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Innovator of Math Studies Dies

July 27, 1995

TOKYO (AP) _ Toru Kumon, whose system for learning mathematics spread from his son to his neighbors and then to the nation, has died. He was 86.

Kumon died Tuesday of a acute breathing difficulties, his Kumon Institute of Education said today. It did not elaborate.

Kumon was a high school math teacher in 1954 when he invented a study method to help his son Takeshi, a second-grade pupil who was poor in math.

Takeshi progressed rapidly using the method, which emphasizes intense drill and repetition aimed at building both speed and accuracy.

The institute was set up in 1958, said Akio Ogata, a spokesman for the institute. The number of people now learning by the Kumon method is 1.64 million in Japan and 540,000 abroad, including 70,000 in the United States, he said.

Kumon is survived by his wife and three children.