The Birth of Speech Synthesis (2024)

Noguchi, Setsuko

Umeda Noriko was one of the pioneering speech scientists who first automated a range of voices – such as male, female, and child – in speech synthesis. She earned a PhD in linguistics from the University of Tokyo and initially worked at the Electrotechnical Laboratory (ETL, 電気試験所). Her significant contributions at ETL led to her recruitment by Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL). After moving to the US, Umeda and her team developed groundbreaking technologies in the 1970s, including the origins of female voice and natural speech in computer synthesis, as well as audio interfaces for blind individuals. Her remarkable work marks an early era in the history of AI. Later, Umeda became a professor of linguistics at New York University and later director of the Institute for Speech and Language Sciences.

The Introduction of Japanese Manuscripts about Sword-guards (2024)

Koyama, Noboru

We are interested in how early Japanese books (wakosho) contributed to the development of Japanese studies in Europe. As part of the "Japonisme" craze, a lot of Japanese sword-guards (tsuba) were collected in the late 19th century as well as ukiyo-e prints, netsukes, etc. and studies on them started in early 20th century in Europe. One of earliest Japanese research works on "tsuba" was Matsumiya Kanzan's book-form manuscript which was titled as "Tōban Shinpin Zukan" (it was also titled as "Tōban Shōkan Kuketsu", "Tōban Zufu", "Tōban Zukan"). Even in Japan, modern authentic studies on "tsuba" started only around the turn of the 20th century using "wakosho" on them.

Japanese Traditional Performing Arts (2024)

Petkova, Galia

Although traditional performing arts continue to be a vital part of Japanese culture, as in the rest of Asia, many genres are threatened by extinction due to the lack of successors and interest among the young generation. Specialists and practitioners have engaged in digitalizing textual and visual materials and creating databases, thus facilitating the research on the various forms and contributing to their popularization. There is a significant gap, however, between the systematic digitalization of the major genres, such as kabuki and noh, for example, and the myriad of local performing arts. The purpose of this presentation is two-fold. The first is to overview and compare main electronic resources for the classical theatre, focusing on kabuki. On the other hand Japan boasts a rich culture of regional performing arts minzoku geinō or kyōdo geinō, staged at festivals. The majority of these, however, remain relatively unknown and many are seriously endangered. The second goal of my presentation is to address the dearth of online resources for these kyōdo geinō, by overviewing the few available web sites, and to explore the possibility for creating a comprehensive interactive database of these forms, in Japanese and English. In order to assist their popularization and preservation, its function should be not only to provide detailed information about their history and features, but also to serve as a platform for digital connectivity between performers, local communities, researchers, tourists, and other potential stakeholders.

Initiatives for Sharing and Utilization of Humanities and Social Science Data (2024)

Yamada, Taizo ; Miwa, Satoshi ; Yokouchi, Nobutada ; Shibutani, Ayako ; Nakamura, Satoru ; Hirasawa, Kanako

The Historiographical Institute (HI) and the Institute of Social Science (ISS) at the University of Tokyo are now working on the ‘Program for Strengthening Data Infrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ as core institutions from 2023. The predecessor was the ‘Program for Constructing Data Infrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences’, which piloted a comprehensive infrastructure for sharing and utilizing research data in humanities and social sciences in Japan. One notable outcome is the release of the Japan Data Catalog for the Humanities and Social Sciences (JDCat), which, as of April 2024, had 34,293 data and datasets registered.
The current project aims to enhance and strengthen this research infrastructure that has been established. The HI has been releasing data mainly from Japanese historical materials, while the ISS has been compiling and releasing data from social surveys and other sources. In addition to datasets of HI and ISS, they also release research data commissioned by other institutions. Furthermore, they will lead institutions that handle humanities and social science data to sustainably and comprehensively strengthen the research infrastructure of Japan as a whole.

Release of Nichibunken Digital Archive and Advanced Use of Databases using AI Technology (2024)

Yamada, Shoji

In March 2024, the International Research Centre for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) launched the new "Nichibunken Digital Archive," an IIIF-based archive of image materials in our collection. Currently, the archive includes the contents of "Yoshida Hatsusaburō Bird's-eye View Maps," "Picture Scrolls," and "Folklore Illustrations" databases and will be expanded in the future. The presentation will introduce its functions and future development.
The presenter is researching and partially implementing machine learning and generative AI technologies for our text databases to facilitate advanced search and content understanding, as well as knowledge discovery using digital humanities methods.

Digital Humanities and "Digital Archive" in Japan (2024)

Gotō, Makoto ; Hashimoto, Yuta ; Kawabe, Sakiko ; Teramura, Minami

This presentation will introduce new resources from the National Institutes for the Humanities and the National Museum of Japanese History and explain the major trends in Digital Humanities (DH) and Digital Archives (DA) in Japan. Following the establishment of the DH Promotion Office, the National Institutes for the Humanities has been actively engaged in various DH-related activities. Although the discussion on resources will primarily focus on nihuBridge, this presentation will also provide comprehensive information on diverse related activities and outline the trends and future directions of digital research materials in Japan.

Development of DH educational video lectures and Podcast LOD (2024)

Ōi, Masao

With increasing attention to digital humanities (DH) in Japan, there are high expectations for educational content for human resource development related to DH. In Japan, however, institutions capable of providing DH education on an organizational basis are rare. As a result, there is no accumulated curriculum, making it difficult to conduct DH education in a systematic method. There are also few opportunities to learn about the attractiveness and potential of DH, which is a necessary prerequisite for human resource development.
To address these issues, the National Institutes for the Humanities is developing the "DH Lecture Program" and "DH Podcast & LOD," which will provide researchers' "narratives" on humanities research and related resources, and connect them to society and the future.

Model Building in the Humanities through Data-Driven Problem Solving (2024)

Komiyama, Fumi ; Yamamoto, Kazuaki ; Matsubara, Noriko

The National Institute of Japanese Literature NIJL has started a new project, "Model Building in the Humanities through Data-Driven Problem Solving", in 2024.
NIJL had digitized 300,000 pre-modern Japanese texts under the "NIJL-NW project". In the new project, 150,000 digitized pre-modern works will be added in collaboration with various institutions, including those overseas. In addition, we are going to try extracting full-text of digital images from pre-modern works.
We will also improve the functionality of the "Union Catalogue Database of Japanese Texts (国書データベース)" and enrich its content. Based on this database, we will promote the "Data-driven research" and other projects.
In this presentation, we will introduce an overview of our new project and further efforts regarding this database (e.g., text data creation by OCR).

2024 Grants

The European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS) especially wishes to encourage the participation to its conference of resource specialists and young scholars from institutions with limited financial means or that have seldom or never attended an EAJRS conference. Therefore, with support from the Toshiba International Foundation, the organizers of the 34th EAJRS conference in Sofia would like to offer scholarships, which will include: