Research Support

Chronological and Geographical Features of Ancient Indian Literature Explored by Data-Driven Science

Project Gist

Visualizing the generation and development of Ancient Indian Literature


Ancient India, Vedic literature, visual analytics

Background and Purpose

Many ancient documents are shrouded in mystery as to their formation. The Vedic ritual literature of ancient India, which is the subject of this study and is said to have been composed between 1500 and 500 BCE, is also an “undated, unauthored” document that does not indicate when, where, or by whom it was written. In this study, we analyze the language of the Vedic literature and create visual data that locates the extracted linguistic features on the temporal and spatial axes, aiming to construct a hypothesis about the process of formation of the literature and the social changes that underlie its background.

Project Achievements

We considered methods of analyzing the language of the Vedic literature and of data visualization, and examined whether they accurately capture and represent the development of the language and the process of formation of the literature, and repeatedly provided feedback. As a result, we were able to visualize the relationships among literatures and map the structure of literatures. The network of researchers expanded through the holding of two international workshops, which led to the launch of a successor project, Fostering Joint International Research (B) of KAKENHI “A Study of Language Layers in Vedic Literature for the Development of a Program for Age-Estimation”.

Future Prospects

Now that the tool for visualizing the relationship among Vedic texts has been completed, it is expected that new insights into the generation and development of the Vedic literature will be increasingly discovered through its use. We hope to expand the use of this tool and develop the discussion with more researchers.


International Workshops held on February 11st – 12th 2021
Visualization of relationship between Vedic texts

Principal Investigator


Hakubi Center / Institute for Research in Humanities
Dr.phil. in Indo-European Historical Linguistics at Freiburg University in 2001. After a 10-year blank due to raising four children, she returned in 2013 as a Restart Postdoctoral Fellow (RPD) of JSPS. While studying Vedic literature, she obtained the idea of visualizing the process of language transition, which led her to interdisciplinary research with informatics.