Shushaku Endo, one of the finest 20th century Japanese novelists, is not as well known in the West as some of his contemporary Japanese writers including, Yukio Mishima, Yasunari Kawabata, Kobo Abe, and Kenzaburo Oe. Mishima deals with turmoil of adolescence laced with surrealistic historical romance; Abe conjures strange, evocative images in the Kafkaesque tradition; Kawabata writes about loneliness and desolation; and Oe creates imaginary themes of life and myth that entwine and portray human predicaments. Kawabata and Oe both received Nobel Prizes in Literature. Endo’s writing is different. He confronts problems pertaining to faith, morality, and individual responsibility. In his early years Endo struggled as a loner, an outsider, and a misfit. This pattern continued to a large extent into his adult life, most of which was consumed with fighting his life threatening tuberculosis. The agonies of his illness intensified his talent for exploring the complexity of human relationships.
- Shushaku Endo