Silencewas published in 1966 and is often regarded as Endo's finest achievement. It won the Tanizaki prize in Japan the year it was published.Silencetells the story of a young Portuguese priest, sent to Japan in the 1600s when Christians in Japan...
Shusaku Endo was born in Tokyo and grew up in Manchuria, China, where his father was transferred for work. When he was 10 years old his parents split up, and he moved with his mother back to Japan. They moved to Kobe, where his mother's sister lived, and she convinced Endo and his mother to convert to her Catholic faith.
As a young adult Endo attended Keio University, where he studied French literature - much to the dismay of his distant father, who wanted him to be a doctor. Poor living conditions and stress led to his developing tuberculosis at the age of 22. It was to become a lifelong health struggle, along with other issues like pleurisy.
In his late 20s Endo studied at the University of Lyon in France, on a government-sponsored educational experience. Upon returning to Japan he began to write in earnest. For the rest of his life he would be an author, with his books commonly focusing on issues of faith, modernization, and East vs. West. He married Junko Endo, and continued to struggle with recurrent bouts of tuberculosis that was difficult to treat given the primitive state of TB medication at the time.
His most famous works include The Samurai, Deep River, and Silence. Endo is often compared to the English novelist Graham Greene, specifically because of both their focus on Catholicism in their writing.