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Encyclopedia > Japanese units of measurement

Shakkan-hō (尺貫法?) is the traditional Japanese system of measurement. The name shakkanhō originates from the name of two of the units, the shaku, a length measurement, and the kan, a mass measurement. A system of measurement is a set of units which can be used to specify anything which can be measured and were historically important, regulated and defined because of trade and internal commerce. ... The former Weights and Measures office in Middlesex, England. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Japanese unit. ... For other uses of this word, see Length (disambiguation). ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...


The system is Chinese in origin. The units originated in the Shang Dynasty in the 13th century BC, and eventually stabilized in the Zhou Dynasty in the 10th century BC and spread from there to Japan, South East Asia, and Korea. The units of the Tang Dynasty were officially adopted in Japan in 701, and the current shaku measurement has hardly altered since then. Many Taiwanese units of measurement are derived form the shakkanhō system. Remnants of advanced, stratified societies dating back to the Shang period have been found in the Yellow River Valley. ... This article is about the ancient Chinese dynasty. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... This article is about the Korean peninsula and civilization. ... For the band, see Tang Dynasty (band). ... Taiwanese units of measurement (Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Minnan: Tâichoè) are the customary and traditional units of measure used in Taiwan. ...


From 1924, the shakkanhō system was replaced by the metric system, and use of the old units for official purposes was forbidden after the 31 March 1966. However, in several instances the old system is still used. In carpentry and agriculture use of the old fashioned terms is common. Japanese chisels are manufactured in sizes of sun and bu. Modern Japanese bathrooms are built in sizes which are fractions of a tsubo, usually either ¾, 1, or 1¼ of a tsubo and land is sold on the basis of price in tsubo. The 2005 Japanese census allowed people to give the area of their houses in either square metres or tsubo. For the rap album, see 1924 (album). ... The International System of Units (symbol: SI) (for the French phrase Syst me International dUnit s) is the most widely used system of units. ... is the 90th day of the year (91st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... Japanese carpentry is distinguished by the use of a different set of tools and techniques to European carpentry. ... The Japanese chisel or nomi (Japanese: é‘¿ or のみ) is made on similar principles to the Japanese plane. ...


There are several different versions of the shakkanhō. The tables below show the one in common use in the Edo period. The Edo period ), also called Tokugawa period, is a division of Japanese history running from 1603 to 1868. ...

Contents

Length

The basis of the shakkanhō length measurements is the shaku, which originated in ancient China. The other units are all fixed fractions or multiples of this basic unit. The shaku was originally the length from the thumb to the middle finger (about 18 cm, or 7 inches), but its length, and hence the length of the other units, gradually increased, since the length of the unit was related to the level of taxation.


Various different shaku developed for various purposes. The unit now most widely recognized as a shaku in Japan is the kanejaku (曲尺?), shaku, the system shown in the table below. Kanejaku means "carpenter's square", and this shaku was the one used by Japanese carpenters. The carpenter's shaku, used for construction, preserved the original Chinese shaku measure, because it was never interfered with, whereas the other shaku systems, which were used for taxation or trade, were interfered with in order to increase taxation, and hence gradually varied from the original value. Japanese carpentry is distinguished by the use of a different set of tools and techniques to European carpentry. ...


The kujirajaku (鯨尺?), literally "whale shaku", was a standard used in the clothing industry. The name "whale shaku" comes from the measuring rulers used, which were made from baleen. A kujirajaku is 1 1/4 the length of a kanejaku. Baleen hair is attached to the baleen plate Baleen (also called whalebone) is a substance made of keratin and is therefore stiff but somewhat elastic. ...


As well as the kanejaku and kujirajaku system, various other shaku systems also exist, for example the gofukujaku (呉服尺), where gofuku means traditional Japanese clothes, such as kimonos. In the gofukujaku system, one shaku is equal to 1.2 times the kanejaku's shaku.


In 1891, the lengths of the two most common shaku were defined in terms of the metric system:

1891 definitions Kanji Metric value English equivalent
1 kanejaku 曲尺 10/33 m ~11.93 in, or ~0.994 feet
1 kujirajaku 鯨尺 25/66 m ~14.9 in, or ~1.243 feet

Shaku units are still used for construction materials in Japan. For example, plywood is usually manufactured in 182 cm × 91 cm (about 72 in × 36 in) sheets known in the trade as saburokuhan (3×6版?), or 3 × 6 shaku. Each sheet is about the size of one tatami mat. The thicknesses of the sheets, however, are usually measured in millimetres. Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... English unit is the American name for a unit in one of a number of systems of units of measurement, some obsolete, and some still in use. ... Six-mat room with tatami flooring and shoji Tatami ) (originally meaning folded and piled) mats are a traditional Japanese flooring. ...


The names of these units also live on in the name of the bamboo flute shakuhachi (尺八?), literally "shaku eight", which is one shaku and eight sun in length, and the Japanese version of the Tom Thumb story, Issun Bōshi (一寸法師?), literally "one sun boy", as well as in many Japanese proverbs. A shakuhachi flute, blowing edge up. ... A shakuhachi flute, blowing edge up. ... The one-inch boy (一寸法師 issun-bōshi) is the subject of a fairy tale from Japan. ... The one-inch boy (一寸法師 issun-bōshi) is the subject of a fairy tale from Japan. ... // A Japanese proverb (ことわざ kotowaza) may take the form of: a short saying (言い習わし Ä«narawashi), an idiomatic phrase (慣用句 kanyōku), or a four-character idiom (四字熟語 yojijukugo). ...


The Shōsōin in Nara has an ivory one-shaku ruler, the kōgebachiru-no-shaku (紅牙撥鏤尺?). The Shōsōin (正倉院) is a structure at Tōdai-ji in Nara, Japan. ... Nara ) is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. ...

Table of length units
Rōmaji Kanji Relative
value
Metric
value
English
value
Notes
毛, 毫 1/10 000 ~30.3 μm ~1.193 thou
rin 1/1000 ~0.303 mm ~11.93 thou
bu 1/100 ~3.030 mm ~0.1193 in
sun 1/10 ~3.03 cm ~1.193 in, or
~0.099 ft
shaku 1 ~30.3 cm ~0.994 feet The Japanese foot.
ken 6 ~1.818 m ~5.965 ft, or
~1.988 yards
hiro 6 ~1.818 m ~5.965 ft, or
~1.988 yards
unit of depth; The Japanese fathom.
10 ~3.03 m ~3.314 yd
chō 360 ~109.1 m ~119.3 yd, or
~0.068 miles
60 ken
ri 12,960 ~3.927 km ~2.44 miles 36 chō

The smallest units, , rin, and bu, are actually the names of fractions, 1/1000, 1/100, and 1/10, respectively, which are also used as fractional units. A thou, also known as a mil, is a unit of length equal to one thousandth of an international inch. ... A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter, symbol mm) is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... Illustration of cun as width of thumb The cun (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: tsun) is a traditional Chinese unit of measurement. ... A centimetre (American spelling centimeter, symbol cm) is a unit of length that is equal to one hundredth of a metre, the current SI base unit of length. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Japanese unit. ... For other uses, see Foot (disambiguation). ... Look up Ken, ken in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In Polynesian mythology, Hiro was a hero who explored the western Pacific Ocean and returned with the ability to wank, which he introduced to the people of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). ... A fathom is the name of a unit of length in the Imperial system (and the derived U.S. customary units). ... The li (里 lǐ) is a Chinese unit of distance, until recently usually considered to be about 576 metres, but is now standardised at a half a kilometre or 500 metres (547 yards). ... “km” redirects here. ... “Miles” redirects here. ... The system of Japanese numerals is the system of number names used in the Japanese language. ...


Area

The tsubo, which is essentially the area of two tatami mats, is still commonly used in discussing land pricing in Japan. The larger units are also commonly used by Japanese farmers for discussing the sizes of fields, perhaps because most farmers in Japan are members of the older generation. Six-mat room with tatami flooring and shoji Tatami ) (originally meaning folded and piled) mats are a traditional Japanese flooring. ...

Table of area units
Rōmaji Kanji Relative
value
Metric
value
Imperial
value
Notes
1 shaku 1/100 ~330.58 cm² ~51.24 sq in, or
~0.3558 sq ft
1 gō 1/10 ~0.33058  ~3.558 sq ft, or
~0.3954 sq yd
1 jō 1/2 ~1.653 m² ~17.7916 sq ft, or
~1.979 sq yd
The size of one tatami mat. Used in quoting room sizes.
1 tsubo 1 ~3.3058 m² ~35.583 sq ft, or
~3.954 sq yd
1 tsubo = 1 square ken. Used in construction. Note that 1 tsubo = 2 jō.
1 bu 1 ~3.3058 m² ~35.583 sq ft, or
~3.954 sq yd
1 square ken. Used in agriculture.
1 se 30 ~99.17 m² ~118.6 sq yd
1 tan 段, 反 300 ~991.7 m² ~1186 sq yd, or
~0.2451 acres
1 chō or chōbu 3000 ~9917 m² ~2.451 acres

cm redirects here, alternate uses: cm (disambiguation) A centimetre (symbol cm; American spelling: centimeter) is an SI unit of length. ... A square metre (US spelling: square meter) is by definition the area enclosed by a square with sides each 1 metre long. ... An acre is the name of a unit of area in a number of different systems, including Imperial units and United States customary units. ...

Volume

1891 definition
shō = exactly 2401/1331 litre (l) = about 64.827 sun³ The litre or liter (see spelling differences) is a unit of volume. ...


These old-fashioned units are still used, for example, in sake production. Sake barrels at Itsukushima Shrine. ...

Table of volume units
Rōmaji Kanji Relative
value
Metric
value
U.S.
value
Imperial
value
Notes
sai 1/1000 ~1.804 ml ~0.061 fl oz ~0.06349 fl oz
shaku 1/100 ~18.04 ml ~0.61 fl oz ~0.6349 fl oz
1/10 ~180.4 ml ~6.1 fl oz, or
~0.3812 pints
~6.349 fl oz, or
~0.3174 pt
A common size of a serving of sake.
shō 1 ~1.804 L ~3.812 pt, or
~0.4765 U.S. gal
~3.174 pt, or
~0.3968 gal
A common size for sake bottles. Exactly 2401/1331 litres.
to 10 ~18.04 L ~4.765 U.S. gal ~3.968 gal
koku 100 ~180.4 L ~47.65 (liq.) gal, or
~40.95 (dry) gal
~39.68 gal Originally a volume of rice eaten in one year.

U.S. customary units, commonly known in the United States as English units or standard units, are units of measurement that are currently used in the U.S., in some cases alongside units from SI (the International System of Units—the modern metric system). ... The Imperial units or the Imperial system is a collection of English units, first defined in the Weights and Measures Act of 1824, later refined (until 1959) and reduced. ... A fluid ounce is a unit of volume in both the Imperial system of units and the U.S. customary units system. ... A fluid ounce is a unit of volume in both the Imperial system of units and the U.S. customary units system. ... A fluid ounce is a unit of volume in both the Imperial system of units and the U.S. customary units system. ... A fluid ounce is a unit of volume in both the Imperial system of units and the U.S. customary units system. ... The pint is an English unit of volume or capacity in the imperial system and United States customary units, equivalent in each system to one half of a quart, and one eighth of a gallon. ... Sake barrels at Itsukushima Shrine. ... Sake barrels at Itsukushima Shrine. ... A koku ) is a unit of volume in Japan, equal to ten cubic shaku. ...

Mass

1891 definition
1 momme = 15/4 gram (g) BIC pen cap, about 1 gram. ...


The Japanese unit of mass, momme, is a recognized unit in the international pearl industry.

Table of units of mass
Rōmaji Kanji Relative
value
Metric
value
Imperial
value
Notes
1 fun 1/10 375 mg ~0.2116 drams
1 momme 1 3.75 g ~2.116 dr, or
~0.1323 oz
hyakume 百目 100 375 g ~13.23 oz, or
~0.8267 lb
Hyakume means "100 me"
1 kin 160 600 g ~1.323 lb
1 kan or kanme 貫, 貫目 1000 3.75 kg ~8.267 lb

The milligram (symbol mg) is an SI unit of mass. ... BIC pen cap, about 1 gram. ... “Kg” redirects here. ...

Money

The names of old money live on in Japanese proverbs such as haya oki wa san mon no toku, literally "Waking early gets you three mon", in other words "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." // A Japanese proverb (ことわざ kotowaza) may take the form of: a short saying (言い習わし īnarawashi), an idiomatic phrase (慣用句 kanyōku), or a four-character idiom (四字熟語 yojijukugo). ...

Table of money units
Unit Kanji Equivalent to
1 mon
1 hiki 10 mon
1 kanmon 貫文 100 hiki

Other units

Apart from shakkanhō and the metric system, other units are also commonly used in Japan. The most common unit found is the inch. Inches are used in the following: The former Weights and Measures office in Middlesex, England. ...

  • Japanese bicycles are based on a British system, and the tyre sizes are measured in inches rather than centimetres.
  • Inch sizes are commonly used in the computer industry for the sizes of parts, connectors, and semiconductor wafers.
  • Inches and feet are used for the width and length of magnetic tape.
  • Inches are used for the size of television screens. Because inches are not a legally recognized unit in Japan, instead of writing the word "inch", Japanese companies substitute "-gata" (型).[citation needed] Thus, a television with a 17 in diagonal measure is described as 17型.
  • The sizes of photographic prints are based on the inch, though rounded to the nearest millimetre.

For other uses, see Bicycle (disambiguation). ... Firestone tire This article is about pneumatic tires. ... Semiconductor devices are electronic components that exploit the electronic properties of semiconductor materials, principally silicon, germanium, and gallium arsenide. ... It has been suggested that Wafer prober be merged into this article or section. ... A foot (plural: feet or foot;[1] symbol or abbreviation: ft or, sometimes, ′ – a prime) is a unit of length, in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... Compact audio cassette Magnetic tape is a non-volatile storage medium consisting of a magnetic coating on a thin plastic strip. ...

References

External links

  • Japanese units (Japanese)
  • Japanese carpenter's square at the Takenaka carpentry tools museum.

See also


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