Japanese/Arabic Numerals

Gyakuto

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Why do the Japanese use Arabic numerals in preference to standard Japanese numerals? I’ve noticed this more and more in various Youtube clips where artisans are making something.
E34F4871-C28C-49EB-A151-BD3B697538C0.jpeg


I understand them not using the older and more intricate ‘Koji’ number characters as they do in legal documents, but I’m bemused by the use of Arabic numerals in Japan!
 

GiveYourPaw

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Why do the Japanese use Arabic numerals in preference to standard Japanese numerals? I’ve noticed this more and more in various Youtube clips where artisans are making something.
View attachment 30129

I understand them not using the older and more intricate ‘Koji’ number characters as they do in legal documents, but I’m bemused by the use of Arabic numerals in Japan!
Maybe because it's faster ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

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Pretty sure this was a Meiji Restoration effort to adopt some upgrades from outside Japan, namely international numeral systems, a constitutuon, a parliamentary government, etc.
 

Oily Dragon

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And guns. Lots of guns.

I had an afterthought, by the late 1800s Japan was crawling with American and European firearms. So maybe that alone sped up the adoption of Arabic numerals.

Can't run an empire without lots of guns, and in the case of Japan nearing the 20th century, most of those were imports.
 
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That makes sense by why stop at numerals when instructions for western technology etc would likely be in English? I have heard there was a movement to adopt romanji in the Japanese lexicon.

The first guns arrived in Japan in 1543 with the aruebus from the Portugues.
 

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That makes sense by why stop at numerals when instructions for western technology etc would likely be in English? I have heard there was a movement to adopt romanji in the Japanese lexicon.

The first guns arrived in Japan in 1543 with the aruebus from the Portugues.
To build an empire you need lots and lots of guns, so they needed to wait for mass production imports to really rule the country. The samurai had rifles too, but were no match for imperial troops with boxes of rifles they were getting by the 1860s.

As far as getting rid of pictographs, we will see. They are archaic but very embedded culturally. Languages don't just suddenly change overnight, it can take centuries. Alphabets take thousands.

Though I did read somewhere that Japanese speakers have an easy time picking up written English because they are already so good at learning language related symbols, what's another 26? Not sure if true.
 

Hot Lunch

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Why do WE use "Arabic" numerals (not really, the image below is what Arabs use) instead of Roman numerals, when we use the Roman alphabet? I suppose we use them for the same reason that the Japanese use them.


Arab Numbers.jpg
 
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Gyakuto

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Why do WE use "Arabic" numerals (not really, the image below is what Arabs use) instead of Roman numerals, when we use the Roman alphabet? I suppose we use them for the same reason that the Japanese use them.


View attachment 30148
Arithmetic is very laborious using Roman numerals. The units/ten/hundred etc system we adopted make it much, much easier. Plus the Romans didn’t have the zero.

My friend did his PhD with Stephen Hawking…and is thus a maths wizard. During a work meeting, where he was always scribbling down equations and stuff, I leaned over and whispered, “You know the Hindus, my ancestors, invented the zero?” Without missing a beat he responded, “It’s a shame they did so little with it.” 😄😁😆😅
 

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Why do WE use "Arabic" numerals (not really, the image below is what Arabs use) instead of Roman numerals, when we use the Roman alphabet? I suppose we use them for the same reason that the Japanese use them.


View attachment 30148
Those are the Eastern Arabic numerals.

The (Western) Arabic Numerals are 0-9.

What gets used as a numeral system any specific place in Asia or Africa depends on context and local language.

Europe ended up with the Western Arabic system mostly because it was closer, and China because of Islamic nomads like the Hui that traveled the Silk Road.
 
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Hot Lunch

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My friend did his PhD with Stephen Hawking…and is thus a maths wizard. During a work meeting, where he was always scribbling down equations and stuff, I leaned over and whispered, “You know the Hindus, my ancestors, invented the zero?” Without missing a beat he responded, “It’s a shame they did so little with it.” 😄😁😆😅
According to this, the Sumerians and the Mayans beat your friend's ancestors to it:

 
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Gyakuto

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They’re known as ‘koji’ numerals. They were, and are, used on very formal legal/financial documents to prevent the addition of strokes to alter amounts and values. They only go up to ‘ten’, however, so beyond that they resort to the common nomenclature.
 

Oily Dragon

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They’re known as ‘koji’ numerals. They were, and are, used on very formal legal/financial documents to prevent the addition of strokes to alter amounts and values. They only go up to ‘ten’, however, so beyond that they resort to the common nomenclature.
Ok this is from the old Chinese system of "little" and "big" writing.

It's funny because it's still easy to turn a 1 into a 10.
 
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Gyakuto

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Ok this is from the old Chinese system of "little" and "big" writing.

It's funny because it's still easy to turn a 1 into a 10.
Yeah but you’d have to take the crystal off with the proper equipment and get silver paint and a tiny brush and then you’d have ‘ten, ten’ and it’d be confusing to tell the time etc. Why would you bother? 😉
 
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