Science Networks. Historical Studies

Japanese Mathematics in the Edo Period (1600-1868)

A study of the works of Seki Takakazu (?-1708) and Takebe Katahiro (1664-1739)

Authors: Horiuchi, Annick

  • First academic publication devoted to Japan since the beginning of the 20th century
  • Provides substantial information on the historical and intellectual context of Japanese science
  • Substantial information on the mathematical contents of Seki Takakazu and Katebe Katahiro
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Hardcover $279.00
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  • ISBN 978-3-7643-8744-0
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About this book

Japanese mathematics, known also under the name of wasan, experienced a remarkable development between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Wasan took its roots from the Chinese tradition of mathematics and shared its language and its categories of problems, but gave it a new impetus, transforming the Chinese algebraic method of the "heavenly element" into a powerful tool with a much wider scope. All domains of mathematical research were revisited in the light of this new algebra.

This book focuses on the first period of the development of wasan. It offers a survey of the earliest manuals for learning the use of the abacus published in the seventeenth century, notably the famous Jinkoki, which counted among the bestsellers of the Tokugawa period. The works of the two greatest mathematicians of this period, Seki Takakazu and Takebe Katahiro, and the way they transformed the face of mathematics, are examined in detail, with particular emphasis on the historical context, the relations between these two mathematicians and the political leaders of the epoch, and the role that mathematics played in this rapidly rising society.

Reviews

“The book is an extremely attractive gateway into the historical questions surrounding the best-known period of wasan, one written from a modern methodological perspective. … I was delighted and impressed by this book and its contents, with so many points of contact with and development of traditional Chinese mathematical knowledge.” (Jiří Hudeček, East Asian, Science, Technology, and Medicine, Issue 37, 2014)

“The present volume is a very careful English translation of a book which has been first published in French in 1994. … readers will also get from these a visual apprehension of what Japanese mathematical texts physically looked like during the Edo period. Anyone interested in Japanese mathematics and its multifarious aspects … should first have recourse to this outstanding book in as much as his excellent critical apparatus open wide perspectives for future researches in such a domain.” (Jean-Claude Martzloff, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1206, 2011)

Buy this book

Hardcover $279.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-7643-8744-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Japanese Mathematics in the Edo Period (1600-1868)
Book Subtitle
A study of the works of Seki Takakazu (?-1708) and Takebe Katahiro (1664-1739)
Authors
Translated by
Wimmer-Zagier, S.
Series Title
Science Networks. Historical Studies
Series Volume
40
Copyright
2010
Publisher
Birkhäuser Basel
Copyright Holder
Birkhäuser Basel
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-7643-8744-0
Series ISSN
1421-6329
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXVII, 350
Topics