Read The Golden Country Online

Authors: Shusaku Endo

The Golden Country (10 page)

BOOK: The Golden Country
3.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

GENNOSUKE: I can't bear to hear them.

INOUE: He's a brave man. He's been hanging there for almost a day, but he won't give in. And he won't tell us where Ferreira is hiding. He's a samurai among samurai. His kind are rare these days.

Gennosuke hurries out of the room Inoue and Hirata silently drink their tea. Occasionally Tomonaga's cries break the silence.

(as if to himself):
Torture. Inflict pain. Shed blood.... I'm sick of all this.

HIRATA: What did you say?

INOUE: Nothing.... What are you thinking of?

HIRATA: I was just looking at this painting ... at this face that you call the most beautiful and most precious.


HIRATA: Man's a very strange creature. When he hears that it's the most beautiful face, he feels an urge to defile it. When he hears that it's the most precious face, he wants to spit on it. When I look at this painting, I am filled with such desires.

INOUE: Have you ever had any unpleasant experiences?

HIRATA: No, never. I know I'm foul.

He laughs, but suddenly stops.

HIRATA: Who's that?

TOME: It's me. I came to tell you that a farmer of the village has something to say to you.

HIRATA: Is that right? The plan's going very well indeed.

He lowers his voice and speaks to Inoue.

HIRATA: Everything is working out according to your scheme.

INOUE: I knew it would ... from the moment I saw Gennosuke's face a while ago.

Kasuke staggers drunkenly onstage and falls to his knees.

HIRATA: You know where Ferreira is hiding?


HIRATA: So you know where he's hiding! Tell me at once. He's in your village after all, isn't he?

KASUKE: Not in the village itself.

HIRATA: Then outside of the village?

KASUKE: You might certainly say so-but that covers a lot of ground.

HIRATA: You're drunk.

KASUKE: Yes, forgive me. I could never have come here to the bureau on my own strength. So on my way to Nagasaki I stopped for some sak

HIRATA: Don't come so close to me. You stink. All right then, where's Ferreira?

KASUKE: If I tell you...

HIRATA: You'll get a large reward.

KASUKE: Besides the reward, will you let Lord Tomonaga go?

HIRATA: Yes. If you ask the bureau to save the life of Tomonaga, it'll certainly be saved.

KASUKE: Thank you. One more request.

HIRATA: Still another?

KASUKE: I ask you not to bother the farmers of the village.

HIRATA: What do you mean?

KASUKE: Not to have the farmers come to the bureau the day after tomorrow to step on the

HIRATA: All right. All right. I'll grant you that too. After all, you're all very busy in the fields. Now tell us where Ferreira is.

KASUKE: To tell the truth, I was afraid I'd be badly treated here. So I stopped off for some sake to give me courage.

HIRATA: You've already told us that.

KASUKE: I had no idea you were all so understanding here in the bureau. When I get back to my village, I'll tell
them not to worry ... that everyone here is very kind.

HIRATA: Fine, fine. Now hurry and tell us.

KASUKE: A moment ago you mentioned a reward.... What kind of reward?

HIRATA: Certainly enough to pay for your sak
on the way home.

KASUKE: That's no reward. This is the first time in my life I've ever had this much sak
. I usually drink very little. To tell you the truth, I expected to be given a rough time here. So I stopped to drink some sak
for strength. But this is fine! I never thought you were such understanding people. When I get back to the village, I'll tell them not to worry, that you're all fine fellows. Sir, please tell me your name.

HIRATA: What difference does it make?

KASUKE: No, no. You must tell me. From now on, whenever there's any problem in the village, I know we can call on you. Please tell me your name.

HIRATA: My name is Hirata.

KASUKE: Lord Hirata, is it? That's a nice name. Besides, you've a very handsome and noble face.... What's that sound?

HIRATA: That sound? That sound is the cry of your lord, Tomonaga.

KASUKE: What? Lord Tomonaga's cry? Hurry. Let him go. Hurry!

HIRATA: Are you sober now, fool? Where's Ferreira?

Kasuke, trembling, tries to speak.

HIRATA: Speak out.

Gennosuke enters.

GENNOSUKE: Sir, Father Ferreira has come.

HIRATA: What? Ferreira here?

GENNOSUKE: Father Ferreira has come with Lord Tomonaga's daughter and some of the farmers. He's at the gate.

HIRATA: So he's finally come. Intending to be a martyr, no doubt.

INOUE: He's come! Ferreira has finally come! As you say, with the decision to give up his life. I want to speak with him.

HIRATA: You too, after all, are filled with the same desire as I—to defile the beautiful and befoul the noble.

INOUE: The low can see others only through their own foul spirit—and you are low. Gennosuke, bring Ferreira in. Have the others wait for a time.

KASUKE: Excuse me, please. I don't want to meet the Father. I don't want to meet the farmers. I'm quite sober now. I did a terrible thing... the same as Judas that Father told me about. Excuse me, let me go.

INOUE: Hirata, show this man to the door.

Ferreira and Gennosuke enter. Ferreira's eyes meet those of Kasuke, who is being led from the room.

KASUKE: Father Ferreira, Father Ferreira.

Inoue looks at Ferreira for a time without speaking.

INOUE: Please sit down, Father Ferreira.

FERREIRA: Thank you.

INOUE: Gennosuke, bring some cakes for Father Ferreira. Well, well, Father, you are most welcome.

FERREIRA: I've been hearing about you for a long time.

INOUE: And I've been hearing about
for a long time. I've been after you for a long time.

FERREIRA: I know that.

INOUE: You've come prepared to die?

FERREIRA: I don't know. If the Lord gives me the courage to die.

INOUE: But you haven't the slightest intention of renouncing your faith?

FERREIRA: Do you think you can make me?

That's my job!

FERREIRA: I didn't come to Japan to apostatize. If your job is to make me give up Christ's teaching, my job is to propagate it.

INOUE: That's funny. All the Christians I ever got to apostatize said the same thing, and still they apostatized.

FERREIRA: Do you have the confidence that you can make me apostatize too?

I can't say that I haven't.

FERREIRA: Will you put me to torture?

INOUE: In good time, but torture is the lowest of means. I don't want to make use of it lightly. There are those who are able to make their bodies do what they tell them, and others who are not. And so the efficacy of torture depends on the individual.

FERREIRA: Then to which group do I belong?

I don't know. That's what I'll have to find out.

FERREIRA: Do you remember the fifty priests and Christians who were martyred in Edo? They were burned to death.

INOUE: I certainly do. At the time I was in service at the Edo Castle. I remember particularly well since one of my fellow samurai, Haramondo, was a Christian and thrown in among the fifty. He was deaf to all our counsel and persuasion, and he was put into prison.

FERREIRA: Yes. Haramondo was one of the fifty. On that day the priests and the Christians were led from the prison in Kodemma, through Shimbashi and Mita, and in the evening taken to Fudanotsuji. At the place of execution stood fifty stakes, and under each stake a pile of brush. A large number of spectators were gathered. After the victims had been bound to their stakes, the executioner set fire to the brush. There was a wind that day. So the smoke and flames immediately enveloped the martyrs tied to their stakes. The first to die was a Spanish priest. Then Haramondo, lifting his arms as if he carried something in them, was next. His head fell down on his shoulders.

INOUE: You describe the scene vividly. You have a clear remembrance of it.

FERREIRA: Very clear. I had to write a detailed report of it for Rome. I also sent them an account of the Unzen martyrs. At Unzen I disguised myself as a Japanese farmer and saw everything clearly with my own eyes. It was in December of 1631. Seven priests and Christians climbed the mountain from the harbor at Kohama in the evening. When they arrived at the top, they were lodged there for the night, their hands and feet still bound. The next day, the fifth of December, the torture began. They were led to the boiling waters of Unzen. They were shown the hissing ponds and told to renounce their faith. When all seven refused, the officials stripped them of their clothes, scooped up dippers of the boiling water, and slowly poured it over them.

INOUE: Why do you go over these details? Is it to stir up your courage?

FERREIRA: No. I just want you to realize that torture doesn't necessarily weaken the faith of the Christians.

INOUE: Of course. I realize that. As you say, torture serves only to make the Christians proud and fanatic. It serves too to deepen their thoughts of Paradise. I discovered this long ago.

FERREIRA: If you realize it, why do you still go on torturing?

INOUE: There are many different kinds of torture. Torture such as you have been describing, whether by fire or boiling water, serves merely to fan the Christians' pride and fanaticism. The suffering may be great, but they will soon die and receive the glory of Paradise. The farmers who watch this spectacle are also moved by the Christians' courage. So this is the most stupid of methods. But now, if there is a torture that does not end in death and will last indefinitely ... if there is a torture that will cause the Christians to lose their pride and make them squirm foully like worms....

He laughs.

FERREIRA: You're referring to the pit?

INOUE: Exactly. Even now, Tomonaga is hanging there.

Tomonaga's groans are heard.

FERREIRA: And even he has not yet apostatized.

INOUE: Not yet, that's true. But by this evening ... who can tell?

FERREIRA: So you won't keep your promise? ... that you'd release him if I came to you.

INOUE: We'll release him... but only after you've apostatized.

FERREIRA: I've been caught in a trap.

INOUE: Of course. Just as we'd planned.

FERREIRA: Then go ahead and kill me and get it over with.

That would be poor policy. I've no reason for killing you.

FERREIRA: Why do you say that?

INOUE: Father, you are what I may call the roots of the Christians. If the roots rot, then the branches and the leaves will die by themselves. You are the only priest left in all of Japan. When the farmers here in Kyushu who are still practicing Christianity in secret hear that you have apostatized, they'll lose heart and eventually apostatize too, without our having to take harsh measures. That's why I won't kill you. If I kill you, I but give you the name of martyr.

He laughs.

FERREIRA: Very well then. Hang me in the pit.

INOUE: Do you think you can stand it?

FERREIRA: I don't know. God will come to my help.

INOUE: Ha! God will only stand and watch. God is always silent. He never soils his hands. Besides, in this case, it is not my purpose to find out whether you can stand punishment or not. I'll wait for the torture to rob you of all discernment and wit and to derange your spirit. Do you understand? Through the torture of the pit, by tomorrow you'll have lost all discretion and understanding. You'll have lost your freedom to oppose my words. What I call left, you will call left. What I call right, you will call right. When I say "Apostatize," you will apostatize.

FERREIRA: You are a fiend.

INOUE: Who will win? Your God or I? Hirata!
Hirata appears.

INOUE: Please entertain Father in the pit.

Hirata goes offstage, leading away Ferreira. Inoue looks silently at the painting while drinking his tea. Ferreira's cry can be heard.


BOOK: The Golden Country
3.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

The Sun Chemist by Lionel Davidson
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
The Early Centuries - Byzantium 01 by John Julius Norwich
Artifact by Gigi Pandian
Shrike (Book 2): Rampant by Mears, Emmie