Electronic media

Archive of messages on the PMJS mailing list. Unlike previous archives, this combines messages exchanged at widely separated intervals (Nov. , 1999 - April, 2000).

Contributions from: Michael Watson, Edward Kamens, Hideyuki Morimoto, Joan Piggott

Media discussed:

  • Iwanami CD-ROM of the 21 imperial anthologies
  • Kadokawa Shinpen kokka taikan CD-ROM
  • Iwanami Hachidaishu CD-ROM
  • Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan CD-ROM
  • Nihon daihyakka zensho
  • Kokugo daijiten
  • Supa Nipponika
  • Zenbase CD-ROM
  • Supa Nipponika Light edition
  • Iwanami Genji CD-ROM
  • Benseisha Genji CD-ROM
  • Kadokawa koten taikan Genji monogatari CD-ROM
  • Kodaishi ronbun mokuroku CD-ROM
  • Discussion of the CD-ROM and web resources of Konjaku Mojikyo has been archived on a separate page: http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~pmjs/archive/2000/mojikyo.html

    There is also a version of this page with kanji, including a long letter in Japanese, omitted here.

    Copyright of each message belongs to its author. See general note on editing.

    return to: PMJS archive index / PMJS index / members / translations

    Date: Nov. 23, 1999
    From: Michael Watson
    Subject: CD-ROM resources

    Has anyone used the Iwanami CD-ROM of the 21 imperial anthologies? It came out in July this year. I would like to hear from anyone who has used it.

    I introduce this CD-ROM below together with others I have actually used. Can anyone add more information, or suggest other CD-ROM resources that are useful for teaching and/or research in our field/period?

    21-daishu (Shoohoo-bon) edited: Nakamura Yasuo, Tachikawa Yoshihito, Sugita Mayuko. price: 12,000 yen. Distributed by Iwanami shoten ISBN 4-00-130094-X C3892 published July 28, 1999

    Lest anyone asks, "nijuichidaishu" or "the Collections of Twenty-one Reigns" refers to the 21 officially commissioned anthologies of waka, from the Kokinshu (10C) to Shinshokukokinshu (1439) -- see The Princeton Companion of Classical Japanese Literature, p. 342, for a full list.

    This CD-ROM was developed as part of a project at NIJL (Kokubungaku kenkyu shiryokan, www.nijl.ac.jp). Presumably to avoid copyright problems, the editors chose a base text from the Edo period, a rufubon of the Shoohoo period (1644-1648). According to the Iwanami url textual variants are noted, and a wide variety of searches are possible: text, yomi, author, kotobagaki. Orders can be made from the url above. The price of 12,000 yen for this CD-ROM is to be welcomed, high as it still may seem.

    Note that by comparison: The Kadokawa Shinpen kokka taikan (1996) is priced at 280,000 yen. ISBN 4-04-908101-6. This contains all 10 volumes of the printed Shinpen kokka taikan (1162 poetry collections, official and private), some 450,000 poems in all. Allows free word searches that are impossible with the printed version. Still hard to understand why it must be sold at a cost equivalent to the printed series.

    Mac/Windows. Iwanami's own "Hachidaishu" (i.e. first 8 imperial anthologies only) is priced 52,000. ISBN 4-00-130029-X. With latest commentary of the ShinNKBT editions. Very handy despite some restrictions on what text material can be copied electronically. And now seems way overpriced. Mac/Windows.

    Some of you may know already that the Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan is now available on CD-ROM, albeit only for Windows 95/98/NT. I recently purchased it and found it easy to install and use.
    Price 18,800 yen + tax ISBN 4-06-209410-X
    Further information on Japanese only web-page: http://www.kodansha.co.jp/eoj/
    [Unfortunately this is the Concise Edition, not the multi-volume edition.]

    Though a Mac person, I use a second-hand Windows laptop for portable reference. This encyclopedia is ideal for that purpose. The hard-disk installation option (120 mb) permits access to a large textual database. The CD-ROM (and drive) is necessary only to show pictures or play sounds. Or you can install just the search engine and run off the CD-ROM. Searching is fast and painless. The text is all in English, the manual is bilingual. An English-Japanese dictionary is included, presumably for Japanese users.

    Finally a CD-ROM called "Konjaku Mojikyo" AI-NET Corporation 1998. ISBN 4-314-90009-1.

    This contains TrueType fonts for 80,000 kanji and other characters (Sanskrit, for example). The excellent search engine allows you to search by radical or element, reading (Chinese, Korean or Japanese)... The characters you find can be used for printing (TrueType fonts are clear) or for web-pages (gif images are included).

    [Details about Konjaku Mojikyo omitted here--for full explanation and subsequent discussion see: http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~watson/pmjs/mojikyo.html]

    The price is not inconsiderable (28,000 yen) but if your research leads you into areas where the JIS limitations hurt (less than 7000 characters available), then this is surely the answer. For the moment at least. I'd be interested to hear of others' experience with these kinds of electronic reference materials.

    From: Michael Watson
    Date: 23 Nov., 1999

    Edward Kamens writes:

    I have not acquired the Iwanami CD-Rom of the 21daishuu, but thanks for telling the PMJS list about it. I do have the Kadokawa Shinpen...CD-Rom. You might want to share this comment on the list; it's up to you:

    Since the Kadokawa Shinpen kokka taikan CD-Rom was produced before Apple started marketing the Japanese Language Kit for Macintosh, it assumes that the user will have KanjiTalk, which is now obsolete. I had a difficult time getting the program to run on any Macintosh machine _and_ to print the results of searches until I patched together various fonts and upgraded to Mac OS 8 or above. Likewise, unless I am mistaken, the program only runs on the Japanese version of Windows, creating similar problems for users outside Japan who don't run that version. However, once you have it up and running it is a very powerful research tool. Many studies of style, diction, reference, allusion, and other aspects of canonical waka need to examine more poems than those that happen to have been selected for the 21daishuu, which means that for some of us who study waka the Iwanami CD-Rom simply doesn't include enough material; on the other hand, of course, for researchers focusing on aspects of the chokusenshuu individually, in comparison to one another, or as a group, what could be better? As you say, it's a lot of data for the money, and the search capacities will lend themselves to many different kinds of inquiry.

    Minamoto no Tamenori, the author of Sanboe, is said to have carried around a sack full of scraps with lines from various poems written on them when he went to utaawase. Think what he (and many others) might have done with a laptop!

    From: Hideyuki Morimoto
    Date: 25 Nov., 1999

    The following computer optical disc titles might also be of some relevance
    to PMJS.

    Nihon daihyakka zensho (Computer file)
    Nihon daihyakka zensho [computer file] ; +, Kokugo daijiten : Supa Nipponika
    = Multimedia encyclopedia, CD-ROM. -- Dai 1-han. Computer data and
    program. -- [Tokyo] : Shogakkan, [1998]
    4 computer optical discs : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.

    Type of file: Interactive multimedia
    System requirements: Pentium 133 MHz or above (166 MHz or above
    recommended); Microsoft Japanese Windows95, Japanese Windows98, or Japanese Windows NT 4.0 or later; 32 MB (48 MB recommended) for Japanese Windows95 and Japanese
    Windows 98, or 32 MB (64 MB recommended) for Japanese Windows NT; 120 MB or more
    available memory; 800 x 600 dpi or higher, and 65,000 or more colours; 4X (8X recommended) or faster CD-ROM drive.

    Documentation: Accompanied by: Otsukai ni naru mae ni (61 p. : ill. ; 27 cm.); and, Watakushi ni totte denshi hyakka jiten to wa (63 p. : ill. ; 27 cm.).
    ISBN 4099067211

    Zenbase CD. 1 [computer file]. Computer data and programs. -- [Kyoto-shi] :
    Hanazono Daigaku Kokusai Zengaku Kenkyujo, c1995.
    1 computer optical disc ; 4 3/4 in.

    Title on container: Zen besu CD. 1
    Type of file: Text, computer programs, font
    System requirements: any type of personal computer equipped with CD-ROM drive.
    Japanese, Chinese, and English.
    Edited by: Urs App.
    ISBN 493879618X

    From: Michael Watson
    Date: 8 Dec, 1999

    Good to hear from John Schmitt-Weigand about the "Light" version of Shogakukan's "Suupaa Nipponika dai hyakka jiten" CD-ROM. Unlike John I haven't taken the plunge yet, but I tracked down a little more information:

    The expensive full version is in 4 CD-ROM, while the light version is on just one, and is called "suupaa nipponika raito-ban"
    Its ISBN is 4-09-906723-8

    Information on contents and technical requirements can be found on
    together with a Shockwave demonstration--one of the demo pages is its entry
    for "setsuwa bungaku". Online ordering also possible.

    Information about the Mac version of the full version can be found in the following review:

    Last Friday I attended the annual "Computer Kokubungaku" meeting at NIJL
    (Kokubungaku kenkyu shiryokan).
    Unlike past years, the resources were available here and now, and not just some scholar's wishful thinking or a research group's jealously guarded data. After a long drought it has finally begun to pour.

    The focus this time was on Genji monogatari. Not one but three CD-ROMs have come out this year, all commercially available. Two are even affordable. I heard talks about all three CD-ROMs and had some hands-on practice, but have not made up my mind which to purchase yet. Again, alas, all for Windows.

    Pride of place to the Iwanami Genji CD-ROM, in the same series as the 21daishu CD-ROM I mentioned earlier. The editing team was headed by Nakamura Yasuo at the Shiryokan (www.nijl.ac.jp). The base text (teihon) is an Edo edition--to avoid copyright problems--but it will also be of great interest to those learning to read premodern Japanese texts as windows display honkoku transcription and the corresponding page of the Edo printed edition
    (graphic file). [Added later:] It is based on the Shoo-oo 3 (    ) e-iri edition, i.e. it is an illustrated edition. The Edo text was checked against the Taisei and ShinNKBT texts

    More info. and orders from

    One feature I liked about this CD-ROM is that the excellent search engine can be used for other texts that the user "registers"--it is an open system in other words. I'll point you to information on the Web when I track it down. The price is around 12,000 yen.

    The Iwanami/Nijl team are planning to produce one CD-ROM every year in the "Koten Collection"--already scheduled are:
    Azuma Kagami (2000)
    Eiga monogatari and other rekishi monogatari (2001)
    Kojiki, Hitachi fudoki (2002)

    The second CD-ROM is produced by Benseisha (http://www.bensey.co.jp/) and
    allows KWIC concordance searches of the text--the Taisei text is used (ed. Ikeda Kikan). There is no electronic text included, however the fast search engine lists the target word in context, giving Taisei vol/page/(line?) reference. For 9800 yen, a useful tool. The information about this CD-ROM is not on their web site but you can contact Benseisha either at 03-5215-9025 (fax 03-5215-9021) or by e-mail LEG05067@niftyserve.or.jp.

    And finally the one that is beyond most individuals' research budgets (260,000 yen) "Kadokawa koten taikan Genji monogatari CD-ROM" was produced by a team under the academic direction of Professor Ii Haruki (Osaka University)--well known to many on this list. It includes a transcription of the Ooshima text, Yoomei-bunko text, Hohan text, and a Kawachi-bon text. Search by part of speech, waka (including waka alluded to), geneological

    This CD-ROM is being marketed through Kinokuniya.

    This page is disgracefully uninformative (url directory is game-video??) but
    this academic site gives more information:


    The latter is a bibliography of publications by Ii-sensei and others about
    how this CD-ROM and the underlying databases were developed

    From: Joan Piggott
    Date: 10 April, 1999

    Some of you may be interested in using a database of Japanese journal articles concerning ancient and classical Japanese history (kodaishi). I have been using one such compiled by Prof. Masashi Oguchi for the last several years. Prof. Oguchi and his students are constantly updating the database, and I have found it very useful. I have located articles therein I would never have known about; I have found articles whose citations I have managed to lose; and one very useful feature is a kana reading of every author's name. "Kodaishi" includes the Gempei era in this database.

    The database and its updates come in the form of a CD ROM. For use on my Mac, I have fed the data into a Filemaker Pro database that is easy to search. There are doubtless other ways of using it. After reading the description below, if you are interested in obtaining a copy of Prof. Oguchi's database, you can contact him directly at the email address below.

    [Message in Japanese from Professor Oguchi, Hosei University given on page in Japanese encoding: electronic.html]

    as of 2000/04/23

    Editor's note: The fact that I have posted this archive should not imply the subject is closed. If there is further discussion, it will be appended. See general note on editing.