Towards Cooperative Research in Asian Studies

With U-PARL’s mission for the second period (the 2019–2023 school years) being centered on creating a cooperative hub for Asian research, in the 2020–2021 school years the following seven research projects are to be implemented. 

Research Project 1 
Digitization of Research Resources on the Oriental World and a Study on Their Effective Utilization
Research Leader: Masakatsu NAGAI 

Digitization of research resources should be considered as one of the scientific investigation activities for handling research resources rather than a pursuit carried out with the sole purpose of making such resources available in digital form. This naturally suggests that the digitization work should be conducted with involvement of researchers who are well versed in such research resources. Within the framework of the project, researchers specializing in analyzing written sources, archeological records and artifacts, architectural materials (historic buildings and structures) and researchers specializing in informatics will unite their efforts and, first of all, undertake research on methodology for and possibilities of digitization of research resources with the focus on effective employment of IIIF, TEI, and VR technologies. Next, as a practical example based on the results of such research, they will aspire to create a digital dictionary of the Middle Egyptian. 


Research Project 2 
A Study on Organization of Asian Resources: Compiling Cataloging Manuals
Research Leader: Yasuhiro TOKUHARA

With the purpose to properly organize and make available for use materials written in various Asian languages, particularly in those of South and West Asia, members of staff in charge of arranging and cataloging collections of libraries at universities and research institutions across the nation in close collaboration with researchers will combine their work to consider and discuss the most appropriate methodology for creating a catalog by language or geographical area that would reflect the peculiarities of the materials in question, compile, based on that methodology, cataloging manuals per each language including Arabic, Persian, and Tibetan, and distribute these manuals among all libraries. At the same time they will also look into technological trends for centralized organization of bibliographic data in a machine-readable catalog of books and periodicals, as well as of metadata of online resources such as electronic books and electronic periodicals, and databases, mainly related to West Asia, in connection with future developments in search and retrieve systems for area studies resources. 


Research Project 3
A Study on Various Editions of Shuihuzhuan in the Possession of the University of Tokyo
Research Leader: Tatsuo ARAKI

The University of Tokyo has a rich collection of various editions of Shuihuzhuan in its possession. However, not all of the items in this collection have necessarily been made conveniently available for use. Aspiring to contribute to improving the quality of research work through enhancing convenience of use of the research resources and preparing a well-arranged environment allowing for more researchers to access the materials, U-PARL is working on creating digital images of the editions of Shuihuzhuan in the possession of the University of Tokyo and making them accessible to the public. The starting point of this project will be analyzing how the editions of Shuihuzhuan that will become easier to access could be used in future research activities.
Within the framework of this project, a number of scholars of outstanding achievements and expertise in diverse genres of scientific knowledge have already defined research themes and have been advancing—each from their own perspective—research using the editions of Shuihuzhuan in the possession of the University of Tokyo. An exchange of opinions among these scholars is expected to induce further progress in the research and generate new research themes. Moreover, we anticipate that, in the process of carrying out the research, the scholars will also look into the possibilities and problems of such research work dealing with digital images and come up with advice on future vision for interrelations between digital materials and humanities studies. 


Research Project 4 
A Pilot Study for the Creation of a Jaina Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary
Research Leader: Yutaka KAWASAKI

In the course of this study, scholars will carry out bibliographical research on previous studies regarding the vocabulary of the Sanskrit language used by the followers of Jainism (Jaina Hybrid Sanskrit) that is not included in traditional Sanskrit dictionaries or whose examples of usage can be found only in an explanatory dictionary of locally used Sanskrit lexis. Then, by integrating the vocabulary data culled from these studies and preparing a lexical glossary to be widely available to researchers for use, the scholars aspire to create a pioneering template for a Comprehensive Dictionary of Jaina Hybrid Sanskrit, which is expected to be compiled in the future. At the same time, new lexical items from Jaina texts in Sanskrit will also be collected, carefully examined, and added to the glossary to provide a new model of research on Jaina Hybrid Sanskrit.


Research Project 5
A Study on the Chaghatay Translations of Muntakhab al-tawārīkh by Muḥammad Ḥakīm khān
Research Leader: Yayoi KAWAHARA 

Systematic research will be carried out on four extant Chaghatay language manuscripts of Selected History authored by Muḥammad Ḥakīm khān, a major historical treatise of the Khanate of Khoqand (early 18th century to 1876). With the manuscript Tashkent 594 in the possession of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Academy of Sciences, Republic of Uzbekistan, the earliest one to be translated and transcribed, taken as a basis, researchers will examine its differences in comparison with the other three manuscripts from the viewpoints of word-for-word rendering of the translation, interrelations between the manuscripts, lineage of transcription, figures of the translator and his commissioner, translation purpose, targeted readership, etc. In the 2020 school year, an examination of two manuscripts in the possession of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences will be conducted. Based on the results of this examination, the researchers will assess the value and position of these historical materials taking into account the local language and cultural context of the respective time period.


Research Project 6
A Study on How Data Collected through Overseas Fieldwork Should Be Disclosed:
On an Example of Village Research 
Research Leader: Yuki SHIBUYA

Regarding research results achieved through public research funding, in recent years, measures have been promoted towards making open to the public research papers and the evidence (research data) they are based on (Open Science Movement). In the field of area studies, research data collected through fieldwork includes lots of information that seems to be not suitable for disclosure from the viewpoint of protection of privacy and personal data. Moreover, when dealing with data collected abroad, it is indispensable to consider how the data should be disclosed and shared with the counterpart organization and local communities in the surveyed country. With the focus placed on such aspects, this study is dedicated to investigating both scientifically and morally desirable ways of disclosure and storage of data collected through fieldwork abroad. During the 2020 school year, a preliminary research survey will be carried out on the discussions being held in such adjacent academic disciplines as history (oral history) and cultural anthropology. For instance, to gather information with regard to history (oral history), a member of the project will attend the 21st Conference of the International Oral History Association (IOHA). Also, taking as a case study a research project on Cốc Thành Cooperative, Thành Lợi commune in the district of Vụ Bản, Nam Định province, Northern Vietnam, etc., the researchers will investigate and summarize issues related to disclosing/sharing collected materials and deliver reports on them at national academic meetings.


Research Project 7
Imjin War in Context of 16th/17th-Century East Asia
Research Leader: Michiko NAKAO 

This study aims at reconsidering, from a new perspective, the Imjin War, which had a profound and significant impact on every aspect of society, economy, and culture of 16th/17th-century East Asia through defining research themes that can be broadly shared beyond the framework of a single national history. The first step will be to comprehensively survey and examine the Imjin War-related materials that exist in Japan, and, based on the results of this survey and research, to analyze the development of the Imjin War using new approaches (such as placing focus on activities of the Korean princes and the Japanese army). Then, in collaboration with affiliate researchers over a wide geographical area, mainly in Japan, China, and South Korea, the project members will yield a new definition of the Imjin War’s place and role within 16th/17th-century East Asia. To make the research results public, in February 2021, jointly with the Historiographical Institute we will organize a symposium dedicated, among other topics, to documents (including letters and verses) sent by the two Korean princes (Prince Imhaegun and Prince Sunhwagun), who were captured by the Japanese army during the Imjin War, to Japanese generals and Buddhist monks. Finally, in the last school year of the project, we are planning to publish the research results of the study as a collection of papers, for which, in addition to the symposium speakers, other scholars from a wide range of fields including archival science, international exchange history, economic history, intellectual history and history of art will also be invited to contribute their papers.