Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller
Item #53418 ロボット Roboto (R.U.R., Rossum's Universal Robots) [THE FIRST LITERARY USE OF THE WORD ROBOT IN THE JAPANESE LANGUAGE]. Karel Čapek, Zentaro Suzuki, Lee Simonson, カーレル・チャペック, trans 鈴木 善太郎, design.
ロボット Roboto (R.U.R., Rossum's Universal Robots) [THE FIRST LITERARY USE OF THE WORD ROBOT IN THE JAPANESE LANGUAGE]
ロボット Roboto (R.U.R., Rossum's Universal Robots) [THE FIRST LITERARY USE OF THE WORD ROBOT IN THE JAPANESE LANGUAGE]
ロボット Roboto (R.U.R., Rossum's Universal Robots) [THE FIRST LITERARY USE OF THE WORD ROBOT IN THE JAPANESE LANGUAGE]

ロボット Roboto (R.U.R., Rossum's Universal Robots) [THE FIRST LITERARY USE OF THE WORD ROBOT IN THE JAPANESE LANGUAGE]

Tokyo (東京): Kinseido (金星堂), 1924. First edition thus (Second Japanese edition). Softcover. Small octavo. 172 [4]pp. Illustrated white and red wrappers. Lithographically illustrated title-page. B/w photographic frontispiece. The striking frontispiece is a b/w photographic reproduction of a still image, showing a dramatic scene from the first American production of R.U.R, which was produced by the Theater Guild, and held at the Garrick Theater in New York, starting in October 1922, and running for 184 performances. Acclaimed American actor Spencer Tracy made his Broadway acting debut as one of the wordless robots in this production. The lithographic title page illustration in red and black was originally created as a poster for the production, by its set designer, the American architect, painter and designer Lee Simonson (1888-1967). The avant-garde illustration on the front cover is here uncredited.

This is the second translation of Karel Čapek's acclaimed play into Japanese, by Zentatro Suzuki (鈴木 善太郎, 1883-1950). First published in 1920 in Czech, Čapek's pioneering work of science-fiction drama and social commentary was instantly popular. The first official staged production of the the play premiered at Prague's National Theatre in January of 1921. The work gained notoriety and acclaim quite quickly, and was publicized with international editions and productions within only a few years of its initial release. The drama was the first to establish to concept of a 'robot', but here they are humanoid android workers and servants created by the Rossum's Universal Robots (R.U.R.) company from biological material and assembled, rather than being made of electronics and cybernetic material. The trope of the abused and exploited non-human worker entities rising up in rebellion, has since become a mainstay and important concept in sci-fi meditations on the nature of "humanity," class, and the power of technology.

This Japanese translation is the first text to introduce the word Robot into the Japanese language. The earlier Japanese translation of Čapek's work, done by Izuo Uga in 1923, did not used the word "Robot" and instead referred to the characters as Androids (Jinzo Ningen, lit. 'artificial human' or 'man-made human'), which was also used as the title. In that edition Uga mentions the word "Robot" twice in his introductory text, but explains his decision use a more understandable term in Japanese. This, Suzuki's second translation of the work was the first to preserve the use of the term "Robot" in the text of the play, and so was the first real introduction of the now ubiquitous term to Japan. In both the first translation and this second translation, English-language sources were used, as opposed to the original Czech. In the case the of the first translation, it was taken directly from the text of the American production, and in the case of the second translation the basis was a combination of the American and British productions of the play. It would not be until 1978 that the play was translated into Japanese directly from the original Czech. The play's Japanese premiere took place in 1924 at the pioneering Tsukiji Small Theater in Tokyo, under the title "Android".

Text throughout in Japanese. The final 3 pages contain publisher's ads.

Wrappers with light rubbing to extremities, including some light chipping to the head and tail of the spine. Front cover with minor stains. Back cover lightly foxed. Interior with minor sporadic age toning, smudges and/or minor stains in the margins. Minor creasing to corners. Wrappers in very good-, interior in very good+ condition overall. A very nice and overall clean copy of a scarce edition. vg- to vg+. Item #53418

Subtitle: 先駆芸術叢書 2 (Pioneering Art Series, #2)

We located only two copies in OCLC worldwide, both are in Japan.

Price: $6,000.00