Ye Rim Won
|In 1984, under the guidance of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a memorial room was created for the Japanese poet and doctor Mori Ogai at the corner house of 39 Luisenstrasse and 32 Marienstrasse in East Berlin. It was painstakingly furnished in the style of the late 19th century. The former medical student, born into an old Japanese aristocratic family in 1887, only tolerated his over- familiar landlord for a few months. Mori Ogai's room in the boarding house, now all that remains of his accomodation in Berlin, has become the heart of a tiny memorial site. By means of a few old photos, display cases, a small library and extracts from his work and diaries, we are given an insight into the Japanese man's life. On the threshold of the 20th century, Mori Ogai was able to see his native land through European eyes and simultaneously to measure the European way of life by the moral and cultural values of his country and position. His prolific literary output stems both from this exciting experience and from his enthusiasm for European poetry. Among Mori Ogai's work are a large number of translations of European classics. In 1913,
in his translation Goethe's Faust was published for the first time in Japan. The Mori-Ogai memorial site is part of the Japanology department at the Humboldt University. It is a place of worship for Japanese visitors who find it a surprisingly familiar place in the strange city. It is worth going to visit this little temple of Japanese culture for the commemorative room, changing exhibitions and a publication named "First Edition," with original student translations of various Japanese forms of literature.