the others fingers count 1. You can do all basic arithmetic with Chisenbop. (Thanks to Totton Heffelfinger for this link.)
ASCII soroban This is an animation of a soroban made by using ascii-art only. Quite impressive.
Japanese Number System Explains the construction of the Japanese numbers and which
Back to the future Interview with Kiyoshi Ohbe, executive at City Bank on Hawaii. He still uses his soroban at work.
Ask Ayi Ayi answers the following questions: What's the deal with the abacus? Why do so many Chinese people still use them, and how do you do calculations?
Japan21 resources Japan21 is a UK-based charity organization supporting educational and grassroots activity relating to Japan. They have a bunch of PDF files with soroban explanations and instructions.
Software (mostly untested!)
Soroban for Palm Claimed to run on Palm OS 3.5 but needs a 16 level grayscale display so it won't run on the m505.
Soroban for Palm This one works fine. Nice work. For Palm OS 3.1 and better. (Follow the link to "Palm").
Soroban for Zaurus Looks nice (in color).
Soroban screen saver For Windows. From Tomoe.
CyberAbacus A nice Chinese Abacus implemented in JavaScript and runable online.
Digital Soroban A Windows soroban software (Windows 9x). It comes in two flavours (versions), one has a nice wood texture.
ASCII art Soroban A soroban built with ASCII art as an ASCII-animation.
Sorocalc A Windows application with a very nice customizable soroban that stays on top of the desktop. There is also another soroban software that comes with exercises.
Abacus for TI-89 A TI-89 Assembly Math Program showing a 1/4-style soroban (untested). The TI-89 is a programmable pocket calculator.

Last update: 24 June 2005