Weights and Measures

With a few notable exceptions, the Japanese weights and measures are decimal. The most useful are :-

Distance.1 bu
1.4317 line
10 bu =1 suninch1.1931 inch.
10 sun =1 shakufoot11.9305 inches.
6 shaku=1 kendouble yard1.9884 yard.
10 shaku=1 10 feet3.3140 yards
60 ken =1 chō120 yards119.3040 "
36 chō =1 ri2⅟C;2 miles2.4403 miles.

It may be of practical service to remember that 15 chō make almost exactly 1 English mile. The English mile and chain (80 chains= 1 mile) are the measure employed on all railways throughout the empire, and the sea mile (English Admiralty "knot") obtains for maritime distances. Otherwise the ri and chō are universally employed. The hiro, or "fathom," of about 6 feet, is identical with the ken, except that it is used more loosely for measuring such things as rope and depths at sea.

ClothMeasure.1 sun inch 1.4913 inch.
10 sun =1 shakufoot14.9130 inches.
1 tan (piece) varies from 25 to 30 shaku.
1 hiki (double piece) = 2 tan.

Notice how much longer the inch and foot of Cloth Measure are than the measures of Distance similarly named. In order to distinguish the two kinds of foot, the Cloth Measure foot is often called kujira-jaku, the Distance foot kane-jaku. In cheap material the tan is apt to be short, in expensive stuffs long.

36 square shaku=1 bu =3.9538 square yards.
30 bu =1 se =119(about) " "
10 se =1 tan =0.2451 acre.
10 tan =1 chō =2.4507 acres.

This is how agricultural land is measured. Town lots and buildings go by tsubo only, whatever their size:-1 tsubo=1 bu. An English acre is nearly equivalent to 1,210 tsubo, or 4 tan and 10 bu. It may be useful to remember that the tsubo (bu) is exactly the size of two Japanese mats laid side by side. The area of rooms is computed in mats (), which are always 6 shaku long by 3 shaku broad.

10 shaku=1 ⅟C;3 pint.3176 pint.
10 =1 shō1⅟C;2 quart1.5881 quart.
10 shō =1 to4 gallons, or ⅟C;2 bushel3.9703 gallons. .4962 bushel.
4 to =1 hyō2 bushels1.9852 bushel.
10 to =1 koku40 gallons, or 5 bushels39.7033 gallons. 4.9629 bushels.

It was in koku-shall we translate it "bales?"-of rice that the incomes of Daimyōs and their retainers were formerly computed, while the rations of the lower grade of Samurai were computed in hyō or "bags." The hyō of charcoal is of indeterminate size, as is also the wa, or "bundle," of fire-wood.

10 =1 rin =.5797 grain avoirdupois
10 rin = 1fun =5.7972 grains "
10 fun =1 momme =2.12 drachms "
160 momme =1 kin (pound)=1.3227 lb. "
1,000 momme =1 kwan or kwamme=8.2817 lbs. "

It will be gathered from this table that the standard Japanese pound weight of 160 momme is approximately equivalent to 1 ⅟C;3 lb. avoirdupois. Some commodities, however-such foreign foodstuffs as bread and meat-have a somewhat smaller pound of 120 momme, which is almost exactly the English pound, while tobacco is retailed in still smaller pounds of but 100 momme (hyaku me).