Title

Japanese Temple Geometry

Presenter

Hannah Horner

Abstract

Sangaku, or “mathematical tablet” in Japanese, are geometry problems transcribed by hand in colorful, pleasing designs onto wooden tablets. The tablets are found in temples throughout Japan, with the older Sangaku dating back to the late 17th century. The problems found on the tablets range from simple exercises to extremely difficult problems even with the benefit of modern mathematics. To better understand the role of these tablets, I focus on the people who made them and the intention in their work. My presentation also examines the history of two styles of mathematics: wasan (native Japanese mathematics) and yosan (Western mathematics). I discuss how Sangaku fit into this history as well as how they reflect traditional aesthetics of Japan. Finally, I present a few simple Sangaku that can be solved using high-school geometry.

Faculty Sponsor

Ron Takemoto

Sponsor Department/Programs

Asian Studies

Tracks

Japan: Tradition and Modernity

Terms of Use

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Location

Kimball Theatre

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

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Apr 11th, 9:00 AM Apr 11th, 9:15 AM

Japanese Temple Geometry

Kimball Theatre

Sangaku, or “mathematical tablet” in Japanese, are geometry problems transcribed by hand in colorful, pleasing designs onto wooden tablets. The tablets are found in temples throughout Japan, with the older Sangaku dating back to the late 17th century. The problems found on the tablets range from simple exercises to extremely difficult problems even with the benefit of modern mathematics. To better understand the role of these tablets, I focus on the people who made them and the intention in their work. My presentation also examines the history of two styles of mathematics: wasan (native Japanese mathematics) and yosan (Western mathematics). I discuss how Sangaku fit into this history as well as how they reflect traditional aesthetics of Japan. Finally, I present a few simple Sangaku that can be solved using high-school geometry.

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