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Shūsaku Endō
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4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,898 Ratings  ·  854 Reviews
Silence is a novel of historical fiction by Japanese author Shusaku Endo. It is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to seventeenth century Japan, who endured persecution in the time of Kakure Kirishitan ("Hidden Christians") that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion.

Written mostly in the form of a letter by its central character, the theme of a silent God who a
Published (first published 1966)
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Roxana-Mălina Chirilă Booklover, I can't know for sure if my hunch is true, but your question strikes me as very American. I come from a country where the best education…moreBooklover, I can't know for sure if my hunch is true, but your question strikes me as very American. I come from a country where the best education you can get is in state universities. If I'm not much mistaken, the same is true in Japan. You see, education isn't just a personal asset - if the people in a city will be better educated, they will be able to do more, produce more, and improve the life of those around them.

(Alternately, you could be Russian - but I think in Russia the government is more likely to demand, rather than pay for what it wants.)

Japan is very much aware that education can be a national asset: their borders were closed until 1868, when they were still a feudal empire. When they opened their borders, they realized they were behind in all sorts of ways, culturally, technologically etc. Perhaps others would have been overwhelmed, but not Japan: they sent students abroad, brought them back to teach others, invited foreigners to teach, started the industrial revolution and so on.

While Susaku Endo wasn't part of the first wave of students who got scholarships, the point remains: students are given access to tools in order to improve themselves and therefore improve things back home, rather than to promote any specific political or patriotic purpose.

So, to answer your question: we can't know for sure, but it's highly unlikely that they did. They'd want him to write well and improve Japanese literature, surely, but I doubt they'd micro-manage their writers and artists in that particular way.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 12, 2011 Mariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my day depends on the setting sun
Recommended to Mariel by: george michael's faith
This book ruined my life. Sorta true. It's the catchiest review intro I'm going to come up with. I'm afraid to review this book and remember why it set me off to feeling hopeless and stupid. Band aid scenario. Pull it off!

I don't have the religion or spiritual kinds of faith. I'm dyslexic when it comes to religion, maybe. My mind jumbles the meanings and I just don't speak that language of KNOWING what you can't see and this is good and this is always bad. I don't look at someone who does have i
Harun Harahap
Saya telah menganut sebuah keyakinan, lalu mengapa kau mengusikku?

Pertanyaan inilah yang berada di benak saya ketika membaca novel ini. Saya adalah salah satu orang yang tidak menyutujui Kristenisasi, Islamisasi atau apapun itu teruatama kepada orang yang telah menganut keyakinan. Dengan iming-iming hadiah atau bahkan pemaksaan, semua hal tersebut saya anggap tidak benar.

Ada kejadian yang menimpa saya beberapa minggu yang lalu. Di tengah percakapan antara saya dan klien, dia(klien) setelah men
Laura Leaney
Aug 14, 2015 Laura Leaney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an intense - rather grim - epistolary novel written mostly from the vantage point of a Roman Catholic priest, a missionary to Japan, early in the 17th century. The events are based on historical facts and the characters on actual people. The succinct introduction by translator William Johnston reveals that the novel begins after the period when daiymo Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who had once allowed the Christian missionaries much privilege, had twenty-six Japanese and European Christians crucif ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 03, 2013 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
Mind-blowing. It tells about the 17th century Japan when the Tokugawa shogunate was in power. During this time, practicing Catholics were called Kakure Kirishitan ("Hidden Christians") because they had to do their religious rituals underground. This was also the time of "fumie" a metal plate bearing the images of Jesus and Mary. The religious police asked the families suspected to be Catholics to trample this fumie to prove that they had not converted from Buddism.

It was also during this time w
Silence is a modern classic by Shusaku Endo. On the cover a crucified Jesus hangs from Japanese writing characters. My friend, Carol, recommended this book to me awhile back and I've had it sitting on my bookshelf. Then during Holy Week while I was finishing Fr. Neuhaus’ Death on a Friday Afternoon, he mentions the heroic struggles of the European missionaries who gave their all to travel around the world to share the Gospel message. Sometimes it just seems appropriate to leave off one book and ...more
Sep 30, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This slim book by a famous Japanese author, currently being adapted into a movie by Scorsese starring the dude from Girls, is about a missionary sent to Japan in the 1600s. Christians were terribly persecuted back then; it was called the time of "Kakure Kirishitan", or Hidden Christians. Christians were forced to trample on the image of Jesus (called a fumie) or they were horribly tortured to death.

And the thread of torture and death hangs over every page, so this is a tough book to read. It bri
عبدالعزيز المحيني
عوضاًعن العنصر القصصي الرائع في حبكتها، فإن العنصر المهم حقّاً في هذه الرواية هو طابعها الفلسفي التأملي العقائدي العميق.
وهذا الطابع، الذي يصدر من الروائي الياباني الكاثوليكي إندو، له طعم خاص ونكهة متفرّدة كونها تصدر من ياباني ومن كاثوليكي تشكل طائفته نسبة أقل من 1% من الشعب الياباني.

تصف الصراع النفسي الحاد في عقائد الشخصيّات من خلال المواقف التي مرّت بها في الرواية. ثم تصل في أواخيرها إلى هدف الرحلة ككل، القس فيرييرا المرتد، وعن ارتداده وعيشه، وموقف تلميذه من المسألة ككل وماتلاه في حياته. لا أ
Feb 28, 2010 miaaa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to miaaa by: Wiwiet
Setiap tanggal 2 September, Gereja Kristen Batak Simalungun (GKPS) memperingati masuknya zending atau pengabaran injil ke tanah Simalungun yang akrab disebut dengan Pesta Olob-Olob. Berbeda dengan gereja-gereja di pulau Jawa yang mayoritas hasil kerja misionaris Belanda, maka rata-rata gereja di tanah Batak dilakukan oleh misionaris dari Jerman.

Besar di lingkungan gereja, aku terbiasa mendengar, melihat dan mempercayai bahwa tugas pelayanan itu adalah pekerjaan mulia dan masih sangat dihormati
John Ferry Sihotang
Review: Damai di Bumi, Gelisah di Hati

Buku ini mengembalikan niatan awal dan kenangan saya saat berstatus seorang seminaris, yang bercita-cita menjadi rahib katolik. Sebagai calon pastor yang baik, para seminaris diwajibkan mengikuti bacaan rohani tiga kali seminggu. Kepada siswa seminari baru dianjurkan membaca buku "Sahabat-Sahabat Yesus", ada puluhan seri; bercerita tentang kisah santo-santa (orang-orang kudus) dan beato-beata (yang berbahagia), juga kisah para martir gereja, yang mempertahan
Apr 24, 2007 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite possibly among the most profound and stirring books I have read that address the issues of faith. While this is based on the true events in japan, jesuit/christian missionaries going over to convert the japanese people and the subsequent fallout and harsh persecution of the people who practiced christianity. Part of my interest lies in my background with Jesuits and my Catholic/Christian faith. But I think that this book goes well beyond this scope and quite honestly my offend or disturb m ...more
May 28, 2014 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A tough one to recommend, how, I don't know, but here it goes: The defining moment of this tragedy comes early on. The story sets itself up as a world without escape, not even into the imagination. The warlords of Japan have consolidated power by 1600. The Buddhists who have aided the enemy have been destroyed. Foreign influence in the form of Christianity has been banished. More than a hundred years of civil war has practically come to an end. Buddhism remains, because it can be controlled, but ...more
Jul 06, 2015 Owlseyes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jap-lit

Jesuit priest Francisco Xavier called Japan “the light of my heart…the country in the Orient most suited for Christianity”.

Fact: Kakure or Japanese crypto-Christians, meeting in secret for 240 years…reciting a Japanese version of the “Hail Mary” and yet nobody knew what it meant for many years.

Estimate: 30,000 Kakure live today in Japan.


1587- Hydeyoshi started the persecution of Christians.
1614-26 priests punished in Nagasaki.
1614-expulsion from Japan of all missionaries
João Carlos
Dec 25, 2015 João Carlos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2015

Massacre de Cristãos em Nagasáqui - 5 de Fevereiro de 1597 – Japão - Pintura Japonesa Séc. XVI – XVII

Shusaku Endo (1923 – 1996) era um católico japonês, baptizado em 1934, que publicou em 1996 o romance ”Silêncio”.
“A notícia chegou à Igreja de Roma. Enviado ao Japão pela Companhia de Jesus em Portugal, Cristóvão Ferreira, submetido à tortura da fossa em Nagasáqui, apostatara. Missionário experiente, credor da maior estima, Cristóvão Ferreira já vivia no Japão há trinta e três anos… Era inconcebí
Andrei Tamaş
Jan 11, 2016 Andrei Tamaş rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Endo este deja un scriitor consacrat în literatura universală. Romanul său, "Tăcere", descrie amănunțit încercările creștinătății de a introduce în rândul populației japoneze "credința cea dreptă". Portughezii și spaniolii (cei mai de temut fanatici creștini ai Evului Mediu și totodată cei mai mari coloniști de atunci) trimit misionari pe plaiul japonez. Ei bine... dacă Inchiziția sfâșia Europa la vremea aceea, japonezii nu s-au lăsat mai prejos în a-i ucide pe misionarii creștini prin metode ne ...more
Jun 25, 2010 gieb marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Membaca review teman-teman terhadap buku ini, saya jadi benar-benar tertarik untuk membacanya. Di beberapa review, saya melihat ada ketidaksetujuan kepada usaha pemaksaan keyakinan kepada orang lain. Ya. Tentu mempunyai keyakinan adalah hak asasi setiap manusia, termasuk tidak mempunyai keyakinan juga merupakan hak asasi manusia. Tetapi saya berpikiran, bahwa ketidaksetujuan teman-teman tentang usaha pemaksaan itu, seperti sedang bercermin terhadap keyakinan yang dianut sekarang.

Kita memang sep
Oct 10, 2015 [P] rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m not a religious man, although I wish that I was. I’ve said before, elsewhere, that believing in God would, I think, relieve or put an end to a lot of my anxiety. Much of the time I feel awfully lost, and ashamed of my own weakness, my own humanity. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t simply self-loathing; I’m ashamed of the rest of you too. I look around myself and everything seems so brutal and meaningless, and yet to live with even a smidgen of happiness you have to be able to imbue life with m ...more
David Gregg
"Silence" has a Biblical quality to it. I suppose it is the way that it raises monumental difficulties — moral and theological conundrums, and existential crises — then only subtly, even indirectly, to point in the misty direction in which we might find our answers. This great art, which Scripture does so well, is nothing other than knowing when to fall silent.

Such silence affects us strongly: pedagogically, it is provocative, and aesthetically, it is magnetic. It is the silence which challenge
"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" [Mark 15:34] These words, attributed to Jesus Christ, are said to have been uttered while he was hanging on the cross. They are words of despair, and surely, doubt. The Son of God doubts, and as far as is narrated in the gospels, receives as an answer only silence.

This incident crosses, of course, the mind of young Sebastian Rodrigues, the priest in the novel who finds himself confounded by the hard question of god's silence and inaction in the face of anguish, s
Mar 14, 2016 Abdullah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-من الروايات التاريخية المميزة في الأدب الياباني والعالمي، حينما فرغت من قراءة هذه الرواية والأسئلة في ذهني تبحث عن إجابات، تستعرض الرواية واقعاً مؤلماً عاشته شخوص الرواية خلال العهد الذي شاع فيه الاضطهاد الديني من طرد وتعذيب وقتل للمسيحيين في اليابان في القرن السابع عشر الميلادي.

-أعجبني الروائي الياباني في تصويره قلق الإنسان وصراعه النفسي والفكري بسبب تبديل القناعات الدينية عن طريق العنف .

-السرد متقن، وأسلوب الروائي الياباني شوساكو إندو في الوصف رائع.

-Chinmoku هذا عنوان فيلم مقتبس من رواية الصم
I've been overusing the adjective "Faulknerian" lately. I should add that I don't mean it to mean the things that people normally mean when they say it-- long, rambly sentences and what have you. I'm referring to one of the key themes of Faulkner's work, the lone crazy/visionary/metaphor-person wandering the wilderness gleaning meaning where they can. It could be called Biblical as much as it could be called Faulknerian, and it is a major factor in the work of Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Dav ...more
Aug 11, 2013 Francisco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the 16th century, Japan has outlawed Christianity and feudal lords torture Christians to renounce their faith. Silence tells the story of Sebastian Rodrigues, a Portuguese priest who comes to Japan during this time and struggles to keep his faith alive. It is difficult to write a "religious" book without pushing a particular perspective, but Endo does this amazingly well. Endo's mastery is an ability to write with restraint, holding back judgment, so that we as readers end up seeing all sides ...more
May 30, 2013 jana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_2013
لا تتغيّر نظرتي أبدًا, لكنها في كل مرّة وكل تجربة جديدة تتوّثق أكثر: الأدب الياباني عظيم ومُلهِم!

1) رواية خالدة.
قرأتها للمرّة الأولى سنة 2007 ومازلت للآن أحتفظ بطعمها الفريد إلّا أني فضلّت إعادة القراءة. كنت انتظر شيئًا مكرّرًا في داخلي, لكني تفاجأت أن الطعم الفريد محتفظًا بقوّة تجدّده بنفس التفرّد والملكيّة. كأنها المرّة الأولى..

2) ذات عيارٍ ثقيل, حرفيًا: ثقيل جدًا
تطرح بين طيّاتها, قضية اصطدام الحضارات والتراث والعقيدة, بين طرفين يُبدع الكاتب بشكلٍ فظيع بسرد التفاصيل الصغيرة لكلٍ منهما. بين ال
Apr 18, 2016 Isabel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: da-bmtv, 1001-books, 2016
Esta é uma história que pela abordagem, pela sua linguagem com pinceladas poéticas entra por nós (leitores) adentro impregnando-nos com uma névoa de melancolia.
Uma leitura que nos transporta para um encontro onde a opressão, a tortura, o cinismo, a traição, a perseguição, a morte colocam a dúvida no coração dos mais fervorosos crentes, daqueles que buscam a fé numa religião hostil, vista como nociva, da qual se pretende a aniquilação como quem despega uma planta da terra pela raiz.

P. 68/69- "Po
Ordinary Dahlia
Sama seperti Harun direpiu sebelah, aku tidak setuju dengan yang namanya kristenisasi, islamisasi, buddhanisasi atau apalah sebutannya. Rasanya dunia akan damai kalau hal-hal tersebut tidak ada dan setiap orang bisa menghormati kepercayaan orang lain. Kepercayaan adalah hak paling asasi manusia, itu yang kutahu.

Tema yang sudah sejak awal tidak kusukai membuat buku ini terasa biasa saja. Penderitaan Bapa Sabastian tidak benar-benar menarik simpatiku. Malah terpikir "salahmu sendiri, kenapa jauh-
Gertrude & Victoria
Shusaku Endo's soul-searching novel Silence is an alarming look into some complicated and contentious issues. This book, like other great books, poses more questions than it answers. These questions trouble theologian, priest, and lay-believer alike, and Endo does not impose his own views, but instead, leaves the matter open for the reader to ponder. He does not share completely western notions and sensibilities concerning Biblical interpretation, so a different understanding is brought to light ...more
May 01, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are certain books that deal with faith and doubt in a way that hits so close to home that I really need them to end a certain way for the sake of my own belief system. Silence is one of those books, and the fact that it didn't end the way I wanted it to means that I'm still somewhat reeling from having read it and am not yet sure how to talk about it, let alone say whether I liked it or not.

Endo seems to be tackling the very idea of relying on others for our own strength and faith, though
Erwin Maack
May 01, 2015 Erwin Maack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uma pungente reflexão a respeito da fé. Nos tempos em que a razão (acompanhada de perto, pertíssimo, pela exata palavra exata) explica o homem, e, talvez, por isso mesmo afasta o mito e a história tornando-as pequenas e quase sem valor, esta narrativa intriga, emociona, suspende todas as crenças atuais. Elas ficam ansiosas aguardando o desfecho do livro.
Paul ataua
Feb 28, 2016 Paul ataua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having found out that Martin Scorsese is finally making the movie version, after all the years of trying to get it off the ground, made me sacrifice my Sunday to read it again. It is the story of a Roman Catholic priest in seventeenth century, who went through persecution in the time of “Kakure Kirishitan” , the Hidden Christians, in seventeenth century Japan. Still as powerful and heart wrenching as it always was, it made me want to reread Graham Greene’s 'The Power and the Glory' and William T ...more
Sarah Gutierrez
Dec 06, 2015 Sarah Gutierrez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese-lit
Review will (possibly) follow after I have a chance to process this book. It wasn't an easy read.
Stephen Hicks
Jan 25, 2016 Stephen Hicks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that I imagine will continue to haunt me in the coming days. This was honestly the first book that I read entirely in one day. The disturbing yet entangling nature of the plot coerced me to continue reading incessantly. Endo takes up themes that wrench at the heart in hopes of finding the true meaning of what it looks like to be a devout, proselytizing Christian in the midst of persecution. The internal wrestling that the main character, Sebastian Rodrigues, undergoes resonated on ...more
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ACPL Online Book ...: Silence 1 4 Mar 29, 2016 10:59AM  
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Japanese Literature: Silence - Thoughts 6 48 Nov 17, 2015 04:19AM  
Bapa Rodriguez << SPOILER ALERT >> 1 63 Jan 18, 2009 08:18PM  
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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...

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“Sin, he reflected, is not what it is usually thought to be; it is not to steal and tell lies. Sin is for one man to walk brutally over the life of another and to be quite oblivious of the wounds he has left behind.” 112 likes
“Christ did not die for the good and beautiful. It is easy enough to die for the good and beautiful; the hard thing is to die for the miserable and corrupt.” 23 likes
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