he abacus is invented as a counting tool to count large numbers in ancient times. During Greek and Roman times, most of the abaci were made of stones and metal. The popular form is a board with beads sliding on wires in a frame. In the mid 16th century, the Chinese abacus which had seven-bead in each column, two-bead in the upper deck and five-bead in the lower deck, was introduced into Japan. It became very popular and was used especially by Japanese merchants as a calculation tool in business. In around 1930, Japanese abacus, called “Soroban,” was modified into the modern configuration. It is made from wood, and has five-bead in each column, one-bead in the upper deck and four-bead in the lower deck. The Soroban/Abacus helps to perform mainly addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
he Soroban/Abacus was one of the necessary calculation tools before the electric calculator was widely used in Japan. Yet, the Soroban/Abacus has been an excellent educational tool for children to understand and recognize numbers since its introduction. In addition, practicing Soroban/Abacus gives you more opportunity to develop your mental calculation ability. After mastering the Soroban/Abacus, you will need no calculator with you because you are capable of calculating numbers by visualizing Soroban/Abacus beads.