120—Maximilian Kolbe in Japan—Kevin Doak
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Unlikely as it may sound, Catholic fiction has a certain amount of mainstream appeal in Japanese literature. Sono Ayako, one of Japan’s most famous novelists, wrote a novel about St. Maximilian Kolbe called Miracles, which has just been translated into English.
Miracles is a semiautobiographical account of the author’s personal investigation into the miracles approved by the Vatican for Kolbe’s canonization. Her ambivalence towards her Catholic faith is challenged as she traces Kolbe’s steps from his childhood to his self-sacrifice in Auschwitz, with his time in Japan standing in between as the ascetic crucible which made him a saint.
Ayako writes: “Before he died, this priest flung a tough question like a red-hot iron rod at the dried-up soul of modern Man. The question was, ‘what does it mean for us to love one another?’“
Translator Kevin Doak joins the show to discuss Miracles, Catholic fiction in Japan (which extends far beyond Endo’s Silence), and…Endo’s Silence.
Kevin Doak, “Beyond Endo: The Hidden Renaissance of Japanese Catholic Novelists” https://benedictinstitute.org/2019/07/beyond-endo/
Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.
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