YOKOTA, Shimane Pref. — The curator of this town’s abacus museum must have a sense of black humor to have included one of the first Sharp calculators in the display.

After all, Yokota’s economy was built on the “soroban” — or Japanese abacus — and production has been on a long tumble since the price of pocket electronic calculators began falling at the end of the 1970s.

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