1925. Item #91034
[Mavo] Toller, Ernst, author, Okada Tatsuo 岡田龍夫, illustrator and Murayama Tomoyoshi 村山知義, translatorTsubame No Sho 燕の書.
Chōryūsha Shoten 長隆舍書店, publisher. Tokyo.
Taisho 14 (1925). 20 x 14cm volume bound western style and opens Japanese style with printed, decorated wrappers. The wrappers are pasted onto brown paper which extends beyond the cover edges. 106 pages of poetry and illustrations with 15 full-page black and white original linocuts by the remarkable artist Okada, one of a very few works with his MAVO-style original prints. Toller’s poems from prison are here rendered in Japanese text by Maruyama.
Okada Tatsuo 岡田龍夫 (1900–1937), appeared on the avant-garde scene in Tokyo as suddenly and mysteriously as he left. He is believed to have arrived from Kyushu in the early 1920s and, after a run of considerable authority and influence in MAVO and avant-garde circles, disappeared into Manchuria in the middle 1930s. His book art is collected by the MET in NYC and the MFA Boston.
Referenced in virtually every work and bibliography on the subject of Taishō era avant-garde art, this has the personal hanko of the translator, Murayama Tomoyoshi 村山知義 (1901-1977), in red on the colophon. Murayama was a far Left activist, critic, artist and playwright who was so outspoken in his views that he was publicly reprimanded and arrested more than once. During the early 1920s he studied drama and art at Humboldt University in Berlin. An artist of the highest caliber, he introduced expressionist and constructivist art to Japan, was one of the founders of the MAVO movement and also one of the most iconic figures of the avant-garde in the 20s and 30s in Japan.
Ernst Toller (1893-1939) was a playwright, writer and activist who was president of the Bavarian Soviet Republic for the few days of its existence. Imprisoned for 5 years in Germany for his political views and activities, he was later exiled and moved to Canada and the US.
Externally and internally a bit soiled and toned and foxed with damp staining at top corners. Edges of decorated wrappers are torn at binding, with text intact.