TikToker Shows Unorthodox Method of Japanese Multiplication

An explanatory video on TikTok is making the rounds and is blowing people's minds.
Fabienne Lang
Japanese multiplication methodjesslouisec/TikTok

Learning multiplication tables as a kid was a nightmare. The trepidation of figuring out what numbers put together equate to while the teacher watches over you and the entire classroom sits in silence waiting for you to painfully come to a conclusion was horrifying — and still carries repercussions in our adult lives.

If only we'd all been using a Japanese multiplication method, many a child's school days would have been easier (and perhaps parents' too)! The colorful method of drawing lines and dots makes multiplications not only faster but more fun and simpler. 



We all have a preferred method of learning, for some, it's listening to new information and absorbing it mentally, while for others it's writing it down and having a clear visualization of the matter at hand, among other ways. 

The latter visualization method is exactly how this Japanese multiplication system works. It works best with multi-colored pens, but these aren't necessary. 


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Since the above TikTok video was posted online breaking down the system, people around the world have been in awe of it and wondering why this wasn't taught in more schools.

It literally breaks down multiplications to simple drawing and counting. And that's it! 

The TikTok video explains the system quickly and simply, as well as a YouTube video (posted below). 

To break it down: 

  1. You draw a set of parallel lines that represent the first digit of each number that has to be multiplied. 
  2. Then draw another set of parallel lines for the second digit of each number, perpendicular to the first set of lines.
  3. Add dots where each line intersects with another. 
  4. Next, draw a curved line on the left corner, as well as on the right one.
  5. Count the dots in the left corner, and then the ones on the right.
  6. Count the dots in the middle (not within either the right or the left lines).
  7. Then all that's left to do is write the numbers from left to right and you have your multiplication. There's no need for any mental adding or multiplying! 

That said, it does become a little more complicated the larger the numbers and the multiplications are. However, for your relatively simple multiplications, this will save you a lot of time and a lot of effort — for those who struggle with numbers and math in any case. 

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