More Endo

You’re gonna be so sick of me soon… But I promise this one isn’t about the history of Christianity in Japan. 😅 I can’t wait to start it—esarkaye gave it a 4 on GoodReads, and I’ve been having great success lately with Endo’s work.

Shūsaku Endō’s The Golden Country – More Reflections on Silence

The Golden Country: A Play About Christian Martyrs in Japan (1970) is a retelling of Endō’s earlier novel Silence (1966). (You can watch my three-part video review of Silence on YouTube, if you like.) Both stories follow the trials of Father Ferreira, a Portuguese missionary to Japan in the early 1600s. The character of Ferreira is based on real-life Cristóvão Ferreira, who, after 24 years of missionary work, renounced his faith under torture. He took on a Japanese name and continued to live in Japan as a writer, with evidence suggesting he helped his former persecutors interrogate other Christians. Endō takes the known historical facts and tries to envision what was going on in Ferreira’s mind in the days leading up to his decision.

This play takes the main themes of Silence and condenses them into play format. Is God silent during believers’ suffering? Are some people just born with more moral strength, and others born “weak”? Is Japan a “mudswamp”—an impossible landscape to grow the seeds of faith—or is it the “golden country,” a land full of promise? And is a picture of Christ just a picture, or does it hold more meaning?

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