WILDE, Oscar. Hisao HONMA, translator. ~ De Profundis, [in Japanese, in Waseda Bungaku, Meiji 44-nen, 10-gatsu no Maki. Tokyo: Waseda Bungaku-sha, Meiji 44 [October 1911].
8vo (224 × 152 mm), pp. 200-248 in the complete October issue of the journal. Original paper wrappers, stapled, as issued. Covers browned and spotted and quite fragile, with minor loss to head and tail of spine, text in good condition.
First edition in Japanese of De Profundis, printed in the October 1911 issue of Waseda Bungaku, and representing the first significant Wilde text translated into Japanese and an important stimulus to the subsequent enthusiasm for Wilde in Japan. Waseda scholar and translator, Honma Hisao was instrumental in this process. Wilde was certainly known in Japan during his lifetime, receiving occasional notice in the Japanese press, but only one essay of his appeared in Japanese during this time, a translation of The Soul of Man under Socialism, printed in 1891 but which failed to attract great attention. Thereafter, an abridged translation from the German of Salome appeared in 1909, followed by Honma’s complete translation of De Profundis from the original English text edited and published by Robert Ross in 1905. ‘While De Profundis is known as the work which prompted a re-evaluation of Oscar Wilde [in England], for Japanese readers, it served rather as an introduction to Oscar Wilde’ (Hirata).