As a seeker after truth, and as a missionary
Shusaku Endo who appeared on TV always had a smiling expression, and his image was the generous person who has full of humor. Such image was strong. I thought so until I investigated his career at least. But half of Shusaku Endo's life was the battle with illness. He was infected with tuberculosis at the place of France to study abroad at the age of 29. Since medical technology of those days was behind, he was not able to make illness recover completely. It leaved trace till the future.
"White Man" written when he was 32 years old won the Akutagawa Prize. He announced one pure literature work after another dealing with faith such as "Domina of the Moonlight", "Sea and Poison", etc,. He also announced the humorous novel "Wonderful Fool" and "Hechimakun" at the same time.
Shusaku Endo is in the hospital at the age of 37 for a tuberculosis relapse. By 38 years old of the next year, he underwent three major operations. Although he fell into the cardiac standstill temporarily, he recovered miraculously. Before this operation, he saw the dream of image trampling made from paper. After the operation, a hill myna which he loved died like a scapegoat for him. Experience at this time affected "Silence." It was useful for him to confirm the philosophical background of this masterpiece.
Because of living fighting against his disease for a long time, he worsened liver. He was troubled by diabetes. He also came down with a kidney disease in process of the medical treatment. He was devoted to undergo artificial dialysis day after day. Dialysis was performed five times every night. He passed the life in which a 2000 cc medical fluid was poured once into his body. Finally he underwent an operation by cerebral hemorrhage. And he passed away with unconsciousness. It was a struggle against disease which is beyond our imagination.
A certain people evaluate the serious works of Shusaku Endo highly, but they evaluate low the humorous novels like "Wonderful Fool" and "Hechimakun." Is it appreciation sure enough? I doubt extremely.
So to speak, Shusaku Endo is existence like a Father. The pure literature work was written as a "seeker after truth" who investigates the way of faith as a Catholic. On the other hand, there are people who have no faith or have shallow faith. Shusaku Endo wrote the work which has familiarity more intelligibly, in order to convey a Christianity sense of values to them. The works which realized it were a humorous novel and an essay. It is my conclusion. Activity by an amateur theatrical group would also be the same meaning.
But he has not aimed at inviting people eagerly so that they become believers. I think that it was his meaning to consider the meaning in which man lives or to feel joy, anger, humor and pathos together.
When I was a high school student, the work read first was "Woderful Fool." This novel has moved me.
Then, I progressed to "Sea and Poison" and "Silence." Probably, it would be as Shusaku Endo's aim, although I did not become a Catholic.
Finally, I recommend his last work, "Deep River", to people who want to know Shusaku Endo's religion view. Many people may think that they are as follows. "Is this the same to a world-view of the Buddhism?." He may think that the Catholic view of the world of Europe, and a Japanese tradition and sense of values should be united. Best way to know truth is that you read this novel.
Refer "Recommended books" page.