Towards the end of the Edo period (1600-1868), a carpenter living in Shimane Prefecture obtained an abacus from Hiroshima made by a specialist and made a very good one using locally sourced oak, Japanese apricot and a smoked form of bamboo called susudake. Later on after two men from the district of Yokota-cho, Takahashi Tsunesaku and Murakami Asakichi, perfected a hand lathe for making the beads, production increased remarkably quickly and the foundation of today's small craft industry was established. The abacus made here are of the very best quality and the name Unshu is synonymous with the abacus.
One of the most important elements of an abacus is the beads. They should move freely and should produce a clear click as they strike the frame or another bead. Because much attention is given to the way that the bamboo shafts and the hole passing through the beads is finished, it is a particular feature of these abacus that the more they are used the better they become. There are now 4 government recognized Master Craftsmen among the 285 people employed by the 18 firms still in the business.
- Unshu Abacus Association
- Oaza Yokota, Yokota-cho,
Nita-gun, Shimane Prefecture
Website : http://fish.miracle.ne.jp/us88/