Sayoku Gekijo  左翼劇場 – [Das politische Theater] – Murayama Tomoyoshi

Piscator, Erwin 1931


Piscator, Erwin.

Sayoku Gekijo  左翼劇場. [Das politische Theater]. Translation by Murayama Tomoyoshi.

Tokyo, (Chuo Koronsha) 1931.

(16), 309, (7)pp., 24 plates extensively illustrated with photographs of avant-garde German theater productions and sets.

Original cloth, original slipcase, printed in red and black with a photomontage design by Moholy Nagy.


The radical Mavo artist, theatrical designer and critic Murayama Tomoyoshi, who had come under the influence of Expressionist theatre and set design while in Berlin in 1922, developed in the mid-1920s an interest in the work of the German dramatist Erwin Piscator, “thought by many to be the father of the twentieth-century mass media, panoramic theater spectacle. Murayama later translated Piscator’s book ‘Political Theater’ in 1929” (Weisenfeld).

The slipcase of this Tokyo edition is almost identical to the dust jacket of the original Berlin edition designed by Moholy-Nagy, preserving its dramatic red and black double-cover photomontage of a spherical Constructivist theatre set mobbed by hundreds of people with banners.

Urawa Art Museum: Books as Art: From Taisyo Period Book Design to Contemporary Art Objects (2001), p. 34 pl. 63; Weisenfeld, Gennifer: Mavo: Japanese Artists and the AvantGarde, 1905-1931 (2002), p. 314 n. 16.

Very nice copy, the outstanding designed slipcase only slightly rubbed at the edges.