Abe, Kobo. Hakobune Sakura-Maru [The Ark Sakura]. Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1984. First edition. Octavo; 333pp.; black cloth with red titles and panel design, in slipcase. A fine, as new copy in a very good slipcase, which lacks the original tissue paper covering, and shows partial fading to the spine of the red bellyband.
The rear endpaper (which is to say the front endpaper, the book being bound back-to-front in the traditional Japanese style) has been signed, dated (November 8, 1984), and inscribed by Abe to long-time Knopf senior editor Charles Elliott. The inscription is entirely in Japanese, although Abe has also added his first name in a stylized Arabic script.
Hakobune Sakura-Maru concerns an archetypal Abe protagonist: a recluse who, obsessed with the imminent end of the world via nuclear holocaust, constructs an "ark" inside of an abandoned mine, only to see it invaded by a horde of other outcasts. The English version of The Ark Sakura, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter and published in 1988, was praised by Edmund White in the New York Times as "grim and impressive, sickening and memorable." A nice copy of the first Japanese edition, made especially exciting by the presence of Abe's uncommon signature.