Popular shorthand in the Edo period. The use of this symbol for the verb suffix ます(masu) became less common during the 20th century. Now with the advent of IME software and texting on mobile phones, use of this symbol is increasing once again. It is now garnering increasing application in replacing ます elsewhere as well, such as in ますます(masumasu).
(Japanese ligatures and scribal abbreviations) 乄(shime), 𪜈(tomo), ゟ(yori), ヿ(koto), 𬼀(shite), 〼(masu), ヶ(“graphical abbreviation for 箇”), 々(“iteration mark”), ゝ(“iteration mark for hiragana”), ヽ(“iteration mark for katakana”)