Being a full-time author, downing beers and rushing to the toilet preoccupied literary giant Mori Ogai for much of the time, so much so, he kept detailed records of his efforts to relieve himself.

This little-known aspect of Ogai forms the backdrop to a special exhibition of his life titled “Literature and Beer” that is now under way at the Mori Ogai Memorial Museum in the capital’s Bunkyo Ward.

Ogai, one of the leading writers of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), was the genius behind works such as “Maihime” (The Dancing Girl), “Abe Ichizoku” (The Abe Clan) amd "Gan" (The Wild Geese).

He died in 1922 aged 60.

Ogai, a committed beer drinker, also wrote a research paper that showed there is a clear correlation between drinking beer and passing urine, using himself as a guinea pig.

Ogai’s father was hugely concerned about his son's drinking habits.

But Ogai’s confidence in his drinking abilities was shattered after he went to study in Germany at the age of 22 as a medical officer of the Imperial Japanese Army in 1884.

He was shocked to witness a German chug 25 mugs of beer, each one the equivalent of 500 milliliters.

“The amount of beer (he drank) was astonishing,” Ogai later observed when he referred to the episode in “Doitsu Nikki” (Diary in Germany).

Ogai tried to emulate the German individual, but gave up after downing just three mugs.

In Japan at the time, bottled beer had just become available at restaurants that served Western-style food and beef dishes called “gyu-nabe.”

“Drinking draft beer from a beer mug was not very common at the time,” said Haruna Iwasa, the museum's librarian and curator.

Becoming hooked on beer more than ever, Ogai decided to keep track of the correlation between alcohol intake and calls of nature.

For the experiment, Ogai set aside a day when he would not eat and drink only beer, wine and water, which he did on 10 occasions for each.

He also tested the method on Terumaro Kato, a physician who was also studying in Germany at the time and later became a court physician at the Imperial Household Ministry, today’s Imperial Household Agency.

German university employees also got dragooned into the experiment.

As the result, Ogai proved that alcohol makes a person want to urinate.

He wrote a research paper in German, titled “Diuretic effect of beer.” He got a thunderous ovation at an academic conference, where he presented the research results.

The exhibit presents Ogai’s life as a prodigious beer drinker. It also explores the ways other prominent literary figures and works of literature influenced the wider acceptance of beer in Japanese society.

The exhibition runs through Oct. 6. Admission is 300 yen ($2.80).