Between cultures. Mori Ōgai 1862-1922

A new permanent exhibition for the Humboldt alumnus from East Asia

Image 1
  • Blick in neue Dauerausstellung MOG
    Martina Kopp/MOG

    Blick in neue Dauerausstellung MOG

  • Blick in die Dauerausstellung
    Beate Wonde

    Blick in die Dauerausstellung

In 2017, the Mori-Ōgai Memorial at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin reopened after lengthy renovation work, and the German- and Japanese-language permanent exhibition "Between Cultures" attracted attention just in time for the 250th anniversary of Wilhelm von Humboldt's birth. The exhibition elaborates on Mori Ōgai's multifaceted work and his relationship with Berlin, placing it in the context of the intensive scientific and cultural relations between Germany and Japan.

In the mid-19th century, Japan opened up at the urging of the states of Europe and North America, after the country's extensive isolation had lasted for more than two hundred years. The island kingdom faced the challenge of transforming itself into a modern nation-state within a few decades in order to assert itself in the "stream of world history."

Education and science were at the center of the reforms that permeated all areas of social life. Foreign specialists were called to Japan, where they established basic structures of the educational system. At the same time, young students were sent abroad to acquire new knowledge or to perfect their skills. Approximately 750 of them enrolled at the "Berlin University" between 1870 and 1914. After their return, these bridge builders reached influential positions in education, culture, politics, administration, business and science.

Among them was Mori Ōgai. In approaching another culture, he not only gained a new understanding of himself, but also became familiar with new concepts of state and religion as well as of art and science. In this sense, his experiences are paradigmatic for a generation of Japanese intellectuals who were searching for a new identity in the tension between Asia and Europe during the transition to modernity.

The Mori-Ōgai Memorial sees itself in this tradition of working between cultures. It explores the life and work of this symbolic figure of German-Japanese relations and the complex encounters between Japan and Europe at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Runtime: from March 2017

Price: €5.00

Reduced price: €3.00

Takes place here:

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