Previously unknown Ogai Mori manuscript identified at University of Tokyo library

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The recently identified manuscript by Ogai Mori is exhibited at the Tokyo University’s General Library in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

Two pages of a previously unknown manuscript written by literary great Ogai Mori (1862-1922) for what appears to be a lecture or critical biography of an Italian poet have been identified, the University of Tokyo Library System announced on Wednesday.

The unfinished manuscript on 19th century Italian poet Gabriele Rossetti has about 800 characters, written in sumi black ink on the ruled paper used by the medical school of the Japanese Imperial Army.

The pages were discovered between the pages of a German magazine that was categorized under general publications and kept in a storage room, when the library was putting materials in order several years ago.

Mori’s vast private collection of books was donated to the university library after his death and are currently being kept in a section of its own, but the manuscript had not been listed in the collection catalog.

Mori gave lectures on Rossetti, who moved to Britain in the mid-19th century, and his artist son from 1897-98 at the Tokyo Fine Arts School, the predecessor of the Tokyo University of Arts’ Faculty of Fine Arts.

“This tells us that when it came to art history, Ogai took particular note of individuals, rather than their works and styles,” said Tokyo University associate professor Tomoyuki Deguchi, who specializes in contemporary Japanese literature. “This is a resource that links with his works based on historical facts in later years.”

The draft is currently on display at the university’s General Library in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, through Nov. 22.