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Mathematical Treasures of Japan in the Edo Period: Surveying

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University)

Kiku yoho kuden shiroku is a surveying manual originating with the mathematician Shimizu Sadanori (1645-1717), then passed down and modified by successive scholars. The edition examined here is from the later 18th century. (The Edo Period spans the years 1603-1867.) The title page of Kiku yoho kuden shiroku contains the author’s seals.

The usual types of problems of determining the height of a distant inaccessible tower are considered.

Determining a distant height using a mathematical measuring instrument:

These images are presented through the kind cooperation of the National Diet Library, Japan, and are used with permission. They were obtained from the library’s digital gallery exhibit, Japanese Mathematics in the Edo Period, where a complete examination and viewing of the item presented above can be found.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasures of Japan in the Edo Period: Surveying," Convergence (July 2018)