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7 Powerful different “Types of abacus” and everything you need to know

Posted by Thej Academy on 07th February 2019

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In the Flash Anzan event at the All Japan Soroban Championship, champion Takeo Sasano was able to add fifteen three-digit numbers in just 1.7 seconds.


Isn’t it fascinating? A simple frame with sliding biconical beads in it solves mathematical problems!! Wow, this is more than just a boon to mankind, isn’t it? undeniably, Math has always been and still is bitter gourd soup for masses to date. But, as luck would have it, math is a part of our everyday lives and we are forced to deal with it.

Fret not, the best way to escape this situation, is to make yourself a sharp person. Are you wondering how? Of course, keep reading!!. If you want to explore our other couses you can or if you are Interested in Enrolling your child in the Online Abacus Competition you can too 🙂

Join me, fellas, while I take you through the entire detailed book of the epitome of human invention in Mathematics – The Abacus!

Did you Know? Greek Island of Salamis is the Birth Land of Abacus


Abacus is the oldest of the calculating tools used effectively to date. The following can be done using the abacus.

  1. Addition- Subtraction
  2. Multiplication – division
  3. Counting decimal places- extracting square and cubic roots
  4. Calculating negative numbers

Awe striking, isn’t it? We hear from you. So, read more to get your answers.

ABACUS – The second best ancient human inventions after knife and Pencil


Let Us Begin with the history..

Firstly, early age humans have played a major role in being the inspiration of almost half of the modern-day inventions. The abacus is one such evolutionary inventions. Trade being an integral part of the early ages, merchants used to keep count of their commodities using pebbles and twigs.

Those were the times when even the written form of numbers did not exist. Eventually, with the increasing quantity, this method was quite difficult to manage the inventory and keep an account.

Secondly, math existed from the initial days of business and trade in human evolutionary history. That is why abacus has become a worldwide accepted tool. The Abacus kit is indeed revolutionizing the education industry.

What Does the Word Abacus Mean?

ABACUS is an acronym in which

  1. A stands for Abundant
  2. B stands for Beads
  3. A stands for Addition
  4. C stands for Calculation
  5. U stands for Utility
  6. S stands for System
Did you Know? A Person Who Performs Calculations Using Abacus Kit Is Called an Abacist

The Greek word Abax or Abacon gave rise to the word Abacus. These words mean Table, Tablet, or a flat surface. On the other hand, The Semitic word Abq, which refers to Sand, says history. Thus, these descriptions gave rise to the word Abacus.

Types of Abacus

Abacus is a man-made calculating device invented 5000 years ago. Besides, it has its share of evolution in terms of design and usage.

Historians believe it was the Chinese minds who invented the Abacus around 500BC. Meanwhile, the abundant fame of success for abacus began to spread. Countries like Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia and Japan were smitten by the abacus fever. As time passed by, the design of an abacus kit has widely varied in terms of style, size and material. Time, people and technology improved the abacus.

The design of abacus kits remains to be in a combination of rods and pebbles. However, there are no facts that support the confirmed statement about the invention of the abacus. Its true origin remains unknown.

The Earliest Form and Etymology

The earliest form of abacus was a reckoning table covered with sand or fine dust, in which fingers were drawn using a stylus, and erased with the same, when necessary. This description gave rise to the Greek word ‘ABAX’ from which abacus sourced its etymology.

The Advent of Romans into Abacus

As time passed, numbers and calculations emerged as a vital part of trade and commerce. Romans developed an easier way to use the abacus called the ‘Roman Hand Abacus’. It was a stone table with movable stones sliding up and down.

Types of Romanian Abacus

Also, the Romans invented three different types of the abacus.

  1. The Dust Abacus
  2. The Line Abacus and
  3. The Grooved Abacus

The rows represented the place value of numbers accordingly.

Roman Numerals and Abacus

The Romans used Abacus to calculate, by using the Roman numerals. Also, they called the counting board Calculi. It means little stones. Their Abacus kit consisted of seven long and shorter grooves. The upper grooves had one bead. On the other hand, the lower ones had four beads. The last two columns were used for the Roman mixed- base math.

The beads in the upper groove marked the place value of fives. The lower grooves marked the place value from tens to millions. As time passed by, with the advent of modern technologies, the Romans switched to micro calculators in 1974.

The Chinese Suanpan Abacus

The ancient Chinese abacus, called SUANPAN, was developed in the twelfth century and did not attain fame till the fourteenth century.

However, this invention was quite a complication to the calculations since it had two beads on the upper deck. It was eventually a failure because of its construction.

The Chinese Ball Arithmetic

The Modern numbering system was based on Hindu-Arabic mathematics. Undoubtedly, It was widespread towards the end of the 16th century. That is when the Chinese termed abacus as the “ball arithmetic”. Since then, they have started using it as the main mode of calculations.

Typically made of hardwood, the Suanpan abacus was 20 cms long. The Chinese call it the 2:5 abacus, based on its structure. It was designed in such a way to calculate up to limitless precision

The Chinese referred to Abacus using a variety of names like Supan, Jusan, and Jupan. The Roman abacus influenced the design of the Chinese Abacus.

Varieties of Suanpan

The Chinese used Suanpan for decimal numbers. Because, it had an empty rod, indicating zero. The modern and most-refined version of Suanpan consisted of 4+1 beads, a position indicator, and a clear-all button for zeroing.

The 5:2 Suanpan Abacus is still in usage in Hong Kong schools, as a part of cultural preservation.

Did you Know? The Plural Form of Abacus is Abaci

The Japanese Soroban Abacus

The Japanese obtained the form of Abacus from China, through Korea, around the sixteenth century. In the Japanese way of construction, the operational methods of abacus underwent some advancements. It was simplified by the nineteenth century and obtained its current form around the 1920s. Undoubtedly, the present form of Soroban looks much more elegant and appealing.

Learning the Anatomy

  • Go-dama-The upper beads carried a value of five. Ichi-dama– the lower beads whose value is one. Still, the length of these abacus kit differs from 13 rods to 31 rods, based on the requirement.
  • This abacus kit comes with a dot on every third row, indicating the completion of a whole number. In addition to addition and subtraction, this abacus enables the usage of a complimentary number.
  • ‘Anzan’ is the name of the Soroban abacus. To date, it is an active part of the Japanese school curriculum.

The East-Asian Schoty Abacus

The Schoty has been the calculating device in Russia for centuries together, to date. It is 28 cm wide and 46 cm in height. Especially, smaller Schoty’s for students use are available in 13 x 18 size. Furthermore, It had a thick wooden frame with horizontal rods attached to it.

The iron rods were in horizontal. Not to mention, The beads moved along the left to manipulate the numbers. Also, The Schoty has almost 10 to 14 rows with no separation bar in between them.

One row in the entire Schoty is provided with 4 beads to calculate fractions. Weighing up to 175 grams, this model was rarely used for basic calculations. Furthermore, it did not stand up to the standards of the Japanese and Chinese Abacus.

The Vietnamese Abacus

This Abacus from Vietnam has 5 beads in both the upper and the lower decks. It measures 160 mm X90 mm.

  • Each column represents the power to 10.
  • The horizontal beam that separates the structure has no special function and this complex structure remains a question
  • The Vietnamese did not use the Abacus actively as the other countries did. They either hired a bookkeeper or used a calculator. Moreover, the confusing structure of their Abacus kit and the lack of interest of the Vietnamese to use it, lead to the gradual non-existence of the same.

Lee’s improved Abacus

Lee Kai Chen invented Lee’s improved abacus in 1950 in Taiwan. It measures 33 cm by 20 cm. It is a combination of the Chinese Suanpan (5+2) and the Japanese Sorobon (4+1) structure. Undeniably, this invention was the most efficient form of the abacus. Because it was used in the extraction of the square roots.

  • Lee’s improved abacus is known for its error-proof manipulation. Despite its complex structure, it is easy for beginners to learn. However, The calculations like addition and subtraction are majorly performed on the two lower sections of the abacus. Finally, multiplication and division were done on the two upper rows.
  • Lee Kai Chen’s abacus is well-known for its versatility in helping to extract square and cubic roots without much effort.
Did you Know? The Earliest Abacus Could Fit Inside a Modern Day Shirt Pocket

How to use Abacus

The index finger and the thumb are used for moving the beads across the rods.

Each bead is valued 5 in the upper deck. In contrast, Each bead is valued 1 in the lower deck.

As simple as it sounds, there are only two steps to perform a calculation using the abacus. Push the beads up and down in the abacus kit to manipulate the numbers.

We have learned sufficient history about the Abacus.

How to Use Abacus

Step 1: Zeroing

To begin with, this is the preparatory stage to initiate any kind of calculation using the abacus. Mounting the device flat on the table is done by sliding the thumb and the index finger along the beam. This is the Zeroing or “Set Zero” step.

Secondly, Clearing all the beads away from the central beam ensures clarity in the calculation. It also marks the beginning of a new arithmetic problem. Hence, this is done to set the number value in the abacus kit as zero.

Step 2: Counting

The beads are considered as counted when they are moved towards the bar that separates the decks. The beads in the upper deck are called the Heavenly beads. Earthly beads are the beads in the lower deck.

Gently slide a bead from the one’s column lower deck to the answering bar, this value counts to one. Post counting 4 in the lower deck, the result is carried on as 5 in the upper deck. After the bead in the upper deck is used, the result is carried to the next column as 10.

Yes, the beads in the lower deck carry a value of 1 and the bead in the upper deck carries a value of 5. This increases leftwards with the place values, accordingly. This continues along the left-hand side of the abacus kit, with increasing place values. Understanding the abacus kit is much simpler than you can imagine.

This tallying frame is capable of performing wonders beyond its humble looks!

Knowing the Place Value

Knowing the place value is the most crucial part of learning abacus. Every column has a place value of its own. Every single bead added in that particular column corresponds to that place value.

In the typical abacus kit, the place value increases leftwards like ones, tens, hundreds, and so on. The rightmost column is the one’s column, the next adjacent one on the left is the tens column. The following adjacent one to the left is the hundreds column and so on.

An earthly bead added in the one’s column means the value is one. Similarly, an earthly bead added in the hundreds column represents the number hundred. Are you getting a hang of it kids?

Adding to it, floating-point calculations can be done by designating the space between two columns as the decimal point. Here, all the rows to the right of that space represent the fractional portion. All the rows to the left represent the whole number.

Did you Know? The Roman hand Abacus Was the Very First Portable Mechanical Tool Invented for Calculation

The Technique

As simple as it sounds, performing calculations using an abacus kit involves the usage of only 3 fingers. They are

  • The thumb
  • The Index finger and
  • The Middle finger

The conventional finger technique is the mantra of the abacus. The thumb, index finger along the middle finger moves the beads. The thumb moves up the beads from the lower deck. The index finger is used to move the bead down from the upper deck. The middle finger moves the beads in the upper deck, in some calculations.

It requires little practice to get a hold of manipulating numbers using alternate fingers. However, this method forms the foundation of mental math, purely by visualizing.

I did not have a computer until I was 19, But I did have an abacus

Jan Koum, Co-founder & former CEO of WhatsApp

Abacus for Kids

Did you know that the human brain is capable of storing data up to 1000 Terabytes?

The amazing memory power of humans is at its fullest zest during childhood. This is why anything learned, practiced, and mastered the childhood stays in our memory forever.

From sharpening the skill sets of children to making unlimited usage of the brain, the abacus plays a major part in developing the perpetual capability of children. Furthermore, it strengthens their overall performance in academics. This is why Abacus classes for kids is an unsaid necessity, in the current world.

ABD in Thej Academy

Abacus-based mental calculation (ABD) is a type of abacus training. This is a high-level cognitive skill to run calculations with an effective algorithm. Undoubtedly, it has efficiently proved to improve brain functioning in kids. We at Thej Academy, provide long term exposure to ABC to children. Besides, it results in more effectively connected neural pathways.

Did you Know? The Suanpan Abacus Came in Different Customisable Widths, Depending on Its Application

Abacus and Mental Focus Results

How many of us suffer due to a lack of focus? Also, How many of us possess photogenic memory power? These days, there is a timely replacement and alternative to anything and everything. We do not bother to improve our focus levels. Scarily, this reluctance might result in poor performance. Abacus enables kids to improve their focus levels drastically. To crack any math problem, all that one needs to remember is the final position of the beads.

Any problem can be solved by Visualizing the abacus board, along with the position of the last bead. Complex problems can be cracked at a great speed this way.

Benefits of Practicing Abacus for Kids

The world’s most renowned institutions prove that the abacus develops the following aspects in humans.

A child uses both hands to work on the abacus. This coordination leads to the stimuli of the right and the left brain simultaneously. It results in the functioning of the entire brain. This simultaneous functioning of the left and right brain is observed while engrossed in very few activities like swimming and sword fighting.

Improved Concentration

In this competitive world, any skilled person with focus attains success. Abacus helps you to improve your mental stability and memory skills.

Imagining the abacus in mind to manipulate the numbers for prolonged periods of practice, results in abundant increase in the kids’ focus levels

researches from the California University.
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Logical Reasoning

Comparing to the non-abacus learners, children who practice abacus are found to have increased logical reasoning.

Researchers state that a child who practices abacus has a cognitive power 70% greater than that of a child who doesn’t practice abacus. Needless to say, an active cognitive mind helps you to perform better and keeps your mind sharp and active. This not only applies to all the basic math calculations but also the fractions where swift thinking plays a major role.

Photogenic Memory

Improved memory power is always an unsaid advantage. Memory power is the mental strength of a person. It comes with the combined action of timely focus and grasping ability. Children who practice abacus exhibit an extraordinary range of memory levels. Also, this helps the brain to recall things easily.

Some abacus experts use their ability to memorize the whole pages of their textbooks filled with years

Ms. Kimiko Kawano, Researcher, Nippon Medical School.

Abacus at Thej Academy

We make math so much fun to deal with! Thej Academy hands-on experience in Abacus coaching since 2007. We teach a variety of courses for children and graduates.

Students Working on Abacus at Thej Academy

At Thej Academy, we have a slightly different approach to training anyone interested to learn abacus. We understand the capacity of your child and work with individual focus, to develop their abacus skills. We enhance the child’s listening skills and creativity by using Abacus as the primary tool. This has helped us to produce Abundant results and overwhelming responses.

Thej Academy Approach

We train children in such a way that it facilitates the functioning of the whole brain. We help them gain intellect by enhancing the ‘Child Math Prodigy’. We believe in taking baby steps, as abacus is the stepping stone for your child’s brilliant future.

Every child is extremely scared of math these days. We at Thej Academy, change your child’s approach towards math with our exceptionally acute training. We ensure highly efficient results in academics and other competitive examinations.

And best of all, we make learning fun!

Did you Know? Despite Being a Failure Model, the Schoty Abacus is Still being Used by Small Shop Owners in Parts of Korea

Learn Abacus from Thej Academy, Remain a Genius for Life

Apart from academic growth, abacus training also increases concentration power and response speed. We at Thej Academy, have skilled mentors. They guide children in the right way to increase mental strength and academic performance. Sounds huge, but a simple course named Abacus does it all. We also provide training to become a Professional Certified Abacus Teacher.

Worried if your kid is under age to join the abacus class? Wondering if Thej Academy can help an aspiring entrepreneur? Breath fellas, we have all your questions answered!

The core idea of teaching Abacus in Thej Academy is to enhance anyone’s mental arithmetic ability. All that you have to do, is to remember the last number you manipulated and its place value. Our teachers will help you from scratch to get you there. As simple as that!!


Are you a school student looking forward to learning Abacus? Are you an aspiring entrepreneur willing to learn and teach abacus on your own? We at Thej Academy believe in learning and growing together. The genuineness of our service has made us the best Abacus center in Nesapakkam, Chennai.

So fellas, join Thej Academy- the one-stop for learning abacus with no age limits!

It is not an easy task to survive technological hurricanes and still be a part of the developing world. Despite being a simple tool, Abacus is revolutionizing the masses, to date. All you need is the right mentor, adequate supervision, and quality imparting of practical knowledge. Learning Abacus can do wonders for the kids of this generation.

This, not only helps your child to do well in academics but also revamps their overall self-reliance and discovers their power within.

Feel free to give us a ring or a ping to be a part of this abacus awesomeness. Want to be a part of Online Competition? Enroll here

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