2022 Shortlist

Isao Matsunami

Country/area: Japan

Organisation: Chunichi

Organisation size: Big

Cover letter:

I am senior editor for the Chunichi Shimbun, a regional newspaper in central Japan. I have been trying to re-create what traditional newspapers had given up explaining with excuses as print media.

Description of portfolio:

2021 was the election year.
1. Measuring Unmeasurable: statistical modeling of opinion poll
Probably the first introduction of statistical modeling to opinion poll in Japanese news organization. This article explains what statistical modeling is and its need as the survey environment is getting worse and worse. Manual classification of tweets saying “I got a opinion poll call” shows traditional survey calls from news organizations are overwhelmed by robocalls from non-journalism organizations. Two statistical models shows the support of ruling LDP are over-represented by 2-4 times in comparison with opposition parties, indicating suffocating atmosphere in “free society”.

2. Who follows LDP president candidates on SNS: Self-descriptions of followers in Liberal Democratic Party President race
Natural language analysis of the self-description words of the Twitter accounts who followed 4 candidates of LDP leader. 40% of the followers of a rightwing candidate, Sanae Takaichi, used “Japan” or “Japanese” in their profile, showing substantial support of ultra-nationalism in Japan. A 3D chart compares the size of followers/followees and frequency of tweet showing the condensed community of rightwing users.

3. Side by side translation of Biden inaugural address:

4. Imagining the bell shapes from sounds: How goes the gravitational wave observations
Visual/audio explanation of the GW observations and the impact of the lag in participation of KAGRA, Japan’s observatory, to the international network of astronomy. A 3D graphics shows how the probabilities of the directions from which GW came were calculated by multiple observations on Earth.

5. Galois field in Auto Factory: Why QR code was invented and how it works
Visual explanation of QR code as a quite rare, tangible example of abstract math underlying digital society. Interview of the inventor, Masahiro Hara.

Project links: