It is known that when Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922, he was unable to attend the ceremonies in Stockholm in December of that year because of an earlier commitment to visit Japan at the same time. In Japan, Einstein gave a speech entitled “How I Created the Theory of Relativity” at Kyoto University on 14 December 1922. This was an impromptu speech to students and faculty members, made in response to a request by K. Nishida, professor of philosophy at Kyoto University. Einstein himself made no written notes. The talk was delivered in German and a running translation was given to the audience on the spot by J. Ishiwara, who had studied under Arnold Sommerfeld and Einstein from 1912 to 1914 and was a professor of physics at Tohoku University. Ishiwara kept careful notes of the lecture, and published his detailed notes (in Japanese) in the monthly Japanese periodical kaizo in 1923; Ishiwara's notes are the only existing notes of Einstein's talk. More recently T. Ogawa published a partial translation to English from the Japanese notes in Japanese Studies in the History of Science.
This translation of a lecture given in Kyoto on 14 December 1922 sheds light on Einstein's path to the theory of relativity and offers insights into many other aspects of his work on relativity.