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Shūsaku Endō Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Sea and Poison (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Wonderful Fool (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Volcano (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Girl I Left Behind (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Foreign Studies (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Silence (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Life of Jesus (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Song of Sadness (1977) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
When I Whistle (1979) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Samurai (1980) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Scandal (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Deep River (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Kiku's Prayer (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Stained Glass Elegies (1984) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Final Martyrs (1993) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Five By Echo (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Plays

The Golden Country (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


The popular Japanese author, Shūsaku Endō was born on March 27, 1923, in Tokyo. He was one of the most recognized authors and novelists during his time. The interest in writing was developed in his childhood itself. When he was studying at the Keio University in 1943, the World War II took place which hindered with the interest in his studies. Having developed an interest in French Catholic authors, Endo moved to the discipline of writing and lecturing in that field itself. He lectured and wrote many novels in that period, i.e., the 1950s- 1960s and won many awards for the latter.

His novels were based on the chief theme of ‘Christianity’ as he was baptized as a Catholic in his childhood. Other features which he added in his books related mainly to his personal life and experiences. He was sick and hospitalized for around 2 years due to tuberculosis. He had also mentioned about this incident in one of his writings. Shūsaku Endō won the ‘Order of Culture’ in 1995 and died the following year in a hospital due to hepatitis. He was recognized in the major group of popular writers known as the ‘Third Generation’ who made a major influence on their writings after the World War II.

Books and Writings:-

Silence:
Shūsaku Endō had written many novels in his lifetime and the most popular one was ‘Silence’. Having been called “one of the twentieth century’s finest novels” and “Endo’s supreme achievement”, this novel helped him gain the Tanizaki Prize in 1996. The book revolves around the hardships and his views of suffering regarding Japanese Christians. It is a novel based on the concrete theme of apostasy told from the viewpoint of a young Portuguese priest, Rodrigues. When he goes to Japan with his companion Garrpe in the early 17th century, he finds out that the Christians are forced to abandon their religion and killed if they refuse. Endo hits the message of ‘fitting of Christians’ and accepting them at all places are ambiguous. He strongly portrays his perspective and hardships which he faced in his life being a Japanese Christian.

Movie Adaptations:
There were many adaptations of this book into movies. ‘Chinmoku’ was a movie based on the novel ‘Silence’ directed by Masahiro Shinoda and released in the year 1971. Martin Scorcese, an American film director took on the project of making a movie based on this novel in 2007. After finalizing the star cast of the movie in 2015, which comprised of Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Issei Ogata and Ken Watanabe, the movie will be releasing on December 23, 2016.

Apart from the movie adaptations, the novel was also converted into a poem and music for an opera by poet Teizo Matsumura which was played in the year 2000 at the New National Theatre in Tokyo.

Wonderful Fool:
Another path breaking novel in his writing career is Wonderful Fool in which Shūsaku Endō portrays the character Gaston Bonaparte, inspired from Napoleon Bonaparte. The novel appeared first in the famous newspaper ‘Asahi Shinbun’ in 1959. It revolves around the main character Gaston, who visits his childhood pen friend in Tokyo. His character has been portrayed as an extremely kind, polite and soft mouthed person who can win over anybody’s heart and get help whenever needed.

Gaston sends a letter to his pen friend Takamori and his sister and lives at their place for a while. After having a series of adventures in Japan such as befriending a stray dog, accidently helping a thieving prostitute to escape from a hotel and being an assistant of an old fortune teller, Gaston gets kidnapped by a gangster named Endo. Gaston tries to talk Endo out of his evil plans to kill two old army officers and explains that he won’t get any good out of this. With a series of running and chasing, Endo tracks down the victim and sets to find out the buried treasure in a mountain. During the climax, Gaston dies in stopping the fight between the army officer and Endo when he tries to save them.

The novel portrays the brave and naïve character of Gaston who was on a mission in Japan but fails. All of this is written by Gaston and is found by Takamori and his sister. This novel also displays Shūsaku Endō’s personal beliefs in Christianity. He portrays Gaston as a character of a wise fool like Jesus who sacrifices his own life to teach his countrymen.

The novel ‘Wonderful Fool’ is a part of the many other novels which speak of Endo’s strong beliefs in Christianity and why it can fit at any place such as The Samurai, Silence and also short stories collections such as Stained – Glass Elegies and The Final Martyrs.

Other writings:
Other popular novels or writings in the career of Shūsaku Endō include Deep River, The Sea and Poison, Scandal, When I Whistle, A Life of Jesus, When I Whistle, The Girl I Left Behind, Five by Endo and much more.

His work has been translated into English for about 40 years and his works have been compared to those of Graham Greene and he has been coined the term ‘Japanese Graham Greene’. Many of his works are accepted by the Western as well as the Eastern people but some feel that his novels are misleading. With him relating the term ‘mud swamp’ to Japan in abstract forms in related to his religion, he has been pointed out to follow and expand his adopted religion through his writings and novels. Since all of his books related to the theme of Christianity in a foreign land, he was assumed to be struggling to get out his thoughts on his religion and why it should be accepted.

With winning many awards such as the Akutagawa Prize in 1955 for ‘White Men’, the Tanikazi Prize in 1966 for ‘Silence’, Order of St. Sylvester in 1971 and Order of Culture in 1995, Shūsaku Endō has influenced millions with his masterpieces during his interesting writing career.

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