Silence and Beauty // Makoto Fujimura.

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After reading Shūsaku Endō’s masterful and horrifying Silence, Makoto Fujimura’s reflections in Silence and Beauty coalesces wonderfully and insightfully. Through the window of Endō’s life and works, most centrally Silence, Mako (as he is affectionately called at Fuller) perceives and describes beauty present in Japanese history and culture. With the barest observation, Silence is read as a painful story of hopelessness and human wretchedness: Father Rodrigues becomes an appalling failure–an apostate–who is doubly-ostracized from the world of his nurture and from the land of his demise. Yet, Mako invites us further in to inhabit the world of Endō. Shepherding his readers through the myriad of Japanese history and culture, Mako illuminates Endō as “one of the great writers of grace of the twentieth century” (201). When Endō (and Mako) encountered the Fumi-e, he was overwhelmed by the loud steps pronounced on the wooden border. So, shedding off the stark dichotomy of faithful and faithless, martyr and apostate, Endō claims the presence of resilient faith in the Fumi-e steppers and stompers. Their silence reflects the voice of God for “silence is beauty and beauty is silence” (212)–and that is, surely, grace.

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