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Shusaku Endo - Peter Owen collection

Identifier: GTM-850102

Collection level scope and contents note

The collection consists of letters and manuscripts related to the English translation and publication in Britain by Peter Owen Limited, of two works by the Japanese Catholic author Shusaku Endo: "The Samurai," and "Stained Glass Elegies." The first series relating to "The Samurai" includes correspondence between Endo's English translator Van C. Gessel and editor Dan Franklin, as well as publisher Peter Owen. The second series includes correspondence by Gessel and Antonia Owen.

Material from the early 1990s includes Endo's letters to Owen, pertaining to the filming of his novels "Silence" and "Samurai," international editions of "Scandal," Owens' visit to Japan, etc. Also includes letters dictated by Endo to his assistant, Mako Kawashima, drafts of Endo's book recommendations for Christmas presents for publication in "The Daily Telegraph," and letters from Gessel to Owen.


  • 1981-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1981-1984

Conditions Governing Access note

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical notes

Shusako Endo (1923-1996) was a Japanese Roman Catholic author. Born in Tokyo, he relocated to Manchuria for his early childhood, before returning around the age of 10 to Japan, where he was baptized as a Roman Catholic at the age of 11. He studied at Keio University and in Lyons, France, where he studied the writing of French Catholic authors. He spent most of his life living in Japan, and died in Tokyo at the age of 73.

According to the New York Times, his novels and plays are "about faith and faithlessness, East and West, heritage and modernity..." His most famous novel, Silence, follows the life of a 17th century Jesuit missonary sent to Japan who endures persecution during the time of the Kakure Kirishitan (hidden Christians). Other novels include Deep River and Scandal. In 1994, Endo was a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature, but it went that year to another Japanese author. Graham Greene has hailed him as ''one of the finest living novelists.''


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Peter Owen (1927-2016) was the head of Peter Owen Limited, an independent British publishing company. Owen established the company in 1951. He sought to bring international books to the British public. Owen was a friend and agent of Shusaku Endo. The firm created by Owen continues to operate to this day.

[Source: "Peter Owen Publishers" Online].


1.7 Linear Feet (4 Hollinger Document Cases )

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, 1985, 1986, 1994.

Shusaku Endo - Peter Owen collection
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057