Study Guide

Silence Chapter 1

By Shusaku Endo

Chapter 1

  • We start with more bad news: poor Juan de Santa Marta is sick, possibly with "malaria" (1.2). Get well soon, buddy.
  • Still, Rodrigues is more worried about Father Valignano. After the recent Shimabara Rebellion (led by Christians), the Japanese government is even more hostile towards priests.
  • Rodrigues explains that he and the others just want to learn the truth about Ferreira. Valignano is unsure himself: all he knows is that Ferreira supposedly renounced his faith after being interrogated by Inoue, the much-feared magistrate of Nagasaki.
  • Despite this, Rodrigues somehow manages to convince Valignano to approve their "secret mission" (1.18).
  • By chance, the Rodrigues and Valignano run into a scraggly Japanese drunk named Kichijiro. Although he claims to not be a Christian, he agrees to help the priests make their way into Japan.
  • Meanwhile, Valignano hires a crew of Chinese sailors. Santa Marta's still sick as a dog, so he'll have to stay back in Macau.
  • Although Kichijiro mingles with the crew, he quickly proves himself to be an unreliable worker. Rodrigues wonders if the old drunk is planning to betray them.
  • With five days left until their departure for Japan, Rodrigues sits in his room at the dead of night, visualizing the face of Jesus.