Shusaku Endo was a Japanese author who wrote from the rare perspective of a Japanese Roman Catholic. He was categorized as one of the "Third Generation", the third major group of Japanese writers who appeared after World War II.
Endo, Shusaku was born on March 27, 1923 in Tokyo, in the family of Tsunehisa E. and Iku (Takei) Endo. His family moved to Dalian, part of the Kwantung Leased Territory in Manchuria. When his parents divorced in 1933, Endo's mother brought him back to Japan to live with an aunt in Kobe.
Endo began studying at Keio University in 1943, but his studies were interrupted by the war. He first attended Waseda University for the stated purpose of studying medicine. An interest in French Catholic authors precipitated a visit to the University of Lyon beginning in 1950
He worked in a munitions factory. Nonetheless, he contributed to literary journals during this period. In 1968, he would become chief editor of one of these, the prestigious Mita Bungaku. He lectured at at least two Tokyo universities. In 1956, he was hired as an instructor at Sophia University, and Seijo University assigned him the role of "Lecturer on the Theory of the Novel" in 1967. He was considered a novelist not a university professor, however.
Endo was baptized as a Catholic at the age of 11 or 12 in 1934. Some say this was brought on by his mother, who had converted to Catholicism after her divorce, while others state the aunt instigated the initiation.
“A novelist whose work has been dominated by a single theme... belief in Christianity.”
Endo married Okada Junko in 1955. They had one son, Ryunosuke, born in 1956.