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Five by Endo

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Five wonderful stories by the Japanese master. Winner of every major Japanese literary prize, his work translated around the globe, Shusaku Endo (1923-1996) is a great and unique figure in the literature of the twentient century. "Irrevocably enmeshed in Japanese culture, he is by virtue of his religion [Endo was Roman Catholic] irrevocably alienated from it" (Geoffrey O'B ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by New Directions Publishing Corporation
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Japanese Fiction
203rd out of 237 books — 167 voters
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Thought-Provoking Christian Literature
28th out of 87 books — 24 voters

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Community Reviews

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Ben Loory
just plain great. some of the best stories i've read in ages. piercingly sad but somehow lightly done and beautiful. every story seemed almost accidentally perfect, just effortlessly tossed off, just happening to fall so true. "japanese in warsaw" especially.

picked this off a shelf in the used bookstore by accident; never even heard of this guy before. crazy world.
A small book of only 84 pages, Five by Endo is a collection of 5 short stories that explore, among others, Christianity, death and history.

The first short story is Unzen, which follows Suguro, an author, as he travels to visit the site where Christians were tortured and executed in 17th century Japan. As he looks around, he is also making a spiritual journey, trying to identify his own beliefs.

Next is A Fifty-year-old Man, a story about how Chiba faces life, and how he deals with news that his b
I really wish this would have been called Twenty-eight by Endo but then the title wouldn't have appeared so zen and balanced as Five by Endo. I loved this small collection of shorts... melancholy, introspective, and so very refreshing. Nearly all of the stories dealt with old age, death, and faith... or a struggle with one's faith.

Unzen touched on the torture and martyrdom of Christians in seventeenth-century Japan. A Fifty-year-old Man introduces a Mr Chiba who while taking ballroom dancing to
This is a collection of five short stories which deal very much with the themes that Endo always deals with: christianity in Japan, Japanese foreigners soul-searching abroad, interconnection of animal and human lives and even particular details like growing up with a pet in Manchuria and leaving it or Kikujiro the weak-willed informer from Silence. The last "story" is in fact the first chapter of Deep River.

I must confess that before reading this book I already read The Sea and Poison, Silence a
Gertrude & Victoria
Five by Endo are reprsentative works of Endo Shusaku. The common theme among this small collection is how people cope with death and dying, whether it be there own or that of close relatives or others. It delves into the psychology of those affected, and the implications of the decisions made.

As most people familiar with Endo know, he was a writer with a faith in Christ. Despite this fact, he approaches and presents religious themes, among others, more objectively than most people, who do not kn
Five by Endo is a collection of five short stories by Endo (Endo, Shusaku) and a great way to begin a reading relationship with the author.
For me, the best story in this collection is "The Box," but the story "The Case of Isobe" is a close second. The edition I have is translated into English by Van C. Gessel who is a scholar in East Asian Studies and Japanese. Gessel is also one of the main translators of Endo's work, which was important for me in choosing which translation of Five by Endo I wo
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Unlike many Christian authors, Endo's works are never preachy. His characters are human beings -- men buying prostitutes every night while overseas, a wife who doesn't care about her husband's beloved dog, etc. Yet somehow all the stories allow the characters to show some goodness.
Very insightful and tangible.
This is a book of 5 short but by no means simple stories. In 'Unzen', a student covers the journey taken by Christian martyrs up Mt Unzen, where where they were tortured and finally killed. In 'A Fifty-Year-Old Man', Mr Chiba's latest hobby is learning ballroom dancing, but he soon has to face the death of his dog and his brother. In 'Japanese in Warsaw', 10 Japanese businessmen go on a trip to Poland and ignore the history of the country, dislike the food, are only interested in Polish prostitu ...more
A NYTBR reviewer wrote that Endo’s fiction has the “qualities of unsentimental sympathy.” I wish I’d come up with this description. If I had, I’d stop here; it really says about all that needs be said of these stories, but I’m in a musing, reflective mood, so I’ll continue.

I suppose it would be cliché to say Japanese writer’s work has quality of haiku, so I won’t, but the spareness and quiet but concentrated focus on smallest events in these stories do create effect of reading a haiku (so I gues
Eric Black
Sober, chilling, tender, and melancholy: stories of war, mysticism, Christianity, persecution and martyrdom, hypocrisy, debauchery, shame, forgiveness, death, and reincarnation. Easily read in one sitting.
a bit disappointing, probably because I often have a hard time with the short story format.a common them in these 5 short stories is also death.
“Winner of every major Japanese literary prize, his work translated around the globe, Shusaku Endo (1923-1996) is a great and unique figure in the literature of the twentieth century”, to quote Goodreads. But he was unique in the sense that he was Roman Catholic, definitely not that common in the world Japanese authors.

my full review is here:
Masterful Japanese writer, a moralist, with a focus on Japanese history, especially the advent of Christianity in the 17th & 18th centuries.
Julia Curtis
These five short stories were well written, however they did not hold my interest. I'm not exactly sure why, but when I read a short story, I always look for a great twist at the end. None of these had what I was looking for, so.. yeah. A bit disappointing. However, if you don't care about a short story twist, then I would give the book a read!
Richard Janzen
Endo is a unique Japanese author that is very much worth reading. He is a Japanese Christian, and it is fascinating how he interprets Christianity to fit in his context. I would definity recommend books like Silence or Wonderful Food. These 5 short stories give a small taste of the themes of Endo, and offer a nice introduction.
A collection of short stories, which were all interesting; but what turned out to be most interesting was that one of the stories turned out to be the opening chapter to Deep River, and elements from the other stories have populated or parallelled Deep River and other Endo books I've read.
Kevin Estabrook
Besides a bit of Flannery O'Connor, I haven't read many short stories written by Catholics. After reading, Endo's "Silence" I wanted to read more of his stories, and I found these five-short stories delightful, yet poignant, with great emotional and spiritual depth.
Sara Hosseini
به هر جون کندنی بود تمومش کردم ارزششو داشت.
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Shusaku ENDO (遠藤 周作), born in Tokyo in 1923, was raised by his mother and an aunt in Kobe where he converted to Roman Catholicism at the age of eleven. At Tokyo's Keio University he majored in French literature, graduating BA in 1949, before furthering his studies in French Catholic literature at the University of Lyon in France between 1950 and 1953. A major theme running through his books, which ...more
More about Shūsaku Endō...
Silence Deep River The Samurai The Sea and Poison Scandal

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