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ARC-iJAC Activities

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The Art Research Center (ARC) is delighted to announce the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Research Center for Area Studies, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (P2W-LIPI).

A Framework for Collaborative Projects in Digital Humanities

The new MoU builds upon our first MoU signed with LIPI for four years in 2017 and marks a continuation of the successful and fruitful collaboration of both institutions thus far.

The MoU provides a stable framework to advance our collaborative projects in digital humanities, including the research and archival projects on Borobudur Temple, Liyangang site, and Punjulharjo site in Indonesia.

Furthermore, the MoU supports the organization of joint symposia, seminars, and conferences, as well as the exchange of scientists and scientific materials pertaining to our collaborative projects.

Project Spotlight: Digital Archiving of Borobudur Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage

1_borobudur_07.jpegOn the ARC side, Professor Satoshi Tanaka (College of Information Science and Engineering) has been leading the digital archiving project of Borobudur Temple that encompasses the ultra-high-quality 3D see-through visualization of this large-scale UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"Since we are the first foreign scientist team to conduct a 3D scanning of this vast archaeological site, it is a significant international joint research project for the Art Research Center," says Professor Tanaka.

He plans to create a next-generation, ultra-high-definition virtual reality tour of the temple compounds that will be made available on the internet and in local community centers in Indonesia, and a dynamical time-series visualization of the temple's building process.

Interview with Professor Satoshi Tanaka on Visualizing Large-Scale Cultural Heritage: https://www.arc.ritsumei.ac.jp/e/news/pc/007293.html

The crowdfunding initiative of Shochiku Otani Library in Tokyo that Professor Ryo Akama--Deputy Director of the Art Research Center--has been supporting in its digital-archiving activities was featured in the Tokyo Shimbun on October 17, 2021.

The article introduces the 10th anniversary of the crowdfunding initiative that aims at digitizing and making online available severely damaged materials in the library collection.

Nearly half of the donations for the crowdfunding initiative have been made by repeated users, and the number of young users who came to know about the library through crowdfunding has steadily increased.

yano_keiji_profile.jpgThe Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University, is delighted to announce the release of the 'Surname Map'--a research project led by Professor Keiji Yano (College of Letters), Deputy Director of the ARC.

Project Background

Until the end of the Edo period, Japanese surnames had exclusively been granted to the emperor, nobility, and samurais. Following the Meiji Restoration and the enactment of the family registration law in the early Meiji period, farmers and other commoners also began to adopt surnames.

With more than 100,000 different surnames, Japan is not only characterized by great diversity in surnames but also regional variations in their distribution.

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Based on big data of about 40 million surnames from Japanese telephone directories and large-scale residential maps, the Surname Map visualizes the contemporary spatial distribution of surnames across all prefectures in Japan.

This research began in 2005 when Professor Yano, then a visiting researcher at University College London (UCL), joined Professor Paul Longley's research project on surnames around the world at the Department of Geography, UCL.

Professor Longley had mapped surnames from the UK's 1881 Census of Individual Voters and the 1998 Electoral Roll to analyze the movement of surnames over more than a hundred years.

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In the UK, a country with an ethnically diverse population, he measured ethnic residential segregation by inferring ethnic origins from surnames.

For the project of Professor Longley to create a world map of surnames, Professor Yano provided the Japanese surnames.

Features of the Surname Map

The interactive map provides users with valuable insights into the geographic distribution of their individual surnames in a simple and illustrative manner.

Firstly, the map displays the frequency of a surname in absolute numbers (人数) and ranking according to prefectures.

Secondly, the map shows the relative degree of accumulation, i.e., how evenly a surname is distributed throughout the country, with the specialization coefficient (特化係数).

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An option is available to display the absolute numbers and specialization coefficient on two maps side by side.

Furthermore, the distribution trends of two surnames can be compared side by side.

Explore Regional Variations

The map enables users to explore and identify the geographic concentration and regional clusters of surnames.

For instance, the map reveals that some surnames are particularly unique to a region, such as 'Ganaha' (我那覇) in Okinawa.

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In the case of Okinawa, the heavy concentration of 'Ganaha' (我那覇) has been considered a result of the relative isolation of the Ryukyu Islands that has led to minimal surname exchange with mainland Japan, whereas there are different reasons for other localities, such as government policy implications on the settlement of Hokkaido.

Current & Future Research Endeavors

Professor Yano's Surname Map builds on the growing interest in the regional analysis of surnames in Japan and other parts of the world.

As in the UK, there exists no exhaustive historical surname data for the whole country in Japan. For Kyoto, however, a database has been created as part of the Virtual Kyoto Project--another project led by Professor Yano. He is working on establishing links within this data that comprise name data from land registry maps from the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912), telephone directories, and the names of people in commerce and industry during the Taisho period (1912-1926).

Other projects include an investigation in the hometowns of the Tonden soldiers (屯田兵) and migration flows of their descendants, identifying the hometowns of Nikkei (日系人) who emigrated from Japan, as well as a study of population movements in local areas of Japan over the past fifteen years, linking them to the census data at town and village levels.

Finally, Professor Yano is pursuing the possibility of digital humanities research on surnames, including the relationship between surnames and the name of places.

<Access the Surname Map>

<Access the UK project 'Named by PublicProfiler' of University College London (UCL)>

The Surname Map has been created by Ritsumeikan University in cooperation with Acton Winds Co., Ltd.

Further reading:

1. Cheshire, J.A., Longley, P.A., Yano, K. and Nakaya, T. (2014), Japanese surname regions. Pap Reg Sci, 93: 539-555. https://doi.org/10.1111/pirs.12002

2. Longley, P.A., Singleton, A. D., Yano, K. & Nakaya. T. (2010), Lost in Translation: Cross-Cultural Experiences in Teaching Geo-Genealogy. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 34:1, 21-38. DOI: 10.1080/03098260902982476

3. Yano, K. (2007), GIS based Japanese family name maps and their potential in Geographic Information Science. Jinmoncom 2007, 47-54. (in Japanese with English abstract): http://id.nii.ac.jp/1001/00100574/

Project Overview:
At the center of this project, which involved Bachelor and Master students of Japanology at Goethe University Frankfurt, was the On Edo ezu (御江戸絵図) from the ARC database 'Maps of Japan from the Collection of Sir Hugh and Lady Cortazzi'.
Drawing on maps, guidebooks, and colored woodblock prints, this project attempted to correlate various sources of both geographical and visual experience and knowledge to hypothetically reconstruct how they might have shaped the late Edo period consumer's consciousness based on the materials accessible to them.
Click here to access the project website.

MKfotosw.jpgProfessor Kinski, thank you very much for your time. As the leader of the FY2020 ARC-iJAC project 'Edo Period Map goes Digital - The On Edo ezu as an Interactive Resource', could you tell us about your motivation to start this project?

Prof. Kinski: I began to develop a strong interest in Digital Humanities (DH) in 2012 when I saw a presentation by Bettina Gramlich-Oka--a colleague at Sophia University--about creating an interactive biographic database as part of her interest in social network analysis.

Striving to incorporate text mining, topic modeling, or semantic network analysis in my approach to Edo period intellectual history, I have been making efforts to raise the interest amongst students in the approaches towards Japanese sources derived from DH.

Frankfurt University owns a small collection of printed books covering the period between 1650 and 1850, our 'Edo bunko' which we use for exercises in the classroom to decipher and transcribe larger quantities of text.

A talented student of mine, Koray Birenheide, created a program called 'DemiScript' that allows us to work with source material--whether premodern, modern, textual or visual--and to present the results of our transcription efforts. A far more advanced tool than expected, I was convinced it could serve as a platform for a larger, more ambitious classroom project.

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The ARC-iJAC provided a timely opportunity to put our plan into action by drawing on the materials in the ARC databases and combining the first-hand exploration of primary sources with concerns from urban infrastructure history and art history.

So, the purpose of your project was largely educational?

Prof. Kinski: Yes, our project was not devised as a research project as such. Its paramount aim was to bring students into contact with primary source materials.

Most project participants neither had training in 'classical' Japanese, such as kobun classes (古文), nor Edo period Japanese or had encountered Edo-period script and what often is called 'hentaigana'.

Furthermore, I wanted to provide students with an outline of Edo-period urbanity, urban infrastructure, the representation of geography in the context of a 2D map, and the solutions chosen by the editors for this purpose.

A secondary effect of this project was the in-depth study of the On Edo ezu in a language other than Japanese and the correlation between the map and Hiroshige's ukiyo-e prints--two media available in the Tenpō period to find spatial and temporal orientation.

The students identified and linked Hiroshige's choice in scenic spots and famous places to their counterpart sites on the map. This way, we could verify the exactitude of both the map and the prints and get an idea of what kind of materials were available for Edo-period inhabitants and travelers to find their way around.

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How do you feel about the execution of the project, and what kind of feedback did you get from your students?

Prof. Kinski: At first, I naively thought that integrating questions and methods derived from DH would meet with a positive echo amongst students. However, despite the ubiquitous talk about living in the digital age, most of them did not immediately share my enthusiasm for DH in studying Edo Japan.

The On Edo ezu project served to overcome these reservations towards using computer-based approaches to explore Edo Japan and strengthen their intrinsic motivation to learn about Japan's past rather than contemporary Japan.

And indeed, this project turned out to provide fun, insight, and the feeling of exploration and discovery for most of my students. Organized in small groups working on a well-defined target independently, they have expressed in their end-term evaluation that this was a new and satisfying experience learning about premodern Japan.

I hope that the project has also encouraged them to find an individual creative niche for themselves and their study interests in the future.

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How did you connect with the ARC-iJAC?

Prof. Kinski: My original interests lie in the Edo-period intellectual and cultural history. Although my connection to Ritsumeikan University goes back to 1990, I only became fully aware of the ARC when I got invited by Andrew Gerstle (SOAS) to join his ARC-iJAC project Cultural Salons and Visual Arts in Kyoto and Osaka, 1750--1900.

This project encompassed the idea of exploring 'networks', and I was investigating Kaiho Seiryô (1755-1817) and his social network as part of this.

The project was the starting shot for what I considered a major discovery for me. Besides providing me the opportunity to explore Seiryô as a bunjin (文人) who was active in salons in Kyoto around 1810 and made the acquaintance of other bunjin painters, it also gave me a chance to see some of the works of Seiryô in private collections.

I am grateful to Ryo Akama, Andrew Gerstle as well as the ARC resources that have allowed me to pursue my interest in Seiryô as a bunjin and to set his works and endeavors in perspective.

Concluding this interview, is there anything else you would like to comment on?

Prof. Kinski: I hope that such research endeavors as pursued by the ARC and ARC-iJAC can continue in the future without the worry of financial resources. Bringing people together in international, interdisciplinary projects like this is of utmost importance.

Click here to access the project website.

[イベント情報]
August 17, 2021(Tue)

相撲デジタル研究所

The Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University, is pleased to announce the launch of the Sumo Digital Institute within the ARC Virtual Institute, along with the release of the online database of the Teiji Kojima Collection--a treasure trove of sumo banzuke and old sumo documents.

The ARC has been working to create a digital archive of materials related to the history of sumo collected by the late Teiji Kojima, a renowned scholar of sumo history. Along with the release of his collection in June, we decided to publish the results of our research in sumo history under the Sumo Digital Institute.

The Teiji Kojima Collection consists of approximately 1,000 paper documents and dozens of volumes of old sumo-related materials, mainly sumo banzuke, covering a total of 264 years from 1742 (mid-Edo period) to 2006. These digital images are now accessible online at any time.

In addition to browsing the digitized materials, the Sumo Digital Institute offers an online exhibition. It is an attempt to bring to light the many facets of Edo-period kanjin-zumo tournaments by picking up sumo-related articles from the Bukō nenpyō--a compilation of Edo-period events in chronological order--and linking them to sumo banzuke related to the events from the Teiji Kojima Collection, ukiyo-e prints in the Ukiyo-e Database, and materials from the Early Japanese Books Database.

We hope that this online exhibition will encourage people to take an interest in the world of kanjin-zumo that is very different from today.

The exhibition not only links to the Kojima Collection but also to sumo paintings in the Japanese Collection of the Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden, available in the ARC Virtual Institute.

The ukiyo-e paintings that traveled to the Netherlands as soon as they were published are beautiful and well-preserved, retaining their original colors. We hope you enjoy them.

The Sumo Digital Institute strives to collect a wide range of visual data and literary materials about sumo from the Edo period to the modern era and make them available to the public through a digital archive. We hope to raise the public's interest in sumo by releasing these rare sumo materials. [Person in charge: Nozomu Ataka]

大阪府立中之島図書館所蔵、「朝日新聞」文庫の芝居番付

The Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University, is pleased to announce the release of the Asahi Shimbun Collection of Shibai Banzuke (Kabuki Playbills), held by the Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library, in our Shibai Banzuke (Kabuki Playbills) Portal Database.

Since the Edo Period, flyers, posters, and programs of kabuki and jōruri plays have provided detailed information about actors, names of the cast, and the content of those plays at that time.

The materials, originally cataloged in the Asahi Shimbun bunko mokuroku (「朝日新聞」文庫目録), were published by the Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library in March 1970. With the permission of the library, the Art Research Center has digitized the materials and re-examined the catalog data, making the images online available through the ARC Shibai Banzuke Database System.

By the end of 2017, the ARC had released around 700 un-cataloged items from the library. This time, we added 1,443 banzuke, bringing the total number of items available in our online database to 2,129.

You can either access these materials from the Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library's website under 'Various Catalogs and Databases' or the ARC Shibai Banzuke Portal Database by selecting the holding institution 'Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library'.

Our Shibai Banzuke Portal Database also comprises banzuke held by other institutions, thus allowing you to browse and compare to find supplementary information.

Furthermore, the Shibai Banzuke Catalog of the Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library, published in October 1968, contains approximately 2,500 items other than the above, which will be digitized in our third project next year. We hope to complete a large-scale database with almost 4,600 items within three years.

[イベント情報]
August 2, 2021(Mon)

The ARC Days were held on July 30 (Fri) & 31 (Sat), 2021. It is an annual event where the faculty members of the Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University, and international collaborative researchers whose projects have been adopted by the International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC) introduce their research projects in Digital Humanities (DH) in individual presentations.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, this event was held online via Zoom and broadcasted live on YouTube.

Organizer: International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC), Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University and Program for Supporting Research Center Formation, Ritsumeikan University

Read more>>

Daan  Kok-copy.jpgDr. Kok, thank you very much for your time today. As Curator East Asia, you have been at the forefront of this joint research project with the ARC to digitize the extensive Japanese art collection of Museum Volkenkunde, part of the National Museum of World Cultures.

What sparked your interest in Japanese art and culture?

Dr. Kok: In high school, I once received a book about Japanese design. It raised my interest to apply at a design academy. Not admitted on my first attempt, I began to study Japanese and enjoyed it so much that I never stopped.

During my studies at Leiden University, I became particularly fond of the kyōka surimono of the 1820s.

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How do you feel about the overall collaboration with the ARC?

Dr. Kok: I am very thankful for our collaboration. The first contact between our museum and the ARC was already established more than ten years ago. During Professor Akama's visits, we would conduct photography together using the 'portable travel kit' he developed to digitize art collections abroad.

The execution of our joint project has never been stagnant, but you can see a continuous improvement year after year. It has also been a valuable learning experience for me to see the mechanisms Professor Akama uses to increase the quality of digitizing artworks.

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What is the significance of constructing and releasing this database in the ARC Virtual Institute?

Dr. Kok: We need to ensure comprehensive access for researchers to our collection.

Now that we have constructed and interlinked the ARC database with our museum database, the availability of our collection of printed materials to a Japanese-speaking audience is of great significance.

Furthermore, we appreciate the ARC's digital infrastructure for not only searching but also editing the database. The interactivity of the ARC database allows Japanese-speaking researchers to contribute to the database, paving the way for future research.

While our museum database is a more general database for a wide range of objects, the ARC database has a high level of specialization to cater to the specific needs of research in Japanese art and culture, such as ukiyo-e prints and early Japanese books.

Could you tell us a little more about the Japanese collection at Museum Volkenkunde?

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Dr. Kok: The core of the museum's Japanese collection is made up of the collections of Philipp Franz von Siebold, Jan Cock Blomhoff and J.G.F. van Overmeer Fischer.

They were the main collectors in the 1820s--a period of Japan's sakoku (closed country) policy. After they purchased the artworks during their court journeys to the shōgun in Edo, the items came to the Netherlands almost in a straight line and never circulated among other collectors.

Since we know when they made these court journeys to Edo, we have obtained a good overview of what was available during that period and what was of interest to the collectors. The time of purchase also allows us to calculate how much or how little time there was between a kabuki play and the kabuki poster's availability on the market, for instance.

Furthermore, the existence of multiple copies of the same prints makes them suitable for comparative research.

Is there anything that fascinates you about this collection in particular?

Dr. Kok: It is particularly noteworthy that some of the prints are in a quite unique condition. Their colors convey the impression as if they were made just yesterday. Hence, these prints serve as a valuable reference of how prints may have looked originally.

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However, due to their exceptional quality, the museum decided that a limited number would not be permitted to go on loan. Therefore, it is even more important they are available to the broad public in digital form through our database.

Could you tell us about your plans or future project goals?

Dr. Kok: I hope to continue to work with the ARC on digitization projects.

While Volkenkunde has the largest Japanese collection, there are interesting Japanese objects at other museums in our organization, mainly the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam) and Wereldmuseum (Rotterdam), which the ARC has not digitized yet.

Since these Japan collections are not well-known, compared to that of Museum Volkenkunde, it is all the more important that they become available to a Japanese-speaking audience as well. So, we should strive to ensure that links are well established.

Furthermore, with the advance of technology, AI image recognition may provide opportunities to recognize drawings and sketches and match them to certain prints and book illustrations published by Kuniyoshi, Kyōsai, or Hokusai. I also hope to work together with the ARC on this area in the future.

→ Access the database of the Japan Collection at Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden

giondm21.JPGIn cooperation with the College of Letters, the International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC), Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University is delighted to announce the launch of the Gion Festival Digital Museum 2021--Enjoy the Gion Festival Virtually--.

The site is a renewal of the Gion Festival Digital Museum 2020 ~The Past, Present, and Future of the Gion Festival~ which was released last year.

This year, the Gion Festival has unfortunately been affected again by the global pandemic, leading to the cancellation of many events, including the Yama-hoko Junko.

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In response to this, we have launched the Gion Festival Digital Museum 2021 where visitors can experience the charm and history of the Gion Festival online.

<<Gion Festival Digital Museum 2021>>

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Highlights of the new contents:

1. 2D and 3D maps of virtual Kyoto by ArcGIS Online 

2. High-resolution images of hanging scrolls, Gion bayashi, and virtual festival parades

3. App Virtual Historical City Kyoto AR (iOS and Android)

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TV coverage:

An interview with Prof. Keiji Yano (ARC Deputy Director) on the Gion Festival Digital Museum 2021 has been broadcasted by NHK Kyoto ニュース630京いちにち on July 16 (Fri), 2021.

→ Watch the video below.

The ARC is dedicated to research, analyze, record, organize, preserve and disseminate the tangibles and intangibles of Japanese cultural heritage. By digital archiving traditional events such as the Gion Festival and making them available to the broad public, the center strives to retain their significance for future generations.

imageedit_6_5663237401.jpgBackground

In anticipation of the return of the Takayama float to the Gion Festival in 2022, a symposium was held by Asahi Shimbun, co-organized by the Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University, on June 19, 2021.

The Takayama float boasts a long history of participating in the Yamahoko Junko parade that dates back to the 15th century. However, the float has been absent from the festival since 1826, having suffered from heavy damages caused by natural disasters.

As a result of the continued dedication and determination of the Takayama Preservation Association to revive the Takayama float, the long-cherished wish of the townspeople for the float to return to the Yamahoko Junko after nearly 200 years will finally come true.

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The Symposium

At the beginning of the symposium, Mr. Junji Yamada, Head of the Takayama Preservation Association, gave an overview of the reconstruction progress of the float and expressed his joy that it is due to be completed four years earlier than expected.

Then, Prof. Keiji Yano, Deputy Director of the ARC, introduced the center's various activities concerning the digital archiving of the Gion Festival and the Takayama float (→ Gion Festival Digital Museum 2020 and 2021).

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He presented CG animation of the rebuilt Takayama float, 2D and 3D maps of festival routes, old videos and photographs from the early Showa era, and 3D see-through visualization models of the festival floats, amongst others.

"As we did last year, the Art Research Center will be making its research results available to the public again from July this year through the Gion Festival Digital Museum 2021, so please look forward to it," expressed Prof. Yano.

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Other distinguished guest speakers included Prof. Shoichi Inoue, Director of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies; Mr. Takashi Minamoto, film director and screenwriter; and Ms. Rieko Morita, Nihonga painter and Affiliate Professor at the Kyoto City University of Arts, with each of them sharing stories about his/her connection with the Gion Festival and the Takayama float.

Concluding the symposium, the hayashikata (Gion Festival musicians) of the Takayama Preservation Association performed ohayashi specific to the float.

Anticipation

"Ever since I was a kid, I have seen the festival floats passing by, accompanied by the creaking of wheels while I stood on the roadside listening to the ohayashi," Mr. Yamada reminisced. "None of us has ever experienced playing the ohayashi on the Takayama float during the festival, so we are all more than excited."

*A full video of the event is available online from July 1 - August 31, 2021 (in Japanese). To watch the video, please register via the following link: https://ciy.digital.asahi.com/ciy/11004163.

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