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ARC-iJAC Activities


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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.


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.

Dr. Kok, thank you very much for your time. We are very much looking forward to continue working with you.

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

(This interview was conducted by Yinzi Emily Li.)

立命館大学アート・リサーチセンター(以下、ARC)と文学部は、「祇園祭デジタルミュージアム2021 -バーチャルで楽しむ祇園祭-」を公開しました。

祇園祭デジタルミュージアム2021 -バーチャルで楽しむ祇園祭-




1. ArcGIS Onlineによるバーチャル京都の2D・3Dマップ
2. 懸装品の高精細画像、祇園囃子、バーチャル巡行
3. 『バーチャル歴史京都AR(iOS・Android)』((株)キャドセンター・ARC共同作成)



NHK京都撮影の様子 テレビ放送




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.


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).


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.


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.


"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:

Kuzushiji is a kind of Japanese cursive script found in early Japanese books (until the mid-Meiji Period).
Due to the different writing styles compared with modern Japanese characters, kuzushiji can be understood only by a minority of trained specialists.

The Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University, has developed an educational transcription system with an AI-enabled deciphering support function for kuzushiji to facilitate access to early Japanese books for academic research.
The training course started on May 14, 2021, and has counted participants from 12 countries so far. It is provided free of charge. (→Click here for details on the training course.)

Professor Akama, thank you very much for your time today. You have just completed Phase 1 of the kuzushiji training course for beginners and intermediate levels. What is the purpose of your training course?

kuzushiji_cap1.JPGProf. Akama: We have developed an AI-enabled transcription support system for kuzushiji specifically for educational purposes as part of an industry-academia collaboration with Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. The company kindly provided us with the API (application programming interface) of their kuzushiji recognition system that is powered by deep learning.

Our purpose is to teach and support students and researchers in utilizing our transcription support system for their academic research projects based on the abundant materials available in the ARC's Early Japanese Books Portal Database. You can freely choose the materials you wish to transcribe from our database--with over 218,000 titles, one of the largest databases of digital-archived early Japanese books in the world.

I have held several workshops on the system, for instance, at the University of Leiden and the University of California, Berkeley. Not able to travel due to the pandemic, I hope to promote the system's usage by offering this online training course.

Could you tell us about the significance of developing a transcription support system?


Prof. Akama: The Edo Period was peaceful and culturally mature--an ideal environment for commercial publishing and the distribution of woodblock-printed books to flourish as the literacy rate among the population was reasonably high.

Hence, books from a variety of genres written in kuzushiji were published during this time containing valuable information about art, culture, history, and more. However, only a fraction of them has been transcribed.

The transcription support system facilitates access to these books for students, researchers, and people in the fields related to Japanese arts and culture, to obtain a deeper understanding of the past as we strive to preserve cultural heritage.

What is the merit of the ARC Transcription Support System as compared with other transcription systems for kuzushiji?

Prof. Akama: The merit of our transcription support system lies in its educational function.

Our interactive system enables students to learn and practice transcribing and archiving digital texts of early Japanese books fast and efficiently.

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It is particularly suited for being used in lectures and study groups under the supervision of an instructor or as part of individual or group research projects.

As the system offers a user-friendly interface with a vertical input window for transcriptions next to the original kuzushiji text, users can easily compare and check the contents as they proceed.

Should users encounter difficulties, the AI-enabled deciphering support function gives a list of suggestions ranked by percentage. If there is no suitable suggestion based on the context, users can search in our extensive Character Image Database or request support from the instructor.

Hence, users can gradually enhance their ability to read kuzushiji with clues provided by the system and the feedback given by instructors.

Could you tell us about your plans for the future regarding this system?

Prof. Akama: As we continue to utilize the system to advance the projects under our ARC-iJAC umbrella, we also warmly encourage international researchers, both individuals and groups, to →contact us should you be interested in using the system for your research or teaching.

Our system is a powerful tool to accelerate digital humanities research of Japanese art and culture, so I hope to expand its usage in lectures, study- and project groups in Japan and overseas.

Prof. Akama, thank you very much for your time today.

(This interview was conducted by Yinzi Emily Li.)

立命館大学アート・リサーチセンター 文部科学省 国際共同利用・共同研究拠点「日本文化資源デジタル・アーカイブ国際研究拠点(ARC-iJAC)」は、2021年6月19日(土)、20日(日)に、2021年度アート・ドキュメンテーション学会年次大会を共催します。

 2021年6月19日(土) 13:00~17:00
 2021年6月20日(日) 10:00~16:15


 ※今年度は紙媒体の予稿集を発行しません。必要な方は予稿集PDF を印刷してください。


共催:立命館大学アート・リサーチセンター 文部科学省国際共同利用・共同研究拠点「日本文化資源デジタル・アーカイブ国際共同研究拠点」(ARC-iJAC)、アート・ドキュメンテーション学会(JADS)


6月10日(木) 京都新聞の夕刊に静岡英和学院大学 人間社会学部 畑恵里子教授の「舞鶴市糸井文庫 江戸期の伝説」の浦島伝説が紹介されました。



記事内には、玉手箱が2つ登場する「水江浦島対紫雲筺」という画像が掲載され、涙を流す乙姫に対して浦島太郎は冷めた表情で描かれています。(糸井文庫 舞鶴市所蔵)

ワークショップの内容 2021年5月27日(木)、立命館大学アート・リサーチセンター(以下ARC)は、セインズベリー日本藝術研究所(SISJAC)、セインズベリー視覚芸術センターと英国イーストアングリア大学との共同で、デジタル・アーカイブの技術面に焦点をあてたワークショップを開催しました。





本企画は、日本文化資源デジタル・アーカイブ国際共同研究拠点(ARC-iJAC)及び、SISJACの「Digital Japan Project」の一環として行われています。

SISJAC's report of the workshop→


6月5日(土) 立命館大学 河角直美准教授の「カラーで写された占領期の京都」が京都新聞に掲載されました。



2021年5月22日(土)に「日中文化交流と人文学の新たな座標」をテーマとした、第二回 立命館大学-清華大学 国際学術シンポジウムが開催されました。

本シンポジウムは、中国・清華大学人文学院と立命館大学大学院文学研究科、立命館大学アート・リサーチセンター(以下、ARC) 国際共同利用・共同研究拠点(ARC-iJAC)の共催で、立命館大学アジア日本研究推進プログラム「『アジア芸術学』の創成」の後援を受けて行われました。


続いて、清華大学人文学院 倪玉平副院長が、パンデミックなどの危機的状況や複雑な課題の中で、自然科学に加えて人文科学が重要であることを強調し、両大学の包括的パートナーシップを深めていきたいと話しました。


くずし字翻刻システム 立命館大学の金子貴昭准教授は、資料の保存・修復からデジタル化までの流れを一元化した「ARCモデル」、オンライン研究空間の「ARCリサーチ・スペース」を紹介しました。

現在、国内外で約170もの洛中洛外図屏風の存在が確認されており、これらを一覧できる洛中洛外図屏風ポータルデータベースの構築に取り組んでいること、さらに、複数の洛中洛外図屏風と当時の古地図や現在地とを比較することのできる 洛中洛外図4画面比較 の構築を行い、洛中洛外図屏風の変遷を明らかにすることを可能にしたと述べました。
また、国内外の図書館・博物館などが所蔵する日本で作製・出版された過去の地図・絵図などの古地図を、インターネット上で検索、閲覧、分析することができる、WebGISベースでのポータルサイト「Japanese Old Maps Online」についても紹介しました。
日本の古地図を横断的に検索できるARC地図ポータルデータベース、誰もが簡単に現在の地図との重ね合わせを可能にするジオリファレンス・システム 日本版Map Warper、そして、それらの古地図をWebGISで表示・分析・公開するJapanese Old Maps Onlineなどの開発を行っています。









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

日  時: 2021年5月22日(土)14:00~18:20
実施方法: Zoomによるオンライン開催(日本語・中国語の同時通訳あり)



r-darc (at) (at を @に変えてください) にて受け付けます。

立命館大学衣笠キャンパス アート・リサーチセンター事務局 r-darc (at) (at を @に変えてください)
075-465-8476(月~金 9:00~17:30)


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