Lafcadio Hearn collected ghost stories, monstrous tales, and exotic observations in his Kwaidan Stories and Studies of Strange Things. His effort in retelling the stories to the global community demonstrates his passion and deep understanding of why “ghostly” is critical for human being as he says : “A man who has no ghostly feeling can not make anything alive, not even a page of history or a page of oratory. To touch men’s souls, you must know all that those souls can be made to feel by words; and to know that, you must yourself have a “ghost” in you that can be touched in the same way”
With the advancement of computer sciences in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, I as the author has done a fun experiment with the hope to continue the “ghostly” feeling that Hearn described in his speech by using Markov chain technique to recreate a new Kaidan story based on Hearn’s writings. In the process of resurrecting, I taught the machine learning system with three texts from Hearn’s Kwaidan archive(“A Dead Secret”, “Horai”, “Of a mirror and a ball”). The three stories were analyzed by machine to create a frequency analysis, which supposably capture a glimpse of Hearn writing style. The new three stories below are the result of this generative process (The author didn’t make any change to the text at all).

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3 thoughts on “Computational kwaidan: recreating Japanese tales with machine learning

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