The Wild Geese is a novel written by the Japanese writer Mori Ogai, published between 1911 and 1913 in Japan and in the year 1959 in America. Initially, the novel was published as a series and then later, as it was translated it was compiled into a single book.
The action takes place in Japan in the 1880s and it is generally considered as being a historical novel. The action takes place in an important period in the history of Japan as the country developed and changed rapidly. The action takes place at the beginning of the Meiji period. What characterized this period was a change is the form of governing of the country and the country opening its doors to the Western World. Thus, the former conservative and traditional Japanese society became influenced more and more by Western ideas as customs that changes the country forever.
The novel tells the story if a rich man who decides to take a mistress, a young woman who tries to help her aging father. The mistress is unaware of the fact that her benefactor is still married and when she fiends the truth she fells conflicted. The man’s wife also suffers when she finds that her husband took a much younger mistress but instead of leaving him she develops a passion of her own and falls in love with a young student.
The novel became slowly more popular in Japan and worldwide and it was also adapted into a movie in 1953. While the plot of the movie is a little bit different than the plot of the novel it still follows the same plot.
Both the movie and the book became rapidly successful both because of the social elements discussed in the novel and because the intrigue analyzed is presented in a refreshing way.