Silence and Beauty

Silence and Beauty Endo S Silence Took Internationally Renowned Visual Artist Makoto Fujimura On A Pilgrimage Of Grappling With The Nature Of Art, The Significance Of Pain And His Own Cultural Heritage His Artistic Faith Journey Overlaps With Endo S As He Uncovers Deep Layers Of Meaning In Japanese History And Literature, Expressed In Art Both Past And Present He Finds Connections To How Faith Is Lived In Contemporary Contexts Of Trauma And Glimpses Of How The Gospel Is Conveyed In Christ Hidden Cultures In This World Of Pain And Suffering, God Often Seems Silent Fujimura S Reflections Show That Light Is Yet Present In Darkness, And That Silence Speaks With Hidden Beauty And Truth

Makoto Fujimura, recently appointed Director of Fuller s Brehm Center, is an artist, writer, and speaker who is recognized worldwide as a cultural shaper A Presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts from 2003 2009, Fujimura served as an international advocate for the arts, speaking with decision makers and advising governmental policies on the arts In 2014, the American Academy o

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  • Hardcover
  • 263 pages
  • Silence and Beauty
  • Makoto Fujimura
  • 22 June 2018
  • 9780830844593

10 thoughts on “Silence and Beauty

  1. says:

    This book is incredible Wow I ve just been blown away by Fujimura s insight on the Japanese culture, art, and spirit and how he weaves this into grace, Christ s death, and beauty I pretty much highlighted almost every part of this book I have so many ideas to ponder, ideas that are provocative, moving, and heartbreaking There is the aspect of gaining insight into the Japanese people and how they are trapped within their trauma, unable to escape, but all the while have the potential to share something unique and powerful with the world There is the aspect of seeing how this concept of silence is pregnant with hidden pain, but also a brokenness that can lead to healing There is defiance, there is sacrifice, there is trauma, there is beauty, there is the voice of God all wrapped up in this one concept silence This book was also about art and the power to bring healing to the cultures, and that so much resonated with my spirit Fujimura is a fellow warrior poet who understands the struggle of a Christian artist in a fallen world By analyzing Endo s work he also is showing how art has the means by which we can cross borders, cultures, and break through to the hearts of the people Endo s book Silence is an international success, and so Fujimura outlines why exactly this is, and how all Christian artists have this power and, I would say, responsibility I was just blown away by how deep he goes into the arts, Japan, Christianity, and suffering It is heady and profound, but it is also Scriptural, as we are invited into the mystery of God, both His power and grace, both His severity and His kindness It makes me think of the line of verse from a Michael Card song For the power of paradox opens your eyes I am going to be taking much of this books ideas into my life from now on Much I shall be pondering I am grateful for the Lord s use of Makato Fujimura s insight and I pray that God would be continually glorified through it

  2. says:

    I read this immediately after finishing Endo s Silence This book should be required reading for anyone interested in Silence or in how Japan and Christianity relate to one another He also advised Martin Scorsese before he directed the movie version of Silence, which should also be watched after reading Silence It is very faithful to the book.I had the privilege of hearing Fujimura speak at a Society for Classical Learning conference four years ago and got to speak to him for a minute when he autographed my copy of his book I highly recommend Silence and Beauty and must admit I learned about Japanese culture and their worldview in these 200 pages than anything I had read before.

  3. says:

    I actually ran out of sticky page markers and had to switch to post its before the end Sign of a book well read An absolutely transformative book that I will be reflecting upon for a very long time I really want to read his other books now.

  4. says:

    With the release of Martin Scorsese s movie this year, I wanted to reread Silence and also this examination of the novel by Fujimura, whose art I admire I m glad I did Fujimura s position as a Japanese American Christian artist gives him unique insight into Shusako Endo s motivations and perspectives in writing Silence things like the visual nature of Japanese culture, the importance of never standing out, the fact that even the Japanese word used for Christianity designates it as an outsider culture All these things illuminate and expand on the complexities of Endo s novel and Fujimura explains them well The main weakness in the book, imo, is that Fujimura spends way too much time talking about his own conversion and understanding of theology in a way that will be uninteresting or accessible to non Christians.

  5. says:

    Summary A layered reflection on Shusako Endo s Silence by a Japanese American artist that explores the Christian experience of persecution in Japan, and the connections between silence, suffering, and beauty, that may draw contemporary Japanese to faith.It is said that you cannot judge a book by its cover Yet my very first encounter with this book suggested I was in for something special as I looked at a cover with a pure white background, a couple of Japanese characters, and a translucent dust jacket with the the words Silence and Beauty superimposed on those characters I opened the book to find inside papers that I believe are a work of the artist author And what I found between the covers was a profound reflection upon Shusako Endo s Silence.Makoto Fujimura is an internationally renown artist who paints in the ancient Japanese technique of nihonga, which involves the pulverizing of various minerals mixed into a binder and applied in as many as one hundred layers onto art papers He begins his work by describing his encounter with Endo s work having a similar pulverizing effect in his life as he encountered the suffering of Christian martyrs and the attempt to shame apostatizers by having them walk on fumi e bronze images of the crucified Christ, or the Virgin Mary The novel revolves around Father Rodrigues, who struggles between martyrdom, and saving others from suffering by walking on fumi e, and the interior struggle with the silence of God in the face of such suffering.From here, Fujimura explores layers of meaning as he interweaves his own artistic journey, and the struggle to be faithful to Christ in an art world often hostile to faith He also explores Japanese culture and the connections between the chrysanthemum and the sword , between kindness and cruelty, beauty and suffering, and how this has shaped Japanese consciousness, art, and literature Along the way, he reflects on the paradox of the fumi e, at once a symbol of shame, and yet by the very act of those who step on Christ, a proclamation of the cross And with this, he uncovers a reality with which we often struggle but do not find easy to admit, living between faithfulness and denial The fumi e, a symbol of shame, becomes a symbol of hope, for Father Rodrigues, and for us.I struggled at first in understanding what Fujimura was doing until I grasped that rather than a linear exposition of Endo s work, this was a layered reflection, returning to the canvas again and again adding new insights and reflections to what he d already written Fujimura layers history, story, and biography together Nagasaki was Ground Zero for the first martyrdoms of Christians in the Japanese persecution, the location of persecution in Silence, and the site of the second atomic bombing on August 9, 1945 Ground Zero was a church where many were worshiping Fujimura interweaves his own Ground Zero experience of having a studio and a loft apartment in the shadow of the World Trade Center on 9 11 and the struggle with suffering, darkness and lament, and the paradox of beauty that may arise from these.The book includes a summary of Endo s book for those who have not read it Fujimura suggests, and I would agree, reading Endo s book first I read Silence a number of years ago and want to re read it, and perhaps re read Fujimura s book as well He also discusses Endo s relationship in two appendices to two other Japanese authors of note, Yasunari Kawabata and Kenzaburo Oe There is a glossary of Japanese terms which is quite helpful, and which you want to have your thumb in as you read.The book concludes with some thoughtful observations about Christian mission in Japan which I think are also applicable in the West that brings brokenness and beauty together, in place of a church that has often seem focused on legalism He speaks of the hunger for beauty in Japanese culture, the longing for liberation from fumi e, and the power of the Christian message to bring this These are his concluding words Endo shows that God speaks through silence Even if he had been silent, my life until this day would have spoken of him In the mystery of silence and beauty God speaks through our broken lives facing our Ground Zero In the layers revealed through the worn smooth surface of a fumi e is a true portrait of Christ Japan s unique hidden culture offers it as a gift to the world In Silence and Beauty, what Fujimura has done is explore those layers and revealed this gift.____________________________Disclosure of Material Connection I received this book free from the publisher I was not required to write a positive review The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  6. says:

    A multifaceted jewel.

  7. says:

    Every creative act can be a sacramental act to reach the divine and bridge the divide and brokenness created in society 209 Silence and Beauty is a fascinating, thoughtful, wonderful book Mako uses Endo s novel Silence, and Scorcese s film version, as a starting point to talk about history, Christianity, and Japanese culture He also shares glimpses of his own journey in America and Japan.As part of this meandering in a good way musing, Mako presents an excellent explanation for why the visual arts struggle to find a place in American churches He suggests that the many Christians who make black and white judgments about others, especially in regard to failures of faith have created a context in which artists sense the disappearance of margins, cultural estuaries where they can be allowed to explore the confluence of the ambiguous on the beautiful, and where the reality of faith is always shifting 81 82 I find that to be really helpful, the idea of cultural estuaries where the arts thrive, and the fact that the Western obsessions with order, structure, and clarity reduce that space, and thus reduce the ways in which artists might contribute to the Christian life of a community.It was a surprise at the end of the book that Mako moves the discussion to his hopes and dreams for Japan in the future I appreciated his metaphor of soil requiring multiple layers of death to become productive in the same way, Mako prays that the many layers of death Japan has endured over hundreds of years including religious persecution, atomic blasts, nuclear meltdown will eventually be seen as preparing the ground for great fruitfulness that will reach out to the rest of the world Beautiful.This book changed my perspective on many things, and it did so not in a dogmatic, logical way, but in the quiet, reflective voice of a friend sharing from his heart I highly recommend this book, even without having experience of Endo s novel or Scorcese s film I haven t yet read or seen either.

  8. says:

    Short Review Silence and Beauty is a profound reflection on the book Silence by Shusaku Endo, the role of art and beauty in Christianity, and a reflection of the impact of Christianity on the culture of Japan I am not going to say tons about it now because I have purchase the paperback copy of Silence I listened to it on audiobook the last time I read it and I am going to reread Silence and Beauty again Seriously, this is an excellent book As a side note, I purchase the hardcover because I was encouraged to get it that way It has a nice dust jacket and full color images in the center I re purchased the Kindle edition because I prefer ebooks and I want to highlight passages for help in writing another review The Kindle edition has the images in line with where they are talked about in the text And if you are reading on a color tablet, then the images are in color Obviously if you reading on a black and white eink reader, the images are black and white My full initial review is on my blog at review is at

  9. says:

    Wonderful Fujimura makes the fumi e the center of Japanese culture in a compelling and extended argument and illustration The reality of human trauma, the hidden nature of broken faith, and the beauty of silence are an unfolding plan that we can only access through this cultural estuary called Japan Part theology, part artistic philosophy, part literary criticism this book is worth your while.

  10. says:

    Silence is beauty beauty is silent.

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