Things Japanese/Weights and Measures
Weights and Measures. With a few notable exceptions, the Japanese weights and measures are decimal. The most useful are:—
|6||shaku ||=||1 ken ||double yard ||1.9984||yard.|
|10||shaku||=||1 jō||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|
|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.
|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 (jō), which are always 6 shaku long by 3 shaku broad.
|10||shaku||=||1 gō||⅓ pint||.3176||pint.|
|10||gō||=||1 shō||1½ quart||1.5881||quart.|
|10||shō||=||1 tō||4 gallons, or
|4||tō||=||1 hyō||2 bushels||1.9852||bushel|
|10||to||=||1 koku ||40 gallons,
or 5 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.
|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}.