Tuesday, August 18, 2020

SACHIKO A Novel by Endō Shūsaku. Translated by Van C. Gessel

Today  I'm featuring SACHIKO by Endō Shūsaku, translated by Van C. Gessel set in Nagasaki Japan from 1930 - 1945. 
This is an exciting day at The Reading Frenzy as I welcome Columbia University Press one of the most prestigious publishers in the world to the blog. Here's to many features to come! 

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Release Date: 8-18-2020

Buy It from Publisher


In novels such as Silence, Endō Shūsaku examined the persecution of Japanese Christians in different historical eras. Sachiko, set in Nagasaki in the painful years between 1930 and 1945, is the story of two young people trying to find love during yet another period in which Japanese Christians were accused of disloyalty to their country.

In the 1930s, two young Japanese Christians, Sachiko and Shūhei, are free to play with American children in their neighborhood. But life becomes increasingly difficult for them and other Christians after Japan launches wars of aggression. Meanwhile, a Polish Franciscan priest and former missionary in Nagasaki, Father Maximillian Kolbe, is arrested after returning to his homeland. Endō alternates scenes between Nagasaki--where the growing love between Sachiko and Shūhei is imperiled by mounting persecution--and Auschwitz, where the priest has been sent. Shūhei's dilemma deepens when he faces conscription into the Japanese military, conflicting with the Christian belief that killing is a sin. With the A-bomb attack on Nagasaki looming in the distance, Endō depicts ordinary people trying to live lives of faith in a wartime situation that renders daily life increasingly unbearable. Endō's compassion for his characters, reflecting their struggles to find and share love for others, makes Sachiko one of his most moving novels.

Read an excerpt HERE


An extraordinary novel by one of Japan’s literary masters, Sachiko is a testament to shared experiences, cruelty, loss, and the persistence of love and faith.Foreword Reviews, Starred Review
An important work of historical fiction that raises profound questions about the moral legitimation and human cost of war, transnational relationships, and the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.Kevin M. Doak, author of A History of Nationalism in Modern Japan: Placing the People
Beautifully translated by Van Gessel, the doyen of Endō scholars, Sachiko confirms once again the stature of this prolific author. The parallel stories bring a fresh urgency to Endō’s profound understanding of the conflicting aims of culture and spirituality.J. Thomas Rimer, coeditor of The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature
Set during World War II in Nagasaki and Auschwitz, Endō’s novel Sachiko provides a powerful portrait of a woman who pursued a life of faith, hope, and love. This translation highlights Van Gessel's deep compassion and understanding of Japanese history, tradition, and culture. I cannot more highly recommend this outstanding and delicate translation.Emi Mase-Hasegawa, author of Christ in Japanese Culture: Theological Themes in Shusaku Endo's Literary Works
Ever since his arrival on the literary scene in the 1950s, Endō has continued to fascinate and challenge his readership in equal measure. In the wake of Martin Scorsese’s recent movie adaptation of his best-selling work, Silence, interest in Endō‘s oeuvre has been renewed and Sachiko provides us with further evidence of the author’s extraordinary storytelling ability.Mark Williams, author of Endō Shūsaku: A Literature of Reconciliation
A profound meditation on the meaning of love, sacrifice, and the spiritual dilemma of Christian beliefs vying against the demands of the nation-state. . .Sachiko is yet another example of Endō Shūsaku’s stunning literary artistry that demands more than one reading. Highly recommended.Historical Novels Review
Haunting in its content and breathtaking in its prose. . .This is a book I will be thinking about for a long time.Dynamic Book Nerd

About the author:
Endō Shūsaku (1923–1996) was Japan’s leading Christian writer, a prolific author of novels, stories, and plays. Among his translated works are The SamuraiDeep RiverWonderful Fool, and Foreign Studies. His best-known novel, Silence, was adapted into a film by Martin Scorsese in 2017.

Van C. Gessel is professor of Japanese at Brigham Young University. He has translated eight of Endō’s works, including Kiku’s Prayer (Columbia, 2012). In 2018 he received an imperial decoration, Order of the Rising Sun.