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

(Approximate
Equivalent)
(Exact
Equivalent)
Distance. 1 bu line 1.4317 line.
10 bu = 1 sun inch 1.1931 inch.
10 sun = 1 shaku foot 11.9305 inches
6 shaku = 1 ken double yard 1.9984 yard.
10 shaku = 1 10 feet 3.3140 yards
60 ken = 1 chō 120 yards 119.3040 "
36 chō = 1 ri 2½ miles 2.4403 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.

Cloth Measure. 1 sun inch 1.4913 inch
10 sun = 1 shaku foot 14.9130 inches
1 tan (piece) varies from 24 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.

Superficies.
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.

Capacity. (Approx.
Equiv.)
(Exact.
Equiv.)
10 shaku = 1 ⅓ pint .3176 pint.
10 = 1 shō 1½ quart 1.5881 quart.
10 shō = 1 4 gallons, or
½ bushel
3.9703
.4962
gallons.
bushel.
4 = 1 hyō 2 bushels 1.9852 bushel
10 to = 1 koku 40 gallons,
or 5 bushels
39.7033
4.9629
gallons.
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 hyo or "bags." The hyō of charcoal is of indeterminate size, as is also the wa, or "bundle," of fire-wood.

Weight.
10 = 1 rin = .5797 grain avoirdupois
10 rin = 1 fun = 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 1⅓ lb. avoirdupois. Some commodities, however—such foreign food stuffs 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}.