The Newsletter 92 Summer 2022

Digital Humanities in Northeast Asia

Ilhong Ko

A common feature of the academic landscape of Northeast Asia since the turn of the millennium has been the emergence and establishment of Digital Humanities (DH) as a key field of research. Although the trajectories of development may differ from country to country, it is clear that Digital Humanities can only flourish when certain elements come together. These elements include government policy, large-scale funding, institutional support, digital infrastructure, an atmosphere of interdisciplinary and convergent research, the academic freedom to propose alternative research paradigms, innovative and tenacious researchers, solidarity building and the active sharing of ideas through the formation of research societies and conferences, and academic posts that make it possible to educate and nurture the next generation of researchers.

In this installment of News from Northeast Asia, we present an overview of Digital Humanities research in Northeast Asia that touches upon all of the above-mentioned elements. In “One Among Many: Digital Humanities in China,” Jing Chen of Nanjing University addresses the issues surrounding the introduction and development of Chinese Digital Humanities. Although these issues are seen to have arisen from the unique context of Chinese academia, they will also resonate with DH researchers of other Northeast Asian countries. The achievements of Taiwanese Digital Humanities are presented by Chijui Hu of National Changhua University of Education in “From Digitization to Digital Humanities: The Development of Digital Humanities in Taiwan.” Here he traces the steps that led to the construction of digital humanities platforms such as the DocuSky Collaboration Platform. The features of the DocuSky Collaboration Platform, which are introduced in detail, well illustrate the innovations of Taiwanese DH researchers. The remaining two contributions – dealing with Digital Humanities in South Korea and Japan, respectively – shed light on the foundations that have sustained this new field of research from two different, but equally important, perspectives. In “Trends and Challenges in Korean Digital Humanities,” Intae Ryu of Sungkyunkwan University introduces the Korean government’s past policies that established the digital environment in which Digital Humanities could take root, as well as the current administration’s policies that will hopefully ensure the sustainability of this field of research. Finally, in “Recent Developments in Digital Japanese Studies,” Paula R. Curtis of The Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies discusses the efforts of researchers who have been active in hosting events for the sharing and dissemination of research results and who have also come together to create community spaces for Japanese Digital Humanities. Her analysis of the increasing importance of digital-related research in job postings for East Asian Studies illustrates that the future of Digital Humanities in Northeast Asia is bright indeed.


Ilhong Ko, HK Research Professor, Seoul National University Asia Center; Regional Editor of News from Northeast Asia,