3 Myriad year clock

Myriad year clock

Tanaka Hisashige's Myriad year clock, in the Tokyo National Science Museum.
The clock displays Japanese, equal hour, and calendar information.

The Myriad year clock (万年自鳴鐘 Mannen Jimeishou?, lit. Ten-Thousand Year Self-ringing Bell), was a universal clock designed by the Japanese inventor Hisashige Tanaka in 1851. It belongs to the category of Japanese clocks called Wadokei. This clock is designated as an Important Cultural Asset by Japanese government.

The clock is driven by a spring. Once it is fully wound, it can work for one year without another winding. It can show the time in 7 ways (such as usual time, the day of the week, month, moon phase, Japanese time, Solar term.) It also rings chimes every hour. It consists of more than 1,000 parts to realize these complex functions, and it is said that Tanaka made all the parts by himself with simple tools such as files and saws. It took more than 3 years for him to finish the assembly.

In 2004, a project funded by the Japanese government tried to make the copy of this clock. More than 100 engineers joined the project and it took more than 6 months with the latest industrial technologies. However, even then it was not possible to make exact copies of some parts, such as the brass metal plate used as its spring, before the presentation at Expo 2005. [1]

The original of the clock is displayed at Tokyo National Science Museum, while the copy is at Toshiba Corporation.

The clock, technologically comparable to contemporary Western clocks, was developed through a combination of Japanese knowhow and study of Western sciences ("Rangaku"), during Japan's seclusion period.[citation needed]

The clock is listed in Mechanical Engineering Heritage item No.22 in 2007.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Challenge of the Myriad Year Clock (万年時計の謎に挑む), TV program (in Japanese) broadcast on 23 April 2005, Japan Broadcasting Corp. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.

External links