Mathematical Association of Tokyo

The Mathematical Association of Tokyo

Japan had its own mathematical tradition of Wasan. This was Japanese mathematics until the middle of the 19th century. However, after the Meiji Restoration in 1868 a unified educational system emphasizing Western learning was established throughout Japan. In 1862 Western mathematics, and not Wasan, became an official subject in the new schools.

In 1877 the first Japanese learned society, the Tokyo Mathematical Society, was founded. At the first meeting of the Society the importance of mathematics from the West (in contrast to Wasan) was put forward and the Society proposed to devote its efforts to promote Western mathematics. Certainly this policy was far from universally accepted and supporters of Wasan founded their own Society in 1887 which they named the Mathematical Association of Tokyo.

It was Tomochika Kawakita, a Wasan mathematician dissatisfied with the direction of the Tokyo Mathematical Society, who led the attempts to found a new society which would devote itself to Wasan mathematics. In 1887 the Mathematical Association of Tokyo was founded and it published their own journal, the Journal of the Mathematical Association of Tokyo.


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JOC/EFR August 2004 School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland
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