In the 17th century, Hasekura and three other low-level samurai are sent to seek trade with Nueva España (today's Mexico). Accompanied by Father Velasco, a Franciscan missionary and interpreter, they pursue their mission from Nueva España to Spain. Along the way, they endure not only the hardships of the journey but Velasco's incessant proselytizing. The ambitious priest, who believes that their conversion will gain him the appointment as Bishop of Japan, convinces them that they will succeed only if they convert to Christianity, and reluctantly they agree. Failure, however, is their only reward. After years of wandering, they return to Japan, where they face shame and persecution. Basing his novel on the actual voyage of Hasekura, Shusaku Endo masterfully evokes the struggle between the Western individual and the Eastern collective identity and in so doing plumbs the depths of honor, faith, and human endurance. The result is an expansive audio book of astonishing power and insight.
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The Samurai, without doubt one of the late Shusaku Endo's finest works, seamlessly combines historical fact with novelist's imaginings. Set in the period preceding the Christian persecutions in Japan, The Samurai traces the steps of some of the first Japanese to set foot on European soil. Rokuemon Hasekura, a low-ranking warrior, is chosen as one of Japan's envoys to the Viceroy of Mexico and Pope Paul V. The emissaries set sail in 1613, accompanied by an ambitious Franciscan missionary who hopes to bargain trading privileges with the West for the right to head his order in Japan. The arduous journey lasts four years, and the Japanese travel from Mexico to Rome, where they are persuaded that the success of their mission depends on their conversion willy-nilly to Christianity. In fact, the enterprise has been futile from the start and the mission returns to Japan where the political tides have shifted: the authorities are pursuing an isolationist policy and a ruthless stamping out of all Western influences. In the face of disillusionment and death, samurai Rokuemon's only support and solace come from the spiritual lord he is not even sure he believes in.About the Author:
Shūsaku Endō (遠藤 周作 Endō Shūsaku) was a renowned 20th century Japanese author who wrote from the unusual perspective of being bothJ apanese and Catholic. (The population of Christians in Japan is less than 1%.) Together with Junnosuke Yoshiyuki, Shotaro Yasuoka, Junzo Shono, Hiroyuki Agawa, Ayako Sono, and Shumon Miura, Endo is categorized as one of the "Third Generation," the third major group of writers who appeared after the Second World War. His books reflect many of his childhood experiences. These include the stigma of being an outsider, the experience of being a foreigner, the life of a hospital patient, and the struggle with tuberculosis. However, his books mainly deal with the moral fabric of life. His Catholic faith can be seen at some level in all of his books, and it is often a central feature.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 1982. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110068598521