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Manekineko

Japanese units of measure

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Mina-san, douzo yoroshiku. Allow me to start a Japanese-culture related topic. :-)

Jou/tsubo discussion in Chiganoura-beya thread reminded me of my own small list of various old Japanese measures and currency. Unfortunately, I cannot post kanji/kana from this computer... Anyway, of course I have many holes and uncertainties in it, so any corrections are much appreciated... (I am not worthy...)

Units of distance

rin - 1/1000 of shaku (0.3 mm)

bu - 1/100 of shaku (3 mm)

sun - 1/10 of shaku (3.03 cm)

shaku - one foot (0.3033 m)

ken - 5 shaku, but the same source says 1.82 meters, which sounds suspiciously like 6 shaku = kan... I need confirmation this even exists, as I have no kanji for it...

jin - 5 shaku, this time equivalent to 1.7 meters... same problem as ken.

kan - six shaku. Kanji wanted.

jou - 10 shaku (the source had it as 3.3 m, when it shoud be 3.03...)

chou - I have it as either 352 shaku (which would be ~106 m), but also as 130 m and even 300 m. So, how long is it? Also, kanji wanted.

ri - 4 km

Units of area

jou - 90x180 cm area (1.62 sq. meters)

tsubo - 2 jou (listed as 3.31 sq. meters, which is a little bit more than 2 times 1.62)

houjou - square jou (unit of length, different kanji, ~10 sq. meters)

se - ~100 square meters, 30 tsubo

Measures of volume

masu - 1.8 liters

koku - ~180 liters (100 masu, presumably)

Measures of weight

monme - ~3.75 g (1/1000 kan)

kin - ~600g

kan - ~3.75 kg

Measure of time

koku - 2 hours

Monetary units

koban - golden coin, unknown relation to other units

mameitagin - Edo-jidai coin, unknown relation to other units

rin - 1/1000 of yen

mon - 1/10 of sen (= rin?)

sen - 1/100 of yen

monme - 1/60 of ryou

shu - 1/16 of ryou, 1/4 of kan. Kanji wanted

kan - 1000 mon copper coins, 1/4 or ryou. This would make it 15 monme, so it seems monme is not mon, although weight unit kan = 1000 monme. Also, kan seems to be equal to bu... Kanji wanted. If mon coppers are the same 1/10 of sen listed above, 1 kan = 1 yen = 1 bu and the confusion is complete. ;-)

bu - 1/4 of ryou

ryou - golden coin (of juuryou fame ;-) )

I don't know where my fascination with exotic units come from, unless it is from being born and raised in strictly SI country... If anyone's interested, I know how many farthings there are in a guiney. :-P

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If anyone's interested, I know how many farthings there are in a guiney. (I am not worthy...)

I find this topic interesting, and would like to know the answers to your questions as well. ;-) However, I did a little research on farthings and think the answer to this is 1008, isn't it?

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Manekineko - you'll love these pages!! (Sign of approval)

Length/distance http://homepage2.nifty.com/NG/unit/length.htm

area http://homepage2.nifty.com/NG/unit/area.htm

volume http://homepage2.nifty.com/NG/unit/vol.htm

weight http://homepage2.nifty.com/NG/unit/mass.htm

about money, what about http://www.geocities.co.jp/Playtown/6757/tuuka.html

Yayakoshii! (I am not worthy...)

Edited by Amanogawa

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@Doitsuyama: Bravo! Correct answer. (I am not worthy...)

@Amanogawa: Thank you! (Heart) I'll check those pages out...

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Manekineko -  you'll love these pages!!  (Sign of approval)

Length/distance  http://homepage2.nifty.com/NG/unit/length.htm

area  http://homepage2.nifty.com/NG/unit/area.htm           

volume  http://homepage2.nifty.com/NG/unit/vol.htm

weight  http://homepage2.nifty.com/NG/unit/mass.htm

about money, what about  http://www.geocities.co.jp/Playtown/6757/tuuka.html

Yayakoshii!  (I am not worthy...)

Well, I don't know about you guys, but from now on I'm calling Juuryou "Yonjuppu".

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OK! Here's a (romaji) summary of the pages in question, for those with even less knowledge of Japanese than me... ;-)

Length

ri - 12690 shaku (36 chou) or 3.92727... km

chou - 360 shaku (36 jou, 60 ken) or 109.0909... m

jou - 10 shaku or 3.0303... m

ken - 6 shaku or 1.8181... m

shaku - a foot (0.30303... m)

kujirashaku - a long foot (0.37878... m)

sun - 1/10 shaku or 3.03... cm

bu - 1/100 shaku (1/10 sun) or 3.03... mm

rin - 1/1000 shaku (1/10 bu) or 0.303... mm

mou - 1/10000 shaku (1/10 rin) or 30.3... um

Area

heihoujou* - 1.6528926 sq. m, 180 sq. sun

houjou* - 1 sq. jou (approx. 10 sq. m)

*These are two different jous, apparently...

shaku - 1/100 tsubo (1/10 gou) [different kanji from "length" shaku]

gou - 1/10 tsubo or 0.33 sq. m

jou - tatami mat, 90x180 cm [third jou - kanji'd come in handy here]

tsubo - square ken (6 shaku), equals 2 jou or 3.3058 sq.m

bu - same as tsubo but used for fields etc and not houses etc. [different kanji from "length" bu]

se - 30 tsubo or 99.1736 sq. m

tan - 300 tsubo (10 se) or 991.7355 sq. m

chou - 3000 tsubo (10 tan) or 0.991738816 ha [same kanji as "length" shaku]

Volume

shaku - 1/100 shou (1/10 go) or 18.039 mL [same kanji as "area" shaku]

gou - 1/10 shou or 0.18039 L [same kanji as "area" gou]

shou - 1.8039 L

to - 10 shou or 18.039 L

koku - a) 100 shou or 180.39 L, volume of rice one man can eat in a year

b) (shiphold) 10 cub. shaku or 0.278 cub. m (278 L)

sai - a) cub. shaku or 0.0278 cub. m

b) (for precious wood) cilinder 1-2 ken long and with 1 sun diameter

tsubo - cubic ken (6 shaku) or 6.013 cub. m [same kanji as "area" tsubo]

Weight

kan - 1000 monme (6.25 kin, 100 ryou) or 3.75 kg

kin - 160 monme (16 ryou) or 600 g

eikin - aproximation of english pound, 120 monme or 450 g

ryou - 10 monme or 37.5 g

monme - 3.75 g

bu - 1/10 monme or 0.375 g [same kanji as "length" bu]

rin - 1/100 monme (1/10 bu) or 37.5 mg [same kanji as "length" rin]

mou - 1/1000 monme (1/10 rin) or 3.75 mg [same kanji as "length" mou]

Confused yet? Wait, now we hit the big time!

Money

- gold coins

ooban - large oval gold coin, 20 ryou

koban - oval gold coin, ryou

ryou - golden coin [same kanji as "weight" ryou]

bu - 1/4 golden ryou [same kanji as "length/weight" bu]

shu - 1/16 golden ryou, 1/4 bu

- silver coins

kan - 1000 silver monme [same kanji as "weight" kan]

monme - silver coin, 1/1000 kan, 10 fun [same kanji as "weight" monme]

fun - 1/10 silver monme [same kanji as "weight" bu]

rin - 1/100 silver monme (1/10 fun) [same kanji as "weight" rin]

mou - 1/1000 silver monme (1/10 rin) [same kanji as "weight" mou]

- copper coins

kan - 1000 copper mon [same kanji as "silver" kan]

mon - copper coin

- yen-related scale

rin - 1/1000 yen [same kanji as "silver" rin]

mon - 1/1000 yen (1/10 sen)

sen - 1/100 yen

My feeble attempt at analysing various monetary systems:

Silver units fit exactly with the weight-unit scale, so I suppose it is simply the weight of silver needed to make a coin. Same could be applied to golden ryou, as well as copper kan.

I have from somewhere that kan = 1/4 golden ryou. Since kan is 100 ryou in weight, that would make gold 400 times more precious than either silver or copper: I'd say it's copper. So we'd have 1 copper kan = 1/4 golden ryou = golden bu.

I also have from somewhere that 1 silver monme = 1/60 golden ryou, which would make gold 6 times more precious than silver - that sounds plausible. Applying that to copper kan, we have 1 silver monme = 1/15 copper kan.

If we now take mon from the yen scale to be equal to copper mon, one yen wold be one copper kan or 1/4 golden ryou. On the other hand if we take rin from the yen scale to be equal to silver rin, one yen would be 10 silver monme or 1/6 golden ryou - not that big a difference, actually.

This is fun! (I am not worthy...)

Edit: the typo Doitsuyama noticed.

Edited by Manekineko

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Volume

sai - a) cub. shaku or 0.0278 cub. m

      b) (for precious wood) cilinder 1-2 kan long and with 1 sun diameter

This wasn't confusing, but rather very neat overview. I didn't understand the quoted part though. What is 1-2 kan long? Besides the fact that "1-2" is a bit uncharacteristic for a unit, what's a "kan" as it isn't in the list of length units?

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Volume

sai - a) cub. shaku or 0.0278 cub. m

Edited by Manekineko

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More exploration of the http://homepage2.nifty.com/NG/unit/ showed that bu-rin-mou sequence (common to bothe length and weight measures) mean literally 1/10, 1/100 and 1/1000, equivalent to SI deci-centi-milli sequence.

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More fun with "jou"...

Tatami, the straw mats that are used to cover floors in traditional Japanese rooms, are bigger in Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, etc.) than in Tokyo. There are actually three sizes of tatami in use in Japan today. Tatami in Kansai are known as Kyoma (the

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