Japanese History (School of Letters)

'Japanese History・Imperial Court Ceremony Interactive Digital Educational Material Development' project.

At ICER we support and develop ICT digital educational material, for use in the Kyushu University campus. Part of that work, involves supporting activities linked with 'P&P' (Interdisciplinary Programs in Education and Projects in Research Development) and 'EEP' (Enhanced Education Program).

This project is being carried out as part of the Literature departments EEP: 'For support and development of Literature related discipline textbook and materials- To make the Humanities subject curriculum substantial' policy.

In this project, with Professor Yasutoshi Sakaue from the Faculty of Humanities, we are working to create educational materials which can recreate Japanese Imperial court ceremonies. With students learning not only from paper media, but also supplementing this with 3D animation models and 3D printed output models, the students can gain a deeper understanding of the subject material. This will also help bring about more interest in the subject from the student.

To recreate the subject matter in 3D, information needed to be gathered from various sources, e.g. books and articles on ancient customs and direct from Professor Sakaue and the staff/students in his laboratory about the buildings and environment of that period.

The photograph below shows one of these meetings.

We are preparing data on characters who attended these ceremonies and their behavior/actions.

The relevant teaching materials will be developed as web content and be released on the Web as it is completed.


Project Members

Yasutoshi Sakaue, Professor, Faculty of Humanities
Youhei Yamashita, Research Specialist, Faculty of Humanities
Ryosuke Takei, History Doctoral Student, Graduate School of Humanities

Yoshihiro Okada, Dorector/Professor, ICER
Kousuke Kaneko, Assistant Professor, ICER
Saki Nakazono, Technical Staff, ICER

Activity Outline


This project was started in 2014, it incorporated efforts to develop for use as interactive digital educational material:

  • a 3D interactive animation of the Heian periods 'Kanso' ceremony, at which officials would submit documents to the Emperor.

We worked in cooperation with Professor Sakaue and his research departments staff/students to create models of three buildings: Shishinden (Ceremonial Hall), Jinnoza(Throne Hall) and the Seiryoden(Emperor's Residence), and also to model the behavior of the ministers who attended these ceremonies.

This educational material was developed for use on the internet, by using the web technology 'WebGL'. It can be accessed and browsed using any web browser.

Students gave us the following feedback about the output; 'we can get a deeper understanding of the Imperial Court ceremonies by using this 3D software than we could reading from paper textbooks'.

Meetings etc.

  • August 18th(Monday) 15:00-17:00, Started project to create supplemental educational materials about Imperial Court Etiquette/ceremony.
  • September 8th(Monday) 15:00-17:00, Created a 3D printer model of the Ceremonial Hall.
  • September 19th(Friday) 16:00-17:30, Started work creating model of Jinza.
  • October 24th(Friday) 16:00-18:00, Started work creating model of Emperors pavilion and models of the attendees.
  • November 13th(Thursday) 17:00-18:00, Started work creating the Ceremonial Hall model and models of the attendees.
  • December 4th(Thursday) 16:00-17:00, Started work on the browsing system.
  • December 25th(Thursday) 16:00-17:00, Added 'Step mode'
  • January 29th(Thursday) 16:00-18:00, Added functionality to show the attendees line of movement.
  • March 5th(Thursday), 16:00-18:00, Jinza model modifications, completed Browsing System part 1.
  • March 30th(Thursday(, 16:00-18:00, Added task mode, completed 'Kansou' ceremony part 1, added part 2.


The project in it's second year 2015, continues with its efforts to develop 3D interactive animation digital educational material of the Heian periods 'Kanso' ceremony, where officials would submit documents to the Emperor.

We will improve on our web browsing system, which can be accessed using any web browser. The models of the three buildings: Shishinden (Ceremonial Hall), Jinnoza(Thron Hall) and the Seiryoden(Emperor's Residence) are almost complete, we are working on inclusion of 3D models of the attendees. From July, we started work recreating a ceremony called 'Jimoku'.

Meetings etc.

  • April 16th(Thursday) 15:00-16:30, Checking the attendees movement.
  • April 24th(Friday) 13:00-14:00, Completed editing attendees movement, for 'Kansou' part 2.
  • May 22nd(Friday) 13:00-14:00, Creation of polygon models of Jinza, Ceremonial Hall, Emperor's Pavilion. Added functionality to display/not display movement indicators, added explanation articles.
  • June 19th(Friday) 13:00-14:30, Jinza and Emperor Pavillion color editing, adding attendee animation, browsing system almost complete.
  • July 17th(Friday) 15:00-16:00, completed explanation 3D animation, added animation of attendees, started work on supplemental educational materials about Imperial Palace Etiquette and 'Jimoku'.
  • October 8th(Thursday) 15:00-16:00, Homepage maintenance, creation of explanation movie, added animation of attendees, checked the contents of 'Jimoku' model.
  • October 8th(Thursday) 15:00-16:00, Homepage maintenance, creation of explanation movie, added animation of attendees, checked the contents of 'Jimoku' model.
  • November 12th(Thursday) 16:00-18:00, Homepage maintenance, creation of explanation movie, added animation of attendees.

Written reports, essays, presentations etc.

  1. ICER Newsletter No.12 2014.12
  2. ICER Newsletter No.14 2015.4
    「3DCG 3DCGアニメーションで学ぶ宮中の儀式 アニメーションで学ぶ宮中の儀式」
  3. Yasutoshi Sakaue, Urkunden und die mündliche japanischen Altertum,
    Rituale, Symbole und Willensbildung Funktionen und Herrschaftspraxis im Spiegel mittelalterlichen Schriftwesens Kulturhistorische Vergleiche zwischen Europa und Japan Internationale Tagung, Tübingen, 16. /17. März 2015.
    Im ersten Panel, das der Urkundenherstellung und den Empfängern gewidmet war, hob YASUTOSHI SAKAUE (Fukuoka) hervor, dass die Willensbildung der Tang-chinesischen Herrscher in einem dreistufigen System erfolgte, bei der jede Beamtenstufe und auch der Kaiser schriftlich auf der Urkunde Ergänzungen vornahmen. Demgegenüber wurde im bürokratischen Verwaltungssystems Japans der Nara- und Heian-Zeit (8.–12. Jahrhundert), das sich aus dem importierten chinesischen Strafrechtssystem selbstständig weiterentwickelte, die mündlich mitgeteilte Entscheidung des Kaisers (shôsho) nach einer Diskussion durch Beamte vom Schreiber fixiert und vom Kaiser lediglich mit „Pro“ oder einem Namenszeichen gekennzeichnet. Sehr anschaulich wurden diese verschiedenen Stufen der Rituale bei der Genese von Schriftlichkeit in einer Animation der virtuell rekonstruierten kaiserlichen Anlagen präsentiert.

Created Educational Materials

See the created educational materials as a movie or Web contents.

Click the contents below to try the Educational Material online (Firefox browser rec.).