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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"Endo to my mind is one of the finest living novelists." óGraham Greene In 1613, four low-ranking Japanese Samurai, accompanied by a Spanish priest, set sail for Mexico on an unprecedented mission: to bargain for a Catholic crusade through Japan in exchange for trading rights with the West. Among the first Japanese ever to set foot in Europe, they travel to Rome and gain an audience with the Pope. All are baptized, hoping to curry favor with their European hosts. But upon returning to Japan, they discover that the Shoguns no longer wish to forge links with the West, nor will they tolerate the Christian religion. The seven-year mission has been in vain. Disgraced and tormented, the Samurai begin to identify deeply with the crucified Christ they formerly reviled. Based on historical fact, this is a powerful examination of the impact of external events on our deepest beliefs.From the Back Cover:
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.
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Book Description Book Condition: Good. Book Condition: Good. Bookseller Inventory # 97800685985274.0
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 1982. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # P020068598521
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