Interactive Visual Analysis of Personal Names in Japanese Historical Diary

  1. 1. Alejandro Toledo

    Ritsumeikan University

  2. 2. Ruck Thawonmas

    Ritsumeikan University

  3. 3. Akira Maeda

    Ritsumeikan University

  4. 4. Fuminori Kimura

    Ritsumeikan University

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Alejandro Toledo
Ritsumeikan University
Ruck Thawonmas
Ritsumeikan University
Akira Maeda
Ritsumeikan University
Fuminori Kimura
Ritsumeikan University
Historical diaries provide information about and
facilitate understanding of daily life during their
periods. The historical diary of an aristocrat not only
contains historic facts but might also help us disclose
them. In this paper, we present an interactive web-based
system for visualizing aristocrat names mentioned in a
historical Japanese diary called “Hyohanki” written by
an aristocrat during the late Heian era (1132-1184). In
our web-based system, the stacked graph is utilized to
dynamically analyze the time-series of those aristocrat
names. We have found that trends in the name occurrence
and co-occurrence visualized by the system correlate
well with historic facts regarding the rise and fall
of power of as well as the confrontation among the corresponding
1. Introduction
A diary is a daily record of events that have happened
over the course of a day. Diaries written long time ago
or historical diaries provide information about daily life
during their periods. They can be also utilized to facilitate
understanding of the life and times of mentioned
individuals in those days. Historical diaries written by
aristocrats not only contain historic facts but might also
help us disclose such facts.
Information visualization techniques have been successfully
applied to historical artifacts. Typical applications
include Picasso’s artworks and documents (Audenaert et
al., 2008; Meneses et al., 2008), 17th-century Portuguese
shipbuilding treatises (Furuta et al., 2007), and Vertot’s
Roman Revolutions (Jensen, 2006). In this paper, we apply
information visualization to a historical diary called
“Hyohanki (or Heihanki)” which is a diary written by a
Japanese aristocrat, Taira no Nobunori, during the late
Heian era (1132-1184).
Hyohanki is a relevant resource for the research of Japanese
culture of that time period. Although some part
of Hyohanki has been deteriorated and missing, all remaining
pages are digitized into the text format (Fig. 1),
awaiting for digital humanities research activities. An
example of such digital humanities research is Cross-
Age and Cross-Cultural Information Retrieval discussed
in (Maeda and Kimura, 2008).
In this paper, we present an interactive web-based system1
for visualizing aristocrat names mentioned in Hyohanki.
In our system, the stacked graph (Wattenberg,
2005) is utilized to dynamically analyze the time-series
of those aristocrat names. This kind of dynamic analysis
helps the viewer to track trends in the name occurrence
and co-occurrence and thus facilitates revealing of historic
facts behind them. 2. Methodology
2.1 Data
Our system is based on entries derived from the Hyohanki
Diary. Such entries, contained in a delimited text
file, are expressed by a tabular representation consisting
of three attributes: (i) year, (ii) aristocrat name for which
the family name is placed before the given name, and
(iii) a numerical value indicating the number of occurrences
of that name in that year. This data was extracted
from “Personal Names Index” of Hyohanki, which was
manually created by experts in Japanese history.
2.2 Visualization
The method used to visualize the data is straightforward: given a set of aristocrat-names time series, a set
of stacked graphs is produced, as shown in Fig. 2. The
x axis corresponds to year and the y axis to occurrence
ratio, in percentage, for all names currently in view. Each
stripe represents a name, and the width of the stripe is
proportional to the ratio of that name mentioned in a given
year. The stripes are colored blue, and the brightness
of each stripe varies according to the number of occurrences,
so that the most mentioned names for the whole
period are darkest and stand out the most.
Fig. 2 Screenshot of our Hyohanki’s aristocrat-names
visualization system, where the English names of those
discussed in the paper were manually superimposed under
the corresponding Japanese names
Our visualization approach can be seen as an evolved
version of timeline representations (Jensen, 2006). The
main difference between these two approaches is that
timeline representations are suitable to highlight the
temporal evolution of events, while stacked graph representations
help users in discovering trends in data. In
a typical timeline presentation, time is arranged along
one dimension and a number of markers, representing
events, are placed appropriately along the time dimension.
On the other hand, stacked graph representations
often create an environment being representative of the
data set in question. This environment helps users in
discovering trends in data by creating depictions of data
values that can make data analysis faster.
2.3 Interaction
When the system starts, the viewer sees a set of stripes
representing all names with the number of occurrences
above 50. Additional filtering of this data is achieved
using two interaction controls. With the first one, filtering
by names, the viewer may type in letters, forming a
prefix; our system will then visualize data on only those
names beginning with that prefix. This system reacts directly
with each keystroke. Thereby, it is not necessary
for the viewer to press return or to click a submit button.
In addition, the system moves smoothly between visualization
states. So when a letter is typed, an animated
transition helps preserve the visualization context.
With the second interaction control, filtering by number
of occurrences, the viewer can change the data currently
in use from the default. As shown in Fig. 2, there are seven
buttons, each one allowing the change using the number
of occurrences above 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 and
350 respectively. The idea behind this interaction control
is that we can restrict the view to certain data of interest,
according to their number of occurrences, resulting in
concise views of the data.
3. Results and Discussions
Fig. 2 shows the stacked graph of the aristocrat names
with the number of occurrences above 50. One prominent
stripe can be observed, i.e., that of Fujiwara no
Tadamichi (藤原忠通), who was the eldest son of the
Japanese regent Fujiwara no Tadazane (藤原忠実). It
should be noted that in 1156 the Hogen Rebellion took
place between the defeating side of Emperor Go-Shirakawa,
sided by Fujiwara no Tadamichi, and the defeated
side of retired Emperor Sutoku, sided by Fujiwara
no Yorinaga who is the younger brother of Fujiwara no
Fig. 3 Stack graphs of names beginning with Fujiwara
(藤原), where the English names of those discussed
in the paper were manually superimposed under the
corresponding Japanese names
Fig. 3 shows the stacked graph of the aristocrats with
family name Fujiwara (藤原), a powerful regent family
dominating the Japanese politics of Heian period,
and with the number of occurrences above 100. It can
be seen that the stripe of Fujiwara no Yorinaga (藤原
頼長) has high co-occurrence with that of Fujiwara no
Tadamichi until the former was defeated by the latter in
the aforementioned rebellion. It is also interesting to see
that the stripe of their father Fujiwara no Tadazane also
conforms to this trend. It should be noted that the y-axis
is always the total percentage. This is because we are
interested in the relative transition of the influence of a
particular family or a person, and for that purpose, the total percentage is better than the relative percentage.
In addition, in Fig. 3, Fujiwara no Motozane (藤原基
実) has high occurrence before 1166, but his occurrence
decreases after 1166. On the other hand, Fujiwara no
Motofusa (藤原基房) has low occurrence before 1166,
but has high occurrence after 1166. These also conform
to the following historical fact. In 1166, a regime change
occurred. Before 1166, Emperor Nijo group was in power.
However, Emperor Nijo, the eldest son of the aforementioned
Emperor Go-Shirakawa, died in 1165, and
Fujiwara no Motozane who was the leader of the emperor
Nijo group also died in 1166. Their death triggered
the emperor Nijo group to lose their political power. After
their death, Emperor Go-shirakawa regained political
power. Ultimately, Fujiwara no Motofusa was appointed
as the leader of the regime.
4. Conclusions and future work
We have successfully applied the stacked graph to visualization
of aristocrat names in the Hyohanki diary. Two
interaction controls are provided, i.e., filtering by names
and filtering by number of occurrences. They allow the
viewer to search names by prefix and to narrow the target
names, respectively. Interesting trends have been found
that correlate well with the corresponding historic facts.
As our future work, we plan to use data mining techniques
to the diary in order to obtain structural representations
other than the tabular one used in the current
work. In the current version of our system, tabulated data
are visualized by means of a time-line that tells us trends
of aristocrats names mentioned in the diary. We believe
that using data mining techniques will allow us to find
new useful information, such as place names, building
names, and street names, that eventually leads to different
graphical representations.
Audenaert, N., Lucchese, G., Sherrick, G., and Furuta,
R. (2008). CritSpace: Using Spatial Hypertext to
Model Visually Complex Documents. Book of abstracts
for the DH2008 conference, Oulu, Finland, pp. 50-53.
Furuta, R., Castro, F., and Monroy, C. (2007). Ancient
Technical Manuscripts: the Case of 17th-century Portuguese
Shipbuilding Treatises. Book of abstracts for the
DH2007 conference, University of Illinois, USA, pp.
Jensen, M. (2006). Semantic Timeline Tools for History
and Criticism. Book of abstracts for the DH2006 conference,
Sorbonne, Paris, pp. 67-69.
Maeda, A. and Kimura, F. (2008). An Approach to
Cross-Age and Cross-Cultural Information Access for
Digital Humanities. Digital Resources for the Humanities
and Arts 2008 Conference (DRHA08), Cambridge,
U.K., Sep.
Meneses, L., Furuta, R., Mallen, E. (2008). Exploring
the Biography and Artworks of Picasso with Interactive
Calendars and Timelines. Book of abstracts for the
DH2008 conference, Oulu, Finland, pp. 160-163.
Wattenberg, M. (2005). Baby names, visualization, and
social data analysis. Proceeding of IEEE Symposium on
Information Visualization 2005 (InfoVis2005), pp. 1–7.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2009

Hosted at University of Maryland, College Park

College Park, Maryland, United States

June 20, 2009 - June 25, 2009

176 works by 303 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (4)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None