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75 years ago

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Ancient footage of Tokyo restored

I’ve been following Denis Shiryaev on YouTube for a while now. His restorations of degraded old movie camera footage are always amazing to see. His latest video is produced from old footage from Tokyo between 1913 and 1915. It’s surprising how little things seem to have changed at Sensō-ji, but I have no idea what other locations are depicted in here.

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Machine translation in 1968

The BBC recently published this excerpt from a 1968 edition of Tomorrow’s World featuring a computer system at Kyoto University that was not only able to translate simple sentences from Japanese to English, but could also read out the resulting Japanese text. #OnThisDay 1968: Tomorrow's World was in Japan, to test Kyoto University's extraordinary English to Japanese translator. What sorcery is this? pic.twitter.com/WTRHmgBmL2 — BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) August 14, 2018 It looks like the translation it performed was as follows: Input: MY NAME IS JOHN PARRY, AND I WORK IN LONDON ENGLAND. I HAVE COME TO KYOTO UNIVERSITY TO LOOK AT THE DIGITAL COMPUTER. Output (Romaji): WATASINO NAMAEWA JOHN PARRY DE ARU, SOSITE WATASHIWA LONDON ENGLAND NONAKANI HATARAKU. WATASHIWA DEJITARU KONPYUUTAAWO MIRUTAMENI KYOTO DAIGAKUE KIMASITA. Output (Kana): ワタシノナマエハ JOHN PARRY デアル、ソシテワタシワ LONDON ENGLAND ノナカニハタラク。ワタシハデジタル コンピューターヲミルタメニ KYOTO ダイガクヘキマシタ。 Apart from the use of dictionary-form verbs instead of the more polite “desu/masu” forms that one would expect from a human translator, the results aren’t bad at all. Very impressive for a computer that probably had less processing capability than a modern washing [More…]

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Ōyama Sutematsu

Someone recently uploaded the story of a Japanese education pioneer called Ōyama Sutematsu (大山 捨松). It’s quite an interesting read: The first Japanese woman to go to college didn't have a choice.

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Header image: Maple leaves and bamboo stems in autumn at Tenryū-ji garden (天龍寺庭園) in Kyoto. Photo: Frank Gualtieri.

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