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In the 17th century, Hasekura and three other low-level samurai are sent to seek trade with Nueva España (today's Mexico). Accompanied by Father Velasco, a Franciscan missionary and interpreter, they pursue their mission from Nueva España to Spain. Along the way, they endure not only the hardships of the journey but Velasco's incessant proselytizing. The ambitious priest, who believes that their conversion will gain him the appointment as Bishop of Japan, convinces them that they will succeed only if they convert to Christianity, and reluctantly they agree. Failure, however, is their only reward. After years of wandering, they return to Japan, where they face shame and persecution. Basing his novel on the actual voyage of Hasekura, Shusaku Endo masterfully evokes the struggle between the Western individual and the Eastern collective identity and in so doing plumbs the depths of honor, faith, and human endurance. The result is an expansive audio book of astonishing power and insight.
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