This week I’m taking a look at the Japanese version of the Dungeons & Dragons basic set. This is the first edition of D&D in Japanese, published in June 1985. By many accounts it was a popular and desirable item, though some also remember it as being expensive. The November 1987 issue of Tactics magazine carried a Yellow Submarine ad offering the red box for ¥4800 which was about 34 USD. For comparison the TSR Hobby Shop was selling the English language red box for 12 USD in those days.
Reading the Japanese translation drives home how much terminology was introduced by D&D. The translator, Masayuki Onuki, usually handles it by writing an approximation of the English word in katakana, in effect borrowing the word into Japanese. Sometimes the term rendered two or even three times, e.g. 強さ (Strength, ストレングス).
The box came with a set of six ivory polyhedral dice, which don’t match the multi-colored dice pictured on the back of the box.
• Players’ Manual, letter sized saddle stitched softcover, 60 pp.
• Dungeon Master’s Rulebook, letter sized saddled stitched softcover, 56 pp.
• Players Sheet, letter sized sheet
• Players’ Manual Errata, letter sized sheet (1st printing only)
• Dungeon Mster’s Rulebook, letter sized sheet (1st printing only)
• 6 polyhedral dice