In Japan, ? – 20th century, various traditional units. By law, all official use of these units was to be discontinued on 31 March 1966. (The metric system was officially adopted in 1924, but use of traditional units continued.)
尺 Two units of length:
When it is necessary to distinguish the two units, the unit for cloth is called kujirajaku and the other kanejaku. “Kane” means “metal,” so kanejaku is a metal shaku. “Kujira” means “whale” (hence kujirajaku is a “whale shaku”) because rulers for measuring cloth were made from whale whiskers. For other Japanese terms relating to measurements of cloth, see here.
Two units of area:
勺 A unit of dry or liquid capacity, 1/100th of a shō, since 1891 = 24010/1331 milliliters, about 18.039 milliliters (about 1.101 cubic inches).
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Last revised: 30 June 2008.