Recent Work

Kanji Metamorphoses

Kuzushiji, cursive Japanese characters used in classical Japanese texts, are known for their difficulty. Mastering them requires years of training, and some scholars devote their entire careers to learning how to read them. Why are they so notoriously difficult? The reason is that kuzushiji can and often do look very different from their modern equivalent. This project examines just how different kuzushiji are from modern Japanese kanji by visualizing transformations between modern kanji and kuzushiji stroke patterns.

Derived Row Geometries

How many different ways are there to derive a tone row? In 12-tone music, a particular ordering of the twelve chromatic pitch classes — the row — is used as the basis to compose a piece. Some composers were interested in ways of generating a 12-tone row from a single set class: a collection of unordered pitch-class sets where all sets are the same size and relate to one another by transposition or inversion. In a derived row, a single set class partitions the chromatic scale into discrete, non-overlapping segments. This chart uses visualization to show all possible partition geometries of tone rows for valid set classes, revealing the symmetries and asymmetries of derivation.

Atomic Narratives

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. A few days later, on August 9, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan, in Nagasaki. Shortly thereafter, Japan surrendered, ending World War II. If this sounds familiar, it is for good reason: this is the standard narrative of the end of World War II that is often found in high school history textbooks. But what would it mean to examine those narratives in a new way, with a critical lens that challenges the authority to which they lay claim? In this project, we analyzed excerpts from U.S. and Japanese high school history textbooks to explore their parallels and differences.

Sono Toki

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0-9.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Touhoku, Japan. The Japan Disasters Archive (JDA), a project from the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University, seeks to archive websites, news articles, video, images, and other media related to the March 11 disaster and its aftereffects in the time since. There are many different ways to capture the experience of a disaster. In this series of visualizations, one subset of media from the JDA — a collection of testimonials about individuals' experiences of the disaster — is mapped and annotated. The testimonials portrayed here are responses to the question, What were you doing at the time the disaster struck?

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