Original story “CHIN-MOKU” was written in 1966 by Shusaku Endo, the famous Japanese author. And Martin Scorsese made it into a film in 2016.
A film “Silence”: Martin Scorsese, 2016
This is the trailer:
I watched it with Canadian and American Christian Friends
I’m a Japanese Christian. It can be said “rare” because the Christian population in Japan is less than 1%. Such a rare guy watched “Silence” with the friends in Vancouver, Canada. They are Christians as well.
After watching it, one of them said ‘I didn’t understand why he didn’t step on Jesus’s picture. It’s just a picture!’ He is a conservative Christian and is going to be a seminarian this year, though.
However, I felt some sympathy for his suffering which he never want to betray other Japanese Hidden Christians’ faiths. I’d say he might struggle not only in the relationship with God but the local Christians’ faiths to risk their lives.
An interview of Endo’s disciple
I’ve read an article about an interview of the author’s disciple. His name is Muneya Kato.
Kato made reference to the scene when the main character Fr. Rodrigo stepped on Jesus’s picture;
He did not abandon
Most of the readers have thought Fr. Rodrigo abandoned his faith because the scene of KOROBU is too vivid. However, the author told me that he liked to write as “Rodrigo did not abandon.”
Actually, the author wrote in the climax scene indirectly Rodrigo didn’t abandon his faith. But it was also not comprehensible for the Japanese readers. The scene after Rodrigo stepped on Jesus’s picture;
“When thus the priest put his foot on Jesus’s picture, the morning has come. A rooster crowed far away.”
A phrase came up to my mind after reading the article.
“Before God and with God, we live without God.”
(Dietrich Bonhoeffer ‘Letters and Papers from Prison‘)
Rodrigo might live like that.
And a Christian who feels some difficulties to stay in the Church structure may live in the same way too, like me.
It encourages me to be as a Christian outside of the Church structure.
God as Mother
The original novel “Silence” was translated into English by William Johnston. He used “TRAMPLE” at the scene when Fr. Rodrigo abandoned his faith. I looked up the word in a dictionary and I found it means something wrong. Endo’s expression was like “You can do it.” with kindness. So I was not satisfied with the translation “Trample” as an imperative form. And I was interested in his expression in the film.
It was excellent. It was translated as “It’s all right.…… Step on me” in the film. It was changed into a kind expression. I admired Scorsese’s sense to change into such words in the scene, although of course, he read the story in English.
I think “Silence” was a new start of Endo’s literature. The theme was “Jesus as a Mother” that he had not written before.
Endo went to France to study when he was young and met western “God as a Father” who was strict, judging and punishing. It didn’t suit his sense. Then he thought about God whom Japanese can be familiar with. It should not be God like a strict Father, but God hugging us tender like a Mother – He tried to write about it through his life.
I don’t know why Japanese want Mother God. But I can say I have this sense too.
If you’re a western person, how do you think? Is your God Father?
Silence [BD/Digital HD Combo] [Blu-ray]