The first text to introduce the word Robot into the Japanese language

Capek, Karel; Suzuki Zentaro (translator).  1924 EUR 850,-

Capek, Karel; Suzuki Zentaro (translator).

R.U.R ロボット [R.U.R Roboto].

Tokyo, Kinseido 1924 (Taishi 13).

172 [4] pages, lithographically illustrated title-page, b/w photographic frontispiece.

18 x 12 cm. Original wrappers.

EUR 850

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

This is the second translation of Karel Capek’s play into Japanese, by Zentatro Suzuki (鈴木 善太郎, 1883-1950). In 1923, a different translation appeared under the title Jinzo Ningen – artificial man – by Uga Itsuo, probably the most meaningful word of our time.

First published in 1920 in Czech, Capek’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 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.

Zentatro Suzuki (鈴木 善太郎, 1883-1950) wrote a long article on the play in 1923 and this translation predates the first production of Uga’s version. It is not known whether Zentatro Suzuki was familiar with the translation from the previous year; the text became known in Japan in its translation.

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).

WorldCat lists no copies of this outside Japan.

The cover slightly browned, the spine a little more so. Overall a fine copy of the slim, delicate book.