Header image of a close-up of a soroban


If you are, like me, fascinated by this "old" tool called the abacus, or specifically the soroban, you've already managed to get your hands on a soroban and began to practice and learn how to add, subtract, multiply and, may be, even divide with it.

Learn the arithmetic operations

If not, first, learn how to read a number on the soroban. Then, learn how to do the 4 basic operations by trying our virtual soroban, with step by step example of each operation. If you need more reference, try [1] and [2].

The need for an exercise generator

And now, you want to improve yourself. You've already found online generators of random numbers that help you practice (for example [3] or [4]). Maybe, you've even made one for yourself.

Learning books

I have learned to use the soroban with the help of the very good book Le boulier, Initiation Le boulier's cover icon [5] by Jean Cumin and Jean Hossenlopp (published by Chiron in french). I have also read The Japanese abacus, Its use and theory The Japanese Abacus'cover icon, the book of Takashi Kojima.

Another recommended reading is the "Soroban" book produced and published by The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and The League of Japan Abacus Association. You can download it freely on their site. It has been specially made by japanese for foreigners that want to learn the soroban.

A generator for exercices based on exam template

The 2 books of Kojima and Cumin-Hossenlopp talk about the soroban examination [6] [7] taking place in Japan for each grade, called kyu. They show examples of these examination and it's a good exercise to do these to practice and improve your soroban abilities.

So, I modified the little generator I already made for me to produce pdf files of these examination exercises and turn it into this website. You'll find below screenshots of how such documents look like. To see a real example, just go and try the generator.

You can subscribe to receive an exercise each day or week in your mailbox. You can also get an exam in HTML output.

Click on image to get a full size view
A preview of Cumin 5th kyu exercise   A preview of Moritomo 3rd kyu exercise