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Digital Scholarship in the Study of Historical Japanese Earthquakes

October 21, 2020

Event Host: Tateuchi East Asia Library

For the academic year 2020-2021, Tateuchi East Asia Library (TEAL) hosts two series of digital scholarship related events: Digital Scholarship for East Asian Studies and Digital Scholarship Coffee Hour. Being in the intersection of interdisciplinarity, TEAL provides a space to share and discuss the cross-regional digital scholarship examples, methods, and techniques with a greater field of East Asian Studies community.

Yuta Hashimoto | Digital Scholarship in the Study of Historical Japanese Earthquakes


Dr. Yuta Hashimoto will give a talk on a collaborative project that extracts data on earthquakes from premodern Japanese documents for scientific and historical analysis.

The instrumental observation of earthquakes in Japan began only after the end of the nineteenth century, hence transcribing the pre-modern earthquake records is crucial for the earthquake prediction and disaster prevention. The Historical Earthquake Study Group (HESG) at Kyoto University, of which Dr. Hashimoto is a member, uses crowdsourcing to transcribe vast numbers of historical earthquake records. In 2017, the HESG launched Minna de Honkoku (, inviting the general public to transcribe historical earthquake records via the Internet. This project also makes use of novel technologies such as the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) and AI-based handwriting recognition (HWR).

The project’s next goal is to extract and visualize spatio-temporal information from the transcribed texts so that a seismic analysis of these historical records will be possible. The group also uses a manual annotation of these texts using online tools such as TextAE and PubAnnotation, both of which were developed for annotating academic papers but are also applicable to historical texts. Once this process is completed, they will be able to link the annotations with a historical gazetteer and generate visualizations.

Anyone with an interest in collaborative cross-disciplinary digital scholarship, text analysis, geospatial analysis, East Asia studies, seismology, or natural disasters is encouraged to attend.