From the Local to the Global Sphere: Prospects of Digital Humanities for Japanese Arts and Cultures

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Keiji Yano

    Ritsumeikan University

  2. 2. Ryo Akama

    Ritsumeikan University

  3. 3. Kozaburo Hachimura

    Ritsumeikan University

  4. 4. Hiromi Tanaka

    Ritsumeikan University

  5. 5. Mitsuyuki Inaba

    Ritsumeikan University

Work text
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This poster discusses each of the research activities,
issues, and prospects on Digital Humanities for
Japanese arts and cultures at “the Digital Humanities
Center for Japanese Arts and Cultures” of Ritsumeikan
University. By doing so, we would like to suggest new
directions in Digital Humanities, still fairly a new interdisciplinary
research field, as well as contributions Digital
Humanities could make to the humanities in general,
and more specifically for the studies of Japanese arts and
cultures. As we do conduct these research activities as
a five-year Global COE (Center of Excellent) Program
that the Art Research Center (ARC) at Ritsumeikan University
has launched with the support from the Ministry
of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
(MEXT) since 2007.
Our program of “the Digital Humanities Center for Japanese
Arts and Cultures” is to further a study of the humanities
based on Digital Humanities, taking Japanese
art and culture as its subject, as centered on the historic
city of Kyoto. For this purpose, we intend to make full
use of the most advanced information technologies, such
as digital archives, visualization, media technologies,
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Web 2.0.
By using such information technologies, we at the Center
systematically organize information on Japanese art
and culture, which will be open to the public and useful
in a wide variety of contexts. The Center also serves as
a global portal for the study of Japanese art and culture,
aiming not only to create a new system of cultural exchanges
among talented researchers within and out of
Japan, but also to make the results of research available
throughout the world. That means that we see the historic
city of Kyoto as both a base for promoting scholarship
on Japanese art and culture around the world, and a
global hub for education and research.
Our digital archives are meant to bring together information
on Japanese art and culture, both tangible and intangible,
which are left unorganized all over the world. The
archives of such cultural properties use information management
technology to combine different types of data:
text, pictures, sound, moving images and the motion of
the human body. This combination of different types of
date, covering both tangible and intangible cultural properties,
gives us a great advantage over the conventional
text-centered research. Furthermore, by systematically
linking to databases on other systems, we can revolutionize
the amount and quality of material available for
research, leading to great improvements in the quality of
research and to a new perspective on humanities studies.
For example, GIS technology will lead to further advances
in the visibility and amount of data relating to
the time and space content of various aspects of arts,
culture and urban landscapes. Using the bi-directional
format network environment of Web 2.0, we will create
a portal that makes information more open, cooperative
and usable. The resulting research will be compiled and
distributed on-line. We will also promote research into
analytical methods and archiving technology related to
the exquisite cultural properties that characterize the historic
cultural city of Kyoto.
We like to start this poster with a brief introduction of
the program and its missions. After that, each of the following
five research topics will be presented, discussing
where their research interests lie in Japanese arts and
cultures, and what their methodologies and challenges
are in terms of digital humanities.
1. “Digital Archives for Japanese Woodblock Prints:
Their Global Linkage”
2. “Virtual Kyoto: Integration of Digital Contents of
Japanese Arts and Cultures on 4D-GIS with a Time
Dimension” 3. “Digitization and Analysis of Traditional Dance
Body Movement by using Motion Capture Technology”

4. “3D Modeling and Visualization of Japanese Traditional
Arts and Cultural Assets”
5. “Collaborative Web Technologies for Japanese Arts
and Cultures”
Also we will address issues and prospects we share at
the Center, including the current situation and tendencies
of the Humanities in Japan—urgent issues we have to
tackle with our activities at the Center.
Some of the presumable issues to be addressed may include
the following:
1. Humanities scholars in Japan, who tend to work
domestically within their academic societies, shall
partake in a global academic environment, including
a Web-based one.
2. While humanities scholars tend to see the Web and
information technology as mere tools, they also
have to realize that using these tools may give rise
to new perspectives and paradigms.
3. Japanese Humanities researchers should realize that
the Internet is now advancing into the age of Web
2.0, meaning that the environment of the Web is becoming
ever more crucial for humanities research.
This pattern of research is common in Europe and
the United States, and as a high-level institute for
research and education we need to work in a similar
way, in order to ensure the future development of
4. Not only Humanities scholars who are handling Japanese
language but also other East Asian languages
have been experiencing some difficulties in encoding
texts or sharing textual resources on the Web.
This is because an international standard of character
encoding, Unicode, has limitations to represent
characters in those languages.
We hope to contribute to the further discussion on Digital
Humanities from the perspective of a non-Western

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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