The Wild Geese Author:Ogai Mori, Kingo Ochiai (Translator), Sanford Goldstein (Translator) Writing near the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912), the author of The Wild Geese recognized the difficulty of solving one of Japan's major problems, the adoption of Western values and the preservation of her own. He lived at a time when Japan was becoming increasingly aware of external influences; he was to reflect on those influences in his c... more »areer as a major figure in modern Japanese literature. He wrote The Wild Geese as Japan reached the end of the exciting Meiji period and of her transition into the modern world, capturing the flavor of the era and preserving it for generations to come.
Using the pen name Ogai Mori (born Rintaro Mori, 1862-1922) the author published Gan, or The Wild Geese, in twelve issues (1911-1913) of "The Pleiades". The novel focuses on a usurer and his wife, a poor old man and his daughter, a student and his mistress. Duty seems to submerge the individual soul, symbolically represented by the unrestrained flock of birds.But not all wild geese can fly, and in Ogai's novel there are several who cannot.
For the Japanese concerned with the traditions of his own culture, The Wild Geese recaptures the earlier Tokyo, the old Edo in the beginning decades of the Meiji period. But even Western readers will appreciate the detailed route of Okada's walks, the environs of the old Tokyo University, and the lonely slope called Muenzaka. Ogai records the activities of university students, their boardinghouse lives, their bookstore browsing, their moments of escape. Storekeepers, strolling performers, servants, geisha, policemen - Ogai gives his readers glimpses of these, genre paintings of nineteenth-century Japan, portraits past and even present.
The Tuttle edition was first published in 1959, and the 1991 edition is its eighteenth printing, ISBN 0804810702.« less