During the midst of the tumultuous Meiji era, the time that Japan began to come to grips with modernity, the field of Buddhist Studies in Japan acted resolutely to take the initiative. Thus, Japan became the only traditional Buddhist country to take the lead in energizing and guiding the development of Buddhist studies around the world. Since then, based on the unstinting efforts of these early pioneers, Japanese scholars of Buddhism have continued to provide valuable leadership and support to this field, and therefore it became one of a small number of disciplines where it can be said that the Japanese tradition clearly stands out from an international perspective. The historical undercurrent that has brought the field to this point is deeply connected with the seminal project of the compilation of the Taishō Daizōkyō, one of several major projects that became foundational for the current field of Buddhist Studies.
On the other hand, the situation in the humanities field throughout the world has been radically transfigured in recent years by the change in the mode of the assimilation of knowledge — the changes in the way we exchange information, and most importantly, the change from the book to the electronic medium as the primary source of literary information. This change has made its impact most remarkably in the field of Buddhist Studies, with its treasure trove of texts, images, and other forms of cultural information that can be utilized in a vast number of heretofore unimaginable ways. In response to this kind of revolution in the research environment, in order to seize upon, sustain, and further develop the historic role that Buddhist Studies research has taken in the field of humanities, there is a vital need to coordinate and encourage the emerging field of Humanities Computing directly within the scope of Buddhist Studies.
Faced with this kind of pressing need, we feel greatly compelled to establish an academic organization that effectively stimulates dialog and cooperation among scholars and specialists in various forms of technology, to help us find a way to most effectively resolve the plethora of exciting new problems and challenges that are arising as the old and new traditions of humanities research inevitably come face to face. Thus, we have come to the conclusion that the establishment of an independent institute for the purpose of carrying out these activities is an absolutely necessity.
Based on this set of circumstances, we would like to take as our goal the raising of the awareness of humanities researchers regarding the development and application of Digital Humanities while further advancing research in the treasure of human wisdom known as Buddhism. Through this stimulation of the field of humanities as a whole, we seek to make a contribution to the development of the broader study of human spiritual culture. Thus we have established the International Institute for Digital Humanities.
- Department of Buddhist textual studies
- Department of Buddhist Codicology
- Department of Digital Humanities
- Executive Office
- Masahiro Shimoda(Affiliated fellow)
- Toru Tomabechi
- Kiyonori Nagasaki