Once again, I would just like to say that all names is done in English style, with the family names last. This is a contrast to the venerable sensei's nodes, which are done in the Japanese style with the family name coming first. His name is also spelled Mori Ogai (probably the most common way you'll see the name spelled in English-speaking countries), but I am taking the letter for letter romanization of his name.
Ougai Mori and Soseki Natsume are considered to be most important authors of the Meiji Era. Ougai is analytical and logical, a counterpoint Soseki's works which focus more on the psychology and the emotions of the characters. We can see which one the Japanese value more, Soseki is on the thousand yen bill (equivalent to the American ten dollar bill) while Ougai is on...nothing. Although supposedly the council that decides this kind of thing had a tough time choosing between the two.
He was born on February 17 in 1862 (As reckoned by the Western calendar system. In Eastern style it is January 19). His given name was actually Rintarou, but decided to follow the Meiji fashion at the time by taking up a different pen name.
Unlike Soseki, Ougai is born from a rather well-to-do family. As a result, he does not have to struggle with a class inferiority complex or with financial difficulties as Soseki did. As a child, he is heavily educated in the classics, which consists a lot of Confucian works. As a result, many of his works are written in the literary style of the time, which was a bit like using all kanji but with a Japanese syntax.
As his education progresses, he also begins studying European languages as well. He eventually follows in his father's footsteps and enters the Medical Department at Tokyo University. After graduation he joins the army as a medical officer, and is sent to many places in Europe due to the fact he has studied foreign languages. This also heavily influences his writings, as many of his stories are set in Europe or involve European characters (who may or may not be in Japan).
Ougai writes prolifically throughout his life and is well rewarded for this. He is made professor at Keio University as well as head of the Imperial Museum and Library. He eventually passes away on July 9, 1922 as a result of kidney disease and pulmonary tuberculosis, and his grave is located at Zenrinji in Mitaka. On it is simply written Rintarou Mori, as in accordance with his wishes.
His works include:
(Half a Day, it is said that Ougai's wife
hated this work while Yukio Mishima
(Youth, Ougai's first full-length novel. Could have been written in response to Soseki
(A historical biography)
J. Donald Rimer
and Donald Keene
have both translated his works. There are also many more than the few I've listed here.