The Japanese Numbers Game: The Use and Understanding of Numbers in Modern Japan

The Japanese Numbers Game: The Use and Understanding of Numbers in Modern Japan

The Japanese Numbers Game: The Use and Understanding of Numbers in Modern Japan

The Japanese Numbers Game: The Use and Understanding of Numbers in Modern Japan

Synopsis

An almost obsessional use of numbers characterizes Japanese popular culture. A wide variety of numerical formulas and strategies provide the means for explaining events and solving problems occurring in everyday life. These include such matters as the choice of the name for a child, ranking in almost any game or sport, the diagnosis and cure of illness, or the decision to accept a new job. The Japanese Numbers Gameprovides a general study of the whole field of Japanese popular numeracy. It introduces, in fascinating detail, a world of numbers in which fortune-telling, the abacus, games involving numbers as well as curious numerical names (of both people and places) illustrate a popular obsession with systems of counting, calculation, and forecasting. No understanding of Japanese popular culture is complete without some knowledge of the use of numbers by the Japanese. Thomas Crump's meticulous exploration of the cultural roots of these attitudes makes this book essentialfor students of anthropology and Japanese studies.

Excerpt

Now that we are in the 1990s, most would agree that Japan is a nation of absolutely first-rate significance. The successes of the Japanese economy and the resourcefulness of her people have long been appreciated abroad. More and more people are also becoming aware of the increasing impact of Japan on the outside world in a widening variety of fields of endeavour. This tends to produce painful adjustment and uncomfortable reactions. It also leads to the formation of stereotypes and arguments based on outdated or ill-informed ideas.

The Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies Series seeks to foster an informed and balanced—but not uncritical—understanding of Japan. One aim of the series is to show the depth and variety of Japanese institutions, practices and ideas. Another is, by using comparison, to see what lessons, positive and negative, can be drawn for other countries. There are many aspects of Japan which are little known outside that country but which deserve to be better understood.

The Japanese popular use and understanding of numbers is something which is hardly known at all outside Japan. Dr Thomas Crump, writing from the perspective of social anthropology, introduces the reader in fascinating detail to the world of numbers in which fortune-telling, the abacus, games involving numbers as well as curious numerical names (of both people and places) illustrate a popular obsession with systems of counting, calculation and forecasting. The cultural roots of attitudes towards numbers are meticulously explored, and suggestions are made about the contemporary implications of a culture in which mechanical numeracy (and number obsession) is general but the highest levels of academic mathematics still fall short of world standards. Dr Crump takes the

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.