Edge of Faith March 2017 - Page 8

seemed to have anticipated this. In the second edition he writes a postscript saying that these reactions were rather, to him, anticipated, but he was most gratified that some writers outside the church have commented that he is more Protestant than Catholic because of the grace-orientation that he projects into the story. I always tell people that if you are going to read this book, “Silence,” read it to the very end — the very end meaning the appendix, do not miss the appendix. In the Japanese original version, there is no word, “appendix,” there is just a space and the story ends and then there is this telling of what happened to Father Rodrigues — Okada San’emon, the Japanese character now, who lives thirty-some years. This diary of the person keeping historical records, which is a historical document, only slightly modified by Endo, tells of the rest of the story. Many people do not even bother to read that and misunderstand the story altogether in my experience. So, read the appendix and also pay attention to what Father Rodrigues says at the end of the book, which is very telling as well.

Very interesting and good instruction. I will make sure all the audience does so. So, back to your book. Could you explain, in more detail what you mean by “beauty” in your title, “Silence and Beauty”?

Yes, sure. It is a definition of the Japanese understanding of beauty. That includes an idea of sacrifice, an idea that has been refined over many many years. I think that it is the key to unlock Japanese culture. The reason why I contrasted “silence” and “beauty” is because those are two words that are very descriptive and very important to the Japanese. Both have deeply layered meanings that infuse, actually, the definition. They are both relational words and we, in the West, we tend to want to define a word and to place them into categories, but these words tend to be a lie in Japanese culture, deeply hidden. And to me, they are connected to the Gospel of Jesus as they portray a suffering servant who came to Isaiah, is spoken of, this figure is to appear and will give us a crown of beauty instead of

日本語: 松林図・右隻 "Pine Trees" by Hasegawa Tōhaku (Japanese, 1539–1610)