August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Study of the Japanese color lexicon using cluster analysis
Author Affiliations
  • Ichiro Kuriki
    Tohoku University
  • Yumiko Muto
    Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Kazuho Fukuda
    Kogakuin Univerisity
  • Rumi Tokunaga
    Ritsumeikan University
  • Angela Brown
    Ohio State University
  • Delwin Lindsey
    Ohio State University
  • Keiji Uchikawa
    Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Satoshi Shioiri
    Tohoku University
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 621. doi:
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      Ichiro Kuriki, Yumiko Muto, Kazuho Fukuda, Rumi Tokunaga, Angela Brown, Delwin Lindsey, Keiji Uchikawa, Satoshi Shioiri; Study of the Japanese color lexicon using cluster analysis. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):621.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The universality of color categories has been demonstrated by various studies. A series of analyses of categorical clusters of color samples used in World Color Survey (WCS) have revealed several 'motifs,' or color naming systems (Lindsey and Brown, 2006, 2009, and 2014), which present commonly across languages. Furthermore, several motifs co-exist within a language. The motifs differ mainly at the border between the blue and green categories. In Japanese, one of the basic color terms 'ao' (translated as blue in English) is occasionally used when naming leaves of trees, traffic lights, copper rust, and etc. We investigated the basic color categories of Japanese using cluster analysis to clarify whether the color categories in Japanese show an unclear border between the blue and green categories, i.e., the 'grue' color term or the corresponding motif. We conducted a k-means analysis, in which the optimal number of clusters was determined, using gap statistics to define the optimal number of categories. 57 Japanese-speaking participants named the WCS color samples using monolexemic color terms without modifiers or compound words. We found six chromatic categories in addition to the basic color terms in Berlin and Kay (1969). They were: 'mizu (water)', 'hada (skin)', 'matcha (powdered green tea)', 'oudo (sand/mud)', 'ai (indigo)', and 'enji (reddish brown)'. The terms 'mizu', 'hada' and 'kusa (grass)' were reported as subsidiary basic terms in a study of Japanese categorical color terms (Uchikawa and Boynton, 1987). The term 'kusa' was not used in the present study, but the term 'matcha' may be a substitute. The 'mizu' cluster was consistently located at high lightness, between blue and green, suggesting that blue and green are distinct categories. However, the 'mizu' cluster is fundamentally different from the 'turquoise/teal' cluster observed in English because 'mizu' also includes many samples that most English speakers call "light blue".

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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