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On June 10, 2021, the ARC-iJAC-funded research project of Professor Eriko Hata (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shizuoka Eiwa Gakuin University) on the primary sources related to the legend of Urashima in the collection of Itoi Bunko Library in Maizuru City was featured in the evening edition of the Kyoto Shimbun.

The article reported on a different and unexpected turn from the commonly known story on the legend of Urashima Taro from the Edo period that is introduced in an easy-to-understand way by Prof. Hata's research group investigating the Itoi Bunko Library in Maizuru.

IMG_0762_1.JPGThe Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University, held a Joint Digital Archiving Technical Workshop with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) and the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, on Digitizing Hanging Scrolls.

The first of a bilingual video series, this workshop served as a prototype for providing cross-cultural online training to young researchers in various skills and methods of digital-archiving Japanese artworks while promoting research exchange between Japan and the UK.

Via a live stream, Professor Ryo Akama, College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University, explained step-by-step how to master the skill of digital archiving with Japanese hanging scrolls as a practical example.

IMG_0805_1.JPGFrom the set-up of the shooting location and adjusting the lighting to advising on handling the artworks, taking photographs effectively, and recommending various equipment and accessories, Professor Akama led through the entire process of digital-archiving hanging scrolls, followed by a Q&A session.

While Japanese graduate students at the venue obtained hands-on experience in executing a digital archiving project independently, the photographs taken were shared immediately with the UK counterparts to discuss the quality and accuracy of the results under the guidance of Professor Akama.

In line with the ARC's mission to disseminate know-how in digital-archiving Japanese art collections worldwide, the workshop video will serve as an educational resource and reference material for future digitization projects.

This project is funded by the International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC) and is part of SISJAC's Digital Japan Project.

SISJAC's report of the workshop→

*Please note that this was a non-public event.

On June 5, 2021, the research project on old colour photographs of Kyoto during the occupation period by Associate Professor and ARC member Naomi Kawasumi (College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University) was featured in the newspaper Kyoto Shimbun.

The article introduced how Prof. Kawasumi, a researcher in the field of Digital Humanities (DH), has deciphered colour photographs from the occupation period using overlay maps, which allow to see what buildings and houses were like before and after the war by overlaying old maps on current ones.

The article includes a photo of the Kyoto Hotel from about 70 years ago and a photo taken by US military in 1948 from near the west side of the Sanjo Bridge.

The 86th International ARC Seminar will be held as a Webinar on Wednesday, June 2, starting at 18:00 JST.

The program is as follows:

Museum management: Providing services by utilizing resources (「博物館経営に係る経営資源とサービスとの連関」)

Speaker: Yoshiyuki SENKAI (Executive Board Member and Director, Itsuō Art Museum; Ichizo Kobayashi Memorial Museum; and Ikeda Bunko, Hankyu Culture Foundation)

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Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2021 18:00 - 19:30 JST

Participation: online, free of charge (no reservation required)

*This Webinar is open to everyone, and non-ARC members are also invited to participate via YouTube.

edited4.pngThe 2nd Ritsumeikan University - Tsinghua University International Academic Symposium on Saturday, May 22, 2021, focused on Japan-China Cultural Exchange and New Coordinates for the Humanities.

The symposium was jointly organized by the School of Humanities, Tsinghua University, China, and the International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC), Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University, supported by the Program for Asia-Japan Research Development Research on Creation and Development of Asian Arts Studies, Ritsumeikan University.

In his opening remarks, Professor Yoshio Nakatani--Chancellor of the Ritsumeikan Trust--stressed that the symposium was an excellent opportunity to promote research, academic exchange, and friendship with Tsinghua University and Chinese scholars.

Furthermore, Professor Yuping Ni--Associate Dean of the School of Humanities, Tsinghua University--expressed his hope to deepen the partnership and comprehensive cooperation between both universities, emphasizing the significance of humanities, besides natural sciences, in times of crisis and complex challenges such as the global pandemic.

During the symposium, research teams of both universities presented their perspectives and research activities in digital humanities.


Professor Takaaki Kaneko introduced the ARC Model of Digital Archiving, the center's representative databases, and how its online research environment facilitates born-digital style research.

He also explained powerful tools developed by the ARC to aid digital humanities research, such as the educational transcription system with an AI-enabled deciphering support function for the Japanese cursive script known as kuzushiji.

Furthermore, Professor Keiji Yano introduced the construction of a WebGIS-based portal database of maps and a system to compare Rakuchū rakugai-zu byobu--folding screen paintings of scenes in and around Kyoto--with maps of the present and the past.

edited6.pngConcluding the symposium, Professor Koichi Hosoi--Director of the Art Research Center--expressed his anticipation for the birth of new international joint research styles on diverse topics fueled by digital technology as both universities join efforts in digital humanities research.

Many people from Tsinghua University, Ritsumeikan University, and other universities and research institutions attended the symposium and engaged in lively discussions.

"I am very impressed that so many people are studying Japanese culture through databases and digital archives," commented Chancellor Nakatani on attending the symposium and expressed his anticipation for many new research findings to emerge from these archives.

edited1.jpgProfessor Takahiro Nishibayashi, who led the planning and organization of the symposium, expressed his gratitude to all the speakers, participants, and staff involved. "Taking the humanities as a starting point, I strongly hope that research exchange between both universities will be further deepened and involve other fields such as digital humanities," said Professor Nishibayashi.

The second joint academic symposium marked a meaningful occasion to reinforce the collaboration between both universities while highlighting the advance in humanities research on both sides with the progress in digital technology.

We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with Tsinghua University by expanding the scope of our research exchange to other research fields in the future.

*To prevent the spread of COVID-19, this event was held online via Zoom.

The 85th International ARC Seminar will be held as a Webinar on Wednesday, May 26, starting at 18:00 JST.

The program is as follows:

1. Reorganization of the Nagae Family's Former Collection and its Future Prospect (「長江家旧蔵資料の再整理と今後の展望」)

Speaker: Hirotaka SATO (Assistant Professor, College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University)

2. A Yet Another Trial to Apply Deep Learning Technologies to the Digitized Images of the Databases of the Art Research Center Owned Materials (「アート・リサーチセンター所蔵資料データベースのデジタル化された画像に深層学習技術を適用する取り組み」)

Speaker: Biligsaikhan BATJARGAL (Senior Researcher, Kinugasa Research Organization, Ritsumeikan University)

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Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 18:00 - 19:30 JST

Participation: Online via Zoom (free of charge)

*Please note that only the first part of this webinar will be broadcasted via YouTube.

第二回 立命館大学-清華大学 国際学術シンポジウム   第二回 立命館大学-清華大学 国際学術シンポジウム

第二届 立命馆大学-清华大学国际学术研讨会   第二届 立命馆大学-清华大学国际学术研讨会

The Art Research Center (ARC) is pleased to announce that the 2nd Ritsumeikan University - Tsinghua University International Academic Symposium on Japan-China Cultural Exchange and New Coordinates for Humanities will be held on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Date and time: May 22 (Saturday), 2021 14:00 - 18:20

Format: Online via Zoom (with simultaneous interpretation in Japanese and Chinese)


School of Humanities, Tsinghua University

Graduate School of Letters, Ritsumeikan University

International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC), Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University

Supported by: Program for Asia-Japan Research Development "Research on Creation and Development of Asian Arts Studies", Ritsumeikan University

Participation: Free of charge

How to register: Please send us an e-mail with the subject line "「【申込】清華大学・立命館大学国際学術シンポジウム」" and your name, affiliation and e-mail address to:

We will send you the link for Zoom after we receive your application.

For inquiries, please contact:

Art Research Center, Kinugasa Campus, Ritsumeikan University.

Tel: 075-465-8476 (Mon-Fri 9:00-17:30)

Read more>>

Accredited by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) as the International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC) in 2019, the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan University is a leading hub for international joint research in Japanese art and culture with a focus on Digital Humanities.

As part of the ARC-iJAC research support activities, we are pleased to announce that we are going to hold a workshop and training course on deciphering early Japanese books written in Japanese cursive script (kuzushiji) using the ARC's Early Japanese Book Portal Database and transcription system, as well as to support projects aiming at deciphering early Japanese books.

The training course will be divided into the first and the second semester. The first semester will be focusing on basic knowledge of transcription and how to use the system, to enable students to obtain reading skills to some extent.

In the second semester, students at beginner and intermediate levels will transcribe literary works of their choice. Experienced staff will check the transcribed text and provide guidance through the system.

Furthermore, if you would like to use the transcription system as part of a research project with a specific theme, you are free to use the system after receiving instructions on how to use it.

All training is provided free of charge.

■ Registration

If you are interested in participating in our training course, please register by filling in our application form. (Applications will be closed when the maximum capacity is reached.)

Application Form

Phase 1: Training Course for Beginners and Intermediate Levels

This is a training course for deciphering kuzushiji using the ARC transcription system. It is slightly different from other kuzushiji courses that teach you how to read as you will train your ability to decipher the script while reading by yourself.

Details of Implementation:

1. How to use the ARC transcription system + training using the system

2. Date and time: May 14 (Fri), May 28 (Fri), June 18 (Fri), 2021 / Session A (starts at 9:00 JST), Session B (starts at 21:00 JST) ⇒ Each session will last for 90 minutes.

3. Number of participants: 8 per session (Those who will start at the 3rd phase of the project will be accepted separately.)

4. Target group: Beginners to intermediate learners who want to be able to transcribe early Japanese books by themselves.

5. Materials for the beginner to intermediate level will be provided by the organizer.

⇒ Held online via Zoom using the ARC Early Japanese Book Portal DB (with transcription and support system)

※You may also sign up if you would like to learn how to use the system to start from Phase 3 immediately.

Phase 2: Hands-on Experience in the Transcription System for Beginners and Intermediate Level

Participants will select the literary works they wish to decipher individually and carry out the transcription using the ARC transcription system. Results will be corrected by our experienced staff.

Furthermore, we will provide answers for undeciphered characters using the ARC transcription guidance function.

Participants will be able to proceed with the reading while receiving feedback and suggestions.

Details of Implementation:

1. Please participate in Phase 1 to understand how to use the system.

2. Please register for an individual project to start with.

3. Implementation period: From late September 2021 to March 2022

4. Number of participants: Approximately 5, on an individual or group basis

5. Target group: Those who have attended Phase 1 of the course

After a general meeting via Zoom in late September, transcription and correction will be carried out using the ARC Early Japanese Book Portal DB.

Phase 3: Research Project-based Usage

A research group led by a researcher who is already able to read kuzushiji to some extent can proceed with the transcription for a specific purpose.

In addition to the ARC transcription system, transcription support system, search function for transcribed text (display of search results with context) and the storage system for modern translations that are currently in operation, a comprehensive digital text utilization system will be available, including functions for annotating and translating texts that have been created (in preparation for full-scale operation starting from fall 2021).

Details of Implementation:

1. In Phase 1, you can start your project after receiving training on how to use our system.

2. For any questions and concerns about the system, support is available from the Technical Support Board of the International Joint Digital Archiving Center for Japanese Art and Culture (ARC-iJAC).

3. Implementation period: From June 2021 onwards

4. To start with, please register for the project category D. International Joint Research to Utilize the Center's Facilities and Equipment of the ARC-iJAC.

5. Target group: Anyone whose project comprises a large amount of material to be transcribed and who wishes to create a text of the transcription in the ARC portal database is welcome to participate.

In charge of the training course: Ryo Akama and Nozomu Ataka

Read more>>

The 84th International ARC Seminar will be held as a Webinar on Wednesday, May 12, starting at 18:00 JST.

The program is as follows (20 minutes each, including 5 minutes for Q&A):

1. 18:00 - 18:20 

Topic: Documenting Traditional Crafts in Kyoto: Focusing on 3D Photogrammetry of a Climbing Kiln

Speaker: Masaaki KIDACHI (Professor, College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University)

2. 18:20 - 18:40

Topic: Candi Borobudur: Its Relief Styles (チャンディ・ボロブドゥール:浮彫の様式)

Speaker: Takahiro NISHIBAYASHI (Professor, College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University)

3. 18:40 - 19:00

Topic: Appeal Improvement for Cultural Assets Advertisement Following Scriptwriting Technique (脚本術に従った文化資産広告シナリオの訴求力向上)

Speaker: Hiromitsu SHIMAKAWA (Professor, College of Information Science & Engineering)

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Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 18:00 - 19:30 JST

Participation: Online via Zoom (free of charge)

*Please note that this webinar will not be broadcasted via YouTube.

The 83rd International ARC Seminar will be held as a Webinar on Wednesday, April 28, starting at 18:00 JST.

The program is as follows:

1. The Problem of Distance in Digital Art History: Using the ResearchSpace Knowledge system to capture research methods and thinking. (in English)

Speaker: Dominic Oldman (Head of ResearchSpace & Senior Curator, British Museum, UK)

Abstract: This paper describes a different approach to the use of digital technology and particularly data. This approach views computer systems not just as a way of publishing quantitative references and finding aids but also as environments for representing thinking, interpretations, and arguments. It will use examples from various projects, including the British Museum's Late Hokusai site. These examples show how principles of knowledge representation can be combined with humanities research methods to remove fragmentation and represent complex context. In doing so, ResearchSpace addresses the intellectual, as well as physical aspects, required to fully investigate and analyse research questions using digital tools.

2. Various Needs of Chinese Classics in East Asia / 東アジアにおける漢籍需要の多様性 (in Japanese)

Speaker: Riku TONO (Assistant Professor, Kinugasa Research Organization, Ritsumeikan University)

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Date: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 18:00 - 19:30 JST

Participation: online, free of charge (no reservation required)

*This Webinar is open to everyone, and non-ARC members are also invited to participate.

Please click here to watch the Webinar on YouTube.

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