Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Public broadcaster's AI newsreader to make senryu poetry debut

The AI news reader Yomiko. (Image courtesy of NHK)

TOKYO -- Public broadcaster NHK's AI-based announcer "News no Yomiko" will try her hand -- or algorithms -- at composing senryu poetry based on current events, it was announced on March 12.

Yomiko will read her first poem live on March 13 on NHK TV's "News Check 11," which airs weeknights at 11:10.

Yomiko -- whose name is a play on the word "yomu," "to read" -- is rendered in computer graphics for her regular News Check 11 appearances, which began in April last year. The AI created its speaking voice by "listening to" recordings of one female anchorwoman and analyzing the intonation, pacing, inflection and pitch of her speech.

The senryu-reading system is a joint project between NHK and Hokkaido University professor Hidenori Kawamura's lab, which built an earlier AI that wrote haiku poetry.

Yomiko prepared for her senryu performance debut by reading tens of thousands of the poems, many of them from the "banno senryu" selected poetry series in the Mainichi Shimbun, and submissions to the annual Salaryman Senryu contest run by The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. NHK is apparently considering submitting some of Yomiko's poems to the Mainichi's banno senryu column.

"Yomiko's AI is making progress every day toward eventually being able to compose witty senryu," NHK stated. "Please consider (Yomiko's work) with an eye to the long term."

Starting in April this year, the senryu-reading Yomiko AI will move to NHK's "News Shibu 5," broadcast weekdays at 4:50 p.m. She will read poems based on the week's events on the program every Friday.

(Japanese original by Hiroki Sasamoto, Cultural News Department)

Also in The Mainichi

The Mainichi on social media