This essay explores these questions by placing the basic tenets of contemporary Western relativism in critical conversation with the life and work of Endo Shusaku [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1923-96), a Japanese Catholic "who has attained widely-recognized status as a world-class writer" (Rimer 1993, 59).
My account below is based on Kojima Yosuke's Chronological history of Endo Shusaku (Endo Shusaku: nenpu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]).
Analyzing the life and work of Endo Shusaku, I have answered the first question negatively by radicalizing relativism to include all people, and the second question affirmatively by highlighting the ways in which the universal is radically grounded in specific local contexts of Japan.
This Gregorian dissertation complements two major studies in English of Endo's writings: Mark Williams's Endo Shusaku
(1999) and Emi Mase-Hasegawa's Christ in Japanese Culture (2008).
(2) Because Yellow Man is not available in translation, I am indebted to Mark Williams and Francis Mathy for their commentary: Williams, Endo Shusaku
: A Literature of Reconciliation: 68-75, 229-231; Mathy, Thought: 585-93.
Inoue Masahige, an official immortalized as the antagonist of Endo Shusaku
's novel Silence, was particularly effective in using persuasion as well as coercion in suppressing Christianity.
Translations are of authors old (Natsume Soseki) and new (Murakami Haruki), well-represented (Endo Shusaku
) and relatively untranslated (Kajii Morojiro).
For Japan, since the Meiji Restoration in 1868, has produced a succession of great novelists and other writers: a succession that continues to this day in the shape of such luminaries as Oe Kenzaburo (already a Nobel nominee for several years running) and Endo Shusaku
. Yet little notice has been taken of this tremendous heritage in the West -- aside from the campy prima donna Mishima -- and this dictionary is one more effort to remedy the situation.
Mention the name of Endo Shusaku (1923-96) in literary circles, and chances are that the cliched portrayals of him as "Japanese Christian author," or even as the "Japanese Graham Greene," will not be long in surfacing.
(6) The work was initially published in installments in the journal Ushio (January through December 1965) but was almost totally ignored until it was "rediscovered" recently and incorporated into Endo Shusaku bungaku zenshu.
Endo Shusaku bungaku zenshu (Complete Literary Works of Endo Shusaku).
is considered by many Japanese to be the last of his generation's great novelists, and indeed some expected him to be his nation's next Nobel Prize winner.