After the success of our Haiku workshop video, we’re back it again with our friends at The Japan Society giving some insight into Japanese culture but this time around the focus was the Soroban.

If you don’t know what a soroban (そろばん) is, it’s a Japanese abacus. Not every mathematics student learns the same, and the beauty of a soroban in comparison to other abacuses is that they reflect physically the way that you write numbers down on paper. 

That means for students who struggle with arithmetic having a physical teaching tool to help them visualise the way that maths work has been proven to be extremely helpful to explain theory — that’s kinetic learning if you’re fancy. 

The Japanese Society wanted us to create an educational video to showcase the benefits of using a Soroban in the classroom by filming a practical session example with real students. 

They could count on us.

The key for these types of projects is to go with a structure but keeps things flexible as we were trying to capture real-life experiences of students using the tool for the first time and be a fly on the wall as much as possible. So armed with a set of interview questions, we headed over to Richmond in London to sit on a session with Tomoko Hoult a soroban teacher and let her do her thing.

A large part of what makes a soroban a great teaching aid is how it breaks down maths in a new way that is fun for students, so it was essential we didn’t just focus on the tool and asked the kids what their experience was like and weave them between the perspectives given by the teacher’s which would more clearly showcase the soroban’s benefits.

When it came to the edit, we wanted to keep things natural with an upbeat feel so we warmed things up a bit in the grade coupled with a lighthearted track that would accentuate but not distract from the content of the video.

Easy as 1,2,3.

As always, working with Storm and Shelter has been a breeze and communication from all the team has been really good

Alys Turner, Education Projects Coordinator, The Japan Society


Matt Ashwell
Sam Irving
Liam Rees
Graphic Designer
Izzy Young
Sound Designer
Josh Bennett

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