Presenting at EAJS 2021

End of August we had the pleasure of presenting our latest work at the 16th International Conference of the European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS 2021), hosted by Ghent University, but held online due to the ongoing pandemic situation. Being one of the most prominent conferences for Japanese Studies in Europe it featured a wide range of topics from linguistics, literature and art to history, anthropology and politics to media, education and more over four days of concurrent panels.

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Presenting at Mini-Elag 2021

We had the chance to present “Pubby”, our Front end for RDF-Data at Mini-Elag. It was an online conference, due to the ongoing pandemic situation. There were eleven interesting lighting talks, each between 5-10 minutes long. Elag is known for their conferences on the application of information technology in libraries and documentation centres. They discuss new technologies, to review on-going developments and to exchange best practices. We want to highlight a few of the talks we found particularly interesting.

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Exploring the JVMG knowledge graph

The JVMG project collects data from multiple sources and converts it into the RDF format. One of the core characteristics of this format is that all entities and attributes are represented as URIs, while the value of said attributes are either URIs (thus linking two entities using a property) or literal values.

The SPARQL language can then be used to formulate search queries on RDF stored in a database, but this requires the user to be both familiar with the query language as well as the structure of the RDF data.

As all entities and properties are identified by URIs, one way to explore RDF data is having a web server that serves the domain that the data URIs are residing in and shows all information that can be associated with a given URI.

This functionality is one of the main ideas of linked data: a linked data frontend can serve “raw” RDF data to programs that try to resolve an URI while human users using a browser to resolve the same URI get a human-readable HTML view of all the data that is associated with this URI.

Such a frontend also allows for simple exploration and navigation of a dataset, as all URIs in the human-readable view can be made into clickable links.

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Presenting at FanLIS 2021: Building Bridges

Even though we’ve had a string of awesome conference and workshop experiences over the past half a year, now that things have been slowly restarting after all the pandemic related cancellations and postponements, the FanLIS 2021 Symposium: Building Bridges has left us with a very special warm feeling and excited buzz. The enthusiasm, the positivity and the sense of community was so strongly expressed and felt that it was impossible to not get caught up in the excitement that acted as a constant backdrop to the excellent string of presentations.

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Tiny Use Case 4: Examining the concept of media mix by looking at networks of co-staring characters

Taking inspiration from the network representation of real-life actors co-staring in movies (see Bacon number) the central question for this Tiny Use Case (TUC) was can we find patterns in the networks of co-appearing characters that are specific to Japanese media mixes (explained below). The short answer is we couldn’t, but read on to learn about the interesting things we found in the process of trying.

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Information Commons for Manga, Anime and Video Games, first meeting

We are very happy to report that we held the first Information Commons for Manga, Anime and Video Games meeting on the 12th of March. The participants of the meeting were present and former colleagues from the Ritsumeikan University Center for Game Studies in Kyoto working on the datasets for the Japanese Media Arts Database, members of the startup Animeshon from South Tyrol, and, of course, everyone from the JVMG project.

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Tiny Use Case 3 Part II: Stratifying Our Dataset

During the first part of this blogpost, we outlined our investigation into recurring practices of character design in visual novel games employing character data from The Visual Novel Database (VNDB). To map these practices, we visualized our dataset as a network of nodes, and examined its modularity and the eigenvector centrality of its subnetworks. Through the combined examination of modularity and eigenvector centrality, we were able to observe patterns of trait distribution across our dataset. We identified three trait communities, one of which included the near totality of character traits describing character sexual activity and pornographic depictions. The gendered distribution of types of pornography in the field of visual novel games elicited us to stratify our dataset according to characters’ intended audiences. This second part of our blogpost describes the results of our data stratification.


Tiny Use Case 3 Part I: A Bottom Up Approach to Visual Novel Game Characters

The process of designing characters for a visual novel game relies on shared conventions for drawing character clothes, hairstyles, accessories, for articulating character demeanor (through visual and other cues) and more. In some cases, certain character types are conventionally depicted with certain visually recognizable traits. For example, a character’s hair could be drawn so that it sports a strand of hair which moves according to the character’s mood, this is called an ‘ahoge‘(idiot hair), and signifies a correspondingly whimsical personality. Another character might treat their love interest coldly while secretly harboring affections for them, struggling in the contradiction, a ‘tsundere’ demeanor, which does not necessarily have a corresponding outward visual trait to signify this personality type. Ahoge and tsundere are two of hundreds of templates for character design, which combine to shape a character’s identity.