"Why is it that I've never before realized so clearly that death, the end, is one of the most important facts of life?" This quote is one reason why we enjoy Shiokari Pass on multiple levels. Coming from a society that has a strong emphasis on the afterlife (or abstract thought in general), it is difficult to understand that a culture may put little thought into death and beyond. Shiokari Pass is a fun way to observe the Japanese culture, specifically from a Christian view.
Shiokari Pass, based on a true story, is about a young man named Nobuo Nagano, whose world turns upside down when he discovers that his mother is alive and she is a "Yaso," or a Christian. Experiencing joys, losses, and tragedies, challenges his view of people and their actions. Nobuo also discovers what true love is as he pursues a childhood friend, a girl named Fujiko.
The beauty of this book is that it is a well-written Japanese Christian story written by a well-known Japanese author. This gives an interesting insight into the culture surrounding the novel. At one point, Nobuo mentions a charm that his Christian sister made to keep the rain away, which as a reader, seems to go against Biblical beliefs. However, the same paragraph also explains that it is raining as he notices the charm. In essence, the story briefly pauses to explain, "Charms do not work; we cannot trust them."This subtle hint, while also being a literary technique, fits a Japanese method of approaching issues.
It is also fascinating to see the relationships between characters. Especially in the beginning, Nobuo speaks little, but often mentally replies, explains, or wonders. When Nobuo begins to consider wrong actions, most of the focus is on sins that directly relate to others. Even on the verge of going to a place of promiscuity, his reason for stopping is, "What if [my friend] saw me?" Nearing the end of the book, it is Nobuo's failure to love his enemy and the experiences he has had with Christians that help him become a Christian.
Overall, it is a fun novel with much to glean and an interesting ending. Has anyone else read Shiokari Pass (or watched the film)?