Silence By Shusako Endo : Cultural Clash Between Christianity And Japan

1927 Words Apr 30th, 2016 8 Pages
Throughout the Novel Silence, Shusako Endo depicts the cultural clash between Christianity and Japan. We feel the frustrations that this brings, and are provoked to ask questions such as, why is God silent in the midst of his people’s suffering? But the greater question it begs is what cultural implications have we placed on Christ? Do we expect him to act as a hero in our culture would? He transcends time and culture, but do our expectations and experiences cast a shadow on our impression of God? The theme of the silence of God, suggested by the title is brought to light throughout the novel, and perhaps the reader can see this as one cultural expectation placed on Christ by a particular group of people based on their perceptions or experiences. Their experiences in life cast a shadow on their impression of God, and Jesus is to be a cultural hero in their frame. The conflict between Japanese Culture and Christianity is a main focus within Endo’s work, and we are led to think that Christianity will have to adapt to take root in the ‘swamp’ of Japan. As Kichijiro puts it, “A tree which flourishes in one kind of soil may wither if the soil is changed. As for the tree of Christianity, in a foreign country its leaves may grow thick and the buds may be rich, while in Japan the leaves wither and no bud appears. Father, have you never thought of the difference in the soil, the difference in the water?” (Endo 179) When we look to scripture regarding culture, and the East…
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