Review of “Silence” by Shūsaku Endō

Today marks the 420th anniversary of the twenty-six Japanese martyrs of Nagasaki in 1597 under the Tokugawa shogunate. Shūsaku Endō’s novel, Silence, takes place during the shogunate’s persecution of Christians in the 1640s when many Japanese Christians died for the faith. The controversial nature of the novel and the film has yielded negative reviews which claim the message of Endō’s work is the justification of apostasy and positive reviews which praise the moral ambiguity inherent in the novel devoid of clear black and white solutions.1 Both interpretations are valid for a surface level reading of Silence but there is a depth to the novel missed in many interpretations.2 Continue reading

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