Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Training Math Athletes in Japanese Jukus
First of all, please watch the short video below, showing what is going on in a juku in Japan.
This amazing calculation method is called "Flash Anzan (暗算 = Mental Calculation) Method".
How can it be possible?
Its secret is that all of those in the video are practitioners of soroban (abacus), which is a Japanese traditional calculating device that has been widely used across the country for centuries. Without proficiency of soroban, it is probably impossible to calculate as quickly as in the video.
How many people can perform this calculation method is not known. However, it is probably wrong to think that the Flash Anzan players are extremely rare people, while not all the soroban users can perform it.
I suppose that considerably many soroban users can make it if the flashing speed is not very fast.
Point is that this skill is not reserved for a handful of gifted people, but given to those who have grit and perseverance to go through training and practice.
Now you can give it a try on this site: http://www.japanmatrix.com/anzan/
In the beginners' course, soroban learners calculate so slowly with some mistakes and complains as in the below video.
Then how they become formidable math athletes?
As they continue training, their calculating performance gets faster and faster, and over time they come to feel that the act of filliping beads is a bottleneck process and eventually replace the real soroban with an imaginary one in their mind. The kids in the first video, who are rapidly moving their fingers on the table, have reached to that proficiency level. And the masters, like Mr. Yuki Kurosawa, have completely internalized all the process including the finger motion in his mind...
This is my hypothetical argument about the trajectory from a soroban beginner to the Flash Anzan master, though it cannot be validated due to the lack of academic study on this method. I really wonder if it can be a great contribution to human society to elucidate how an individual can develop this skill.
Next time, I would like to pick up some of the findings on this method, which scatter in the Internet, in order to seek some suggestions.
(To be continued)
投稿者 Manabu Watanabe