Journey to the West: Dare to Ask Where the Road Leads

Country/area: China

Organisation: https://www.sxl.cn/

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 10/10/2021

Credit: Bai Fngzhuo, Mahei Longxi, Gou Zeyao


We are all college students, and the three of us have been working together to produce a lot of things as part of our studies. Data journalism is part of our curriculum and we are trying to use what we have learnt to explore more about our country’s unique traditions and we want to showcase what we are interested in in a more personal way.

Project description:

《The Journey to the West》, the first long romance in ancient China, depicts a colourful, magical and magnificent fantasy world, creating not only an idealised heroic figure like the Monkey King, but also showing different demons, different terroirs and different difficulties through the long road to the scriptures. In the fantasy world, twists and turns are interpreted in the world of human and worldly feelings, gods, immortals, demons and spells and weapons. As the most familiar Chinese novel of gods and demons, the world shown deserves our attention, presented in data.

Impact reached:

We have reorganised the 860,000-word-long text of 《Journey to the West》 and comprehensively collated the demons and monsters in the book. We hope to present the world of gods and demons in 《Journey to the West》 with data to show the breadth of content and the far-reaching influence of the literary work.
At the same time, we also hope to present the charm of traditional Chinese divine and magical fiction in a way that is different from that of its predecessors.

Techniques/technologies used:

excel:Clean and analyze the dataset.

dycharts.com:Convert the data into the format for the visualization.

Adobe Photoshop :Creating and rendering visualizations.

What was the hardest part of this project?

There are many papers on the Journey to the West, but not many start with the direction of data such as the number of demons and regional classification, so it is difficult to find a valid reference. In the beginning, we had to go through the inside of the books several times, which was a lot of work to collate and slow progress.
The work of extracting data from books was tedious, and the data found on the internet was in different and inaccurate formats, so we repeatedly made many changes and revisions; the thesis’s mostly discussed the value of the work in terms of literature, for which reading, sifting and refining was difficult.

What can others learn from this project?

Data journalism can in fact be taken in a special way, and we should go about using this new form to give a new light to the traditional. Literature can also be combined with data, using a rational, data-based mindset to look at literature, which may bring about a different feeling.

Project links: