Cutting-Edge Research
in Kyoto University


Reading and Publishing One of the Longest Diaries in the World Deciphering the Diaries of Yuzaburo Kuratomi using SMART-GS.

A web page of SMART-GS

Yuzaburo Kuratomi (1853-1948) was a bureaucrat-politician during the Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa eras. He began his career at the Ministry of Justice in 1879. After his service in Korea in 1907-1913, he became the comptroller general of the Imperial Household in 1916. He was nominated as Chairman of the Privy Council in 1926, and held that office until 1934. Like the English politician Samuel Pepys, Kuratomi is famous for the detailed diaries he kept from 1919-1947. The diaries have become a valuable historical resource documenting the political and social life of the Imperial Household of Japan at that time, and reveals many inside stories about both the Imperial Household and the Privy Council. However, due to his illegible handwriting and the enormous volume of his writing, it has been difficult for even professional researchers to read the diaries. To facilitate this task, my colleagues and I are transcribing the diaries. Sections of the diaries spanning 1919-1924 have already been published in three volumes, and further portion, spanning 1919-1934, will soon be published by Kokusho Kankokai Inc.

The task of deciphering Kuratomi’s handwriting has been made a great deal easier by SMART-GS, a new ICT tool developed by Prof. Susumu Hayashi of the Department of Humanistic Informatics of Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Letters. SMART-GS is a tool designed to support philological and historical research, which has proven indispensible in converting historical documents to digital images. SMART-GS has three distinctive features. 1) It binds digitized documents with relevant translations, annotations, bibliographical information, explanatory notes, and other forms of text data. 2) It marks up selected areas of both digital images and attached text, and establishes links between the marked-up elements. 3) It offers management functions for markups and links, and displays the relation between linked elements in the form of diagram.

Kazu Nagai, PhD
Graduate School of Letters