Some months ago I assumed a big responsibility by obtaining a collection of English-language books that had formerly belonged to Ambassador (aka “Special Envoy”) & Mrs. Saburo Kurusu, of Tokyo, Japan. These books were most likely assembled as a collection by Mrs. Alice Jay Kurusu, and much later inherited by one of the Kurusu daughters who married an American after the war and moved to Arizona. The books had been in her estate, and were offered to me by a family member of a subsequent generation who was familiar with the origins and importance of the collection but did not wish to be identified, nor sell the books himself.
I would like to offer the entire collection to an individual or an organization, perhaps one of the great Japanese-American societies in the United States, that might be pleased with the historical links these books have. The price of the collection was $2,500. but I am now accepting offers. I may eventually sell the books individually on the “EdsList” pages of this site. although I would rather maintain these books as one collection.
Kurusu is an important historical figure because he represented Japan to the Axis Powers in Germany at the start of W.W.II and was one of the two Japanese ambassadors meeting with Secretary of State Cordell Hull in Washington on the very day of the attack at Pearl Harbor. He is often seen in newsreels. After Pearl Harbor and war being declared, he was held as a hostage and traded for the life of American hostages held by Japanese forces, in a prisoner exchange in the waters off Madagascar in the Indian Ocean about six months after Pearl Harbor. The Kurusu’s son died in combat and his American-born Caucasian mother was quoting saying she was proud he could give his life “for the Emperor of Japan.”. This is part of what might be called the controversial nature of this family and, by extension, this collection. Alice Jay. who passed away about 30 years ago, and whose ‘stamp’ appears in 4 or 5 of the leather-bounds.
There’s a photo of “Baron Saburu Kurusu” (note the misspelling of his first name), signing an autograph for Shirley Temple on the Official Shirley Temple Site. It is the 36th photo down from the top, in the captioned list, on: http://www.shirleytemple.com/shirleyPhotos.html
Here’s Wikipedia on Saburo Karusu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabur%C5%8D_Kurusu
There are many other searchable links,to find out more about this figure. After the war, Kurusu was exonerated from blame in the Pearl Harbor attack, and was on the staff of General McArthur’s occupation forces. They’d had two daughters born around 1920 who married Americans after the war, who brought them back to the United States. One settled in the Tucson, Arizona area, and these books were handed down to her and her family and made the trip to America presumably in the late 1950’s. The 46 paperback titles (both fiction and non-fiction), were selected carefully for quality and interest. They had been printed in English in Continental Europe (chiefly Leipzig, Germany) in the 1930’s, under the Albatross imprint (among others), purchased by Kurusu while an ambassador to Germany in 1938–40. He or his wife had them bound in either green leather or red Morocco leather, or close facsimile thereof, and sent back to Tokyo. The Kurusu name & home address appears stamped lightly in rose-colored ink on some of the f.e.p. and title pages. The addition of the fine leather covers has turned the paperbacks into hardcover editions, and as such, they are unique. A handsome Kabuki book (described below), has an inscription by Mrs. Kurusu to her daughter; she mentions her friendship with the author. There is an enclosed newspaper obituary in that regard. Altogether, it is a wonderful collection showing the range of reading material collected in English of a Japanese ambassador and his American wife, which must have made good wartime reading.
The collection of books consists of the following: Please see attached photos.
* The 1913 edition of “Swords and Same’ ” This book was republished in 1962, but this is the 1913 original.. (Photos attached of spine and title page!) I have looked on BookFinders.com without success.I looked on ABAA. I looked at auctions and auction records. Nobody has this book. Finally, I found that one 1913 copy in poor to fair condition, with foxing, watering, etc., had sold in an auction for 200 pounds. My copy is very good to fine condition throughout, It is no “ex libris”, it is not marked or stained in any way, there is a bit of sunning to the top of the back cover, and it is illustrated throughout. $600.00
We finally found one other copy that is “out there” Here is the Notice of it being offered for sale by Double-D-Books in Great Britain:
|JOLY, HENRI L. & HOGITARO, INADA (TRANS) Arai Hakuseki: The Sword Book in Honcho Gunkiko, and the Book of Same Ko Hi Sei Gi of Inaba Tsurio
London: Privately Printed, 1913. 1st Limited Edition. Hardcover. Original blue buckram boards with gilt titles on spine, spine very slightly faded and spine ends lightly rubbed, teg others untrimmed, new endpapers, contents clean and bright, illustrated with full page tissue guarded collotype plates with titles printed on guards and numerous in-text figures, folding table at end of ‘The Sword Book…’, last 6 leaves of index with professional paper repair to foredge margins not affecting text. This is number 137 of the original, privately published edition of just 200 copies, tall 8vo 9″ – 10″ tall, xvi + 176 + 33 + 30 pp.
GBP 395.00 [Appr.: EURO 460 US$ 640.46 | JP¥ 52945]
— Double – B – Books Ltd.. Book number: 7619
My copy, however, does not have the 6 leaves (12 pages) of “professional paper repair”, mine is very good to fine, throughout, without any visible flaws or repairs of any kind.)
* Chamberlain (et. al) KO-JI-KI. “Records of Ancient Matters”. Additional Notes by William George Aston. Tokyo, The Asiatic Society of Japan, 1973 8vo. lxxxv, 495pp. 1 folding map. Original cloth, slightly worn. $230.00
* Gorham, Hazel. JAPANESE NETSUKE. Publisher: Yamagata Printing Company, 1957 Yokahoma: Yamagata Printing Company, 1957. Contains 78 pp., two color plates, b&w text illustrations, minor wear only. Presumed First Edition, no edition stated. Decorative Boards. Very Good/No Jacket. 8vo – $29.00
* Osaragi, Jiro. HOMECOMING. Hardcover. Publisher: NY: Knopf, 1954. First American edition translated from the Japanese by Brewster Horwitz with an introduction by Harold Strauss. Near fine in near fine jacket with a closed short tear at front hinge; includes dustjacket $23.00
* Perry, Commodore M.C., Wallach, Sidney (edited and abridged by) and compiled at his request by: Hawks, Francis. NARRATIVE OF THE EXPEDITION OF AN AMERICAN SQUADRON TO THE CHINA SEAS AND JAPAN. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc, 1952. Hardcover. Very Good 1952 Coward-McCann abridged edition. Hardcover, blue cloth binding. 305 pgs; index. $18.00
* Shaver, Ruth M. KABUKI COSTUME. Hardcover. Publisher: Charles E. Tuttle Co., Tokyo, 1966. First Edition. In colorful dustjacket which shows only traces of edge wear. This elegant volume is devoted exclusively to the rich COSTUME of the Kabuki theater. The essence of this fabulous drama and the splendor of its costumes is, according to many, one of the compelling reasons for going to Kabukiza. And this engagingly written and beautifully illustrated book gives Kabuki costume its rightful attention. SIGNED and INSCRIBED on the half-title by Madame Kurusu to her daughter, with mention that she knew the author, Ruth Shaver. Laid-in is a notice of Shaver’s death from a newspaper. This information helps tie the collection to the Kurusus. $300.00
* Statler, Oliver. MODERN JAPANESE PRINTS. Rutland, Vt. & Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle. 1962. Sixth printing. Small quarto. Silver gilt decorated cloth. Fine in price clipped dustjacket. A gorgeous copy of this beautiful and profusely illustrated survey. Introduction by James A. Michener. (Art) IN ORIGINAL BOX with rice-paper label which is slightly torn at one edge. $85.00
Statler, Oliver. THE BLACK SHIP SCROLL : An Account of the Perry Expedition at Shimoda in 1854 and the Lively Beginnings of People-to-People Relations Between Japan & America Publisher: John Weatherhill, 1964. Tokyo, Japan: John Weatherhill. Very Good/Very Good. 1964. Hard Cover. VERY GOOD PLUS IN GOOD dustjacket; second edition after limited edition; oblong octavo; 80 pp (including appendix and numerous full color illustrations by a Japanese eyewitness of the expedition); very top of jacket is worn and slightly torn at spine; else clean tight copy. $25.00
Tiltman, Hessell. THE IMPERIAL HOTEL STORY. Softcover, Japanese traditional “string-bound” method. Stated first edition printed on the occasion of the holding of the 18th Olympiad in Tokyo, 62pp. Tokyo: n.p., 1964 $24.50
* 46 English paperbacks (see photo attached) by authors that include D. H. Lawrence, Andre Malraux and James Joyce, many of which Albatross editions printed in Leipzig, Germany for the Continental market, in the 1930’s. Mr. & Mrs. Kurusu had these books rebound in either green or red morocco leather or a close substitute thereof, when Kurusu was representing Japan and meeting with Hitler, Mussolini, etc. in Germany in 1938–1940. A few of the paperbacks have a light (rose colored) stamp with the Kurusu name and their street address in Tokyo, Japan, on the front end paper or title page. CONDITION IS UNIFORMLY VERY GOOD TO FINE. These books have traveled very well… in most cases, from Europe to Japan and from Japan to Arizona! There is no visible damage, no names, no stains, none are ex-library or scored. A few have tiny faults which are clearly stated below. These are truly unique, “one of a kind” books since no other examples exist of these editions in Red Morocco or Green Leather! HERE ARE MOST OF THEM, ALPHABETIZED BY AUTHOR, with approximate values, abstracted from data in BookFinder.com. More to come!
‘Anonymous [‘By a Gentleman.’] ROMANTIC TALES. Collection of British Authors Volume 568. Tauchnitz Edition, Leipzig. 1861. Rebound in morocco with gilt lettering on spine in approx. 1939. Very good to fine throughout, without annotations, markings, etc. NOT an ex-library volume, and none on this page are ex-lib. Scarce. Cannot find another. $60.00
Arlen, Michael. THE CROOKED CORONET. The Albatross Copyright Edition, Leipzig, Paris & Bologna. March 1938. Paperback rebound in morocco leather, thus making it now a hardcover. Bright gilt lettering on spine. Very good to fine throughout. $30.00
Arlen, Michael. THOSE CHARMING PEOPLE. Penguin, London, 1937. ‘Reprinted September, 1937’ . Second Impression. Paperback rebound in morocco leather, with bright gilt lettering on spine. Very good to fine throughout. $25.00
Armstrong, H.C., LORD OF ARABIA : IBN SAUD. An Intimate Study of a King. Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1938. First publication was 1924, this is the first paper edition. Blue Penguin (biography). 247 pgs +book list. Very good to fine condition throughout, a bit tanned. $35.00
Baldwin, Earl Stanley. ON ENGLAND : AND OTHER ADDRESSES. Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1937. Very good to fine throughout. Yellow cover paperback, rebound in red morocco leather and gilt-stamped lettering on spine. $30.00
Borie, Paul de la. LA CITE DES AMES NEUVES. France. 1931. Used, good to very good throughout. 254 pgs. Paperback that was rebound in green leather with bright gilt lettering on the spine. $35.00
Bramah, Ernest. KAI LUNG’S GOLDEN HOURS. With a Preface by Hilaire Belloc. Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1938. Very good to fine throughout, pages lightly tanned, as are most in the 1930’s Penguin selections. Paperback, rebound in red morocco. Bright gilt lettering on the spine. Only a few copies ‘out there’ of this title. $45.00
Browning, Robert. SELECTED POEMS OF ROBERT BROWNING. Penguin Illustrated Classics, Harmondsworth, 1938. Attractive illustrations. Paperback in very good to fine condition, that was rebound in red morocco binding approx. 1939 and therefore is now a hardcover. $25.00
Buck, Pearl S. FIGHTING ANGEL : PORTRAIT OF A SOUL. Tauchnitz, Leipzig Hamburg & Paris, ‘Copyright September 1937’. Paperback, rebound in Green lather with stamped gilt lettering on spine. Very good condition except first pgs have been creased on the very edge. RARE in this edition — couldn’t find another! $35.00
Cole, G. D. H. PRACTICAL ECONOMICS or STUDIES IN ECONOMIC PLANNING. Penguin Books, London. First Published 1937. Apparently the first edition. Paperback, rebound in red morocco. Stamped gilt lettering on the spine. Very rare treatise compares the economies of the Great Powers on the eve of W.W.II. Germans are termed ‘brigands’, Americans as ‘planless Capitalists’, etc. $45.00
Fabre, J.H. SOCIAL LIFE IN THE INSECT WORLD. Penguin /Pelican, London, 1937. Appears to be first paperback edition. Rebound in green leather. Bright gilt lettering on spine. Illustrated with b&w plates and drawings. Very good to fine throughout. $25.00.
Galsworthy, John. IN CHANCERY. London: Collins, Forty-Eight Pall Mall, no date , paperback, 251 pgs. Rebound in green leather with bright gilt lettering on the spine in approx. 1939 for the Kurusu family, as were all these titles in this section. $40.00
Galsworthy, John. THE MAN OF PROPERTY. Publisher: W.Collins & Sons, London, 1922 presumed. Half-title has: “The Forsyte Saga : The Man of Property”. This is 1st vol. of that series. Very good copy. Rebound in green leather binding with gilt lettering on spine. Pages crisp and binding solid. Hardly opened. 4 pages of ads. after the 315 pages. $50.00
Iles, Francis. BEFORE THE FACT : A MURDER STORY FOR LADIES. The Albatross, Hamburg, Paris, Bologna. 1933. Paperback edition rebound in morocco leather with bright gilt lettering on spine. Very good to fine condition throughout. 279 pgs. No others on the Internet. $60.00
Joyce, James. DUBLINERS. The Albatross, Hamburg, Paris, Bologna. 1932; Very Good condition throughout. This is the a second Impression of the ‘Albatross Edition’ composed in Baskerville type. Bound in green leather, with bright gilt lettering stamped on the spine. $100.00
Lambert, R.S. ART IN ENGLAND. Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, \, 1938 150 pgs plus end-paper notices. Includes 32 photogravure plates. Pelican Books # A38. This copy PRIVATELY LEATHER-BOUND in Red Morocco. . $25.00
D. H. Lawrence. THE LOVELY LADY. The Albatross, Hamburg, Paris, Bologna. 1935; Part of The Albatross Modern Continental Library Series No 97. 184pp. A very good clean copy of this hard-to-find Albatross edition. Second Impression Paperback rebound in red morocco leather. Very Good $35.00
MacDonald, Philip. R.I.P. (Later also known as: ‘MENACE’). Softcover.Publisher: Collins Crime Club, UK, 1937. 1st UK Edition 1937 (December) Paperback VG in VG d/w A good copy of this 1933 mystery by a respected crime author MY COPY, however, is bound in leather. $48.00
Malraux, Andre. LA CONDITION HUMAINE. Paris, Gallimard, 1933, 404 pp, Mine is a privately leather-bound edition of the first 1933 Paris Gallimard -softcover edition, in very good condition throughout. $115.00
Mannin, Ethel. CONFESSIONS AND IMPRESSIONS. Penguin, London. ‘April, 1937’. Second paperback impression. 288 pgs. incl. index. Softcover, rebound in red morocco. About her own life, with sketches of Bertrand Russell, Somerset Maugham, Paul Robeson, Lanchester and Laughton, Otter, and many others. $30.00
Massingham, H.J. and Hugh (editors). THE GREAT VICTORIANS – Two Volumes – I & II. Essays by a variety of authors on eminent Victorians. Pelican (Penguin) London, 1938. First thus. Two paperback books, rebound in green leather. Sold only as a set. $30.00
Maude, Aylmer. THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY. Two Volumes — i & ii, The Early Years and The Later Years. Oxford, 1930. Paperback rebound in green leather with bright gilt lettering on spine. $35.00 set.
Maurois, Andre. ARIEL : A SHELLEY ROMANCE. Penguin, London. 1937 edition. 252 pgw. Blue Penguin paperback, rebound in green leather. Bright gilt lettering on spine. Very good throughout. $30.00
Morgan, Charles. SPARKENBROKE. The Albatross, Leipzig, Paris, Bologna. Copyright May 1937. Second Impression stated. (First was London, 1936). Paperback in very good to fine condition, was rebound in red morocco. Original yellow Albatross paperback cover bound-in. RARE. $75.00
Morgan, Charles. THE FOUNTAIN. The Albatross, Leipzig, Paris, Bologna. Copyright March, 1937. Paperback rebound in morocco leather with gilt lettering stamped on the spine. Very good to fine condition throughout. $30.00.
Mussolini, Benito. MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Hutchinson & Co., London. ND Paperback, rebound in Morocco leather. Bright gilt lettering on the spine. Very good to fine condition throughout. A view into the mind of the first Fascist ruler of the 20th Century. $45.00
Nichols, Beverley. SELF. Penguin, Harmonsworth, 1938. Very good to fine throughout, without signs of wear except some tanning to the pages, as is typical. Another nice, early Penguin — this one a novel. Paperback that was rebound in fine morocco leather with lettering stamped in bright gilt on the spine, like all the others. $30.00
Orczy, Baroness. THE EMPEROR’S CANDLESTICKS. Hodder & Stoughton, New York and London. 256 pgs. Handwritten “November 15, 1915″ . lightly in pencil on top of title page, and stamped in rose: ‘Alice Jay KURUSU / Nagata-cho 2- chome / KOJIMASHI, TOKYO, JAPAN.” Paperback rebound in green leather with bright gilt lettering on spine. $45.00
J.M.D. Pringle. CHINA STRUGGLES FOR UNITY : With 24 Maps. A Penguin “Special”. Harmondsworth, ‘First Published 1939’. Evident 1st Edition, no previous publishing history. Red morocco binding. $40.00
Saki. THE SHORT STORIES OF SAKI. FIRST SERIES. THE SQUARE EGG AND OTHER STORIES. The Albatross. Leipzig, Paris, Bologna. Copyright December 1936 edition. Very good to fine throughout, with a few pages yellowed at edges. Rebound in red morocco with notices as2-sided frontis: “Traveler’s Companion” and “Wind in the Willows”, but orange orig. cover excised. RARE. $60.00
Sitwell, Edith. VICTORIA OF ENGLAND. The Albatross, Hamburg, Paris and Bologna. Copyright Edition. November 1936. 399 pgs. Modern Continental Library. Paperback, rebound in Morocco leather. Few tiny scuff marks near bottom edge. $30.00
Stapledon, Olaf. LAST AND FIRST MEN. Penguin Books, London, 1937. Paperback that was rebound in red morocco. Very good throughout, with a few small marks on first few pages and some edge tanning. $30.00
Tabouis, Genevieve. BLACKMAIL OR WAR. Penguin, Harmondsworth. 1938. Second Printing. Softcover, rebound in red morocco. Illustrated with “40 new cazricatures by Joss of The Star”, mostly profiles of famous men of the day, incl. Roosevelt, Stalin, Hitler, Selasie, Blum, Beck, Franco, etc. $30.00
Thoene, Peter (pseud.), MODERN GERMAN ART. Translated from the German by Charles Fullman. With an Introduction by Herbert Read. With 32 plates. Very good to fine. Rebound in morocco leather. $25.00
Thoreau, Henry David. WALDEN, OR LIFE IN THE WOODS. Penguin Illustrated Classic. Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1938. Introduction by Harrison. Very good to fine condition, with striking cover and title + frontis graphics. Paperback, rebound in morocco leather, with bright gilt lettering on spine. $30.00
H.G. Wells A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Leipzig & Paris: Tauchnitz, Bernhard. 1923. Tauchnitz Edition. $30.00
…and 10 more leather-bounds that I have yet to describe but soon will. I would like to sell this collection, which includes the rebound titles and ALL the Japan-related books above, as a whole, and am asking $2,500. I am willing to consider legitimate and reasonable offers. If no sale of the entire Kurusu collection materializes, I will be glad to break it down into its component books in about a month’s time. IF You are seeing this (by then) archived blog item in or after JUNE 2011, then I have chosen not to offer this as a collection, and all the individual books in it are available for sale at the marked prices. You can reach me by writing email@example.com I will reply promptly.