Akira Haraguchi (原口 證 Haraguchi Akira?) (born 1946), a retired Japanese engineer, currently working as a mental health counsellor and business consultant in Mobara City, is known for memorizing and reciting digits of pi.
He set the current world record (100,000 digits) in 16 hours, starting at 9 a.m (16:28 GMT) on October 3, 2006 and having recited up to 83,431 digits by nightfall, stopping with digit number 100,000 at 1:28 a.m. on October 4, 2006. The event was filmed in a public hall in Kisarazu, east of Tokyo, where he had five-minute breaks every two hours to eat Onigiri to keep up his energy levels. Even his trips to the toilet were filmed to prove that the exercise was legitimate. Haraguchi's previous world record (83,431), was performed from July 1, 2005 to July 2, 2005.
Despite Haraguchi's efforts and detailed documentation, the Guinness World Records have not yet accepted any of his records set. The Guinness-recognized record for remembered digits of π is 67,890 digits, held by Lu Chao, a 24-year-old graduate student from China. It took him 24 hours and 4 minutes to recite to the 67,890th decimal place of π without an error.
Haraguchi views the memorization of pi as "the religion of the universe", and as an expression of his lifelong quest for eternal truth.
Haraguchi's mnemonic system
Haraguchi uses a system he developed, which assigns kana symbols to numbers, allowing for the memorization of Pi as a collection of stories.
0 => can be substituted by o, ra, ri, ru, re, ro, wo, on or oh;
1 => can be substituted by a, i, u, e, hi, bi, pi, an, ah, hy, hyan, bya or byan;
The same is done for each number from 2 through 9.