A Beautiful Spot at Tecali, near Puebla, Mexico
Shusaku Endo’s novel Samurai is tightly based on historical facts. However, the mysterious Tecali ex-monk appearing before the samurai is not the case. As Endo revealed in response to a question put to him by a scholar-critic, “He [the Tecali ex-monk] is a pure creation”.
Years ago the ex-monk had left his motherland for Manila to become a monk but had to leave Manila to abandon Christian practices partly due to a strong antipathy to Eurocentric Christianity. Crossing the Pacific, he arrived at Tecali, Nueva Espana. He dismissed a worldly king of pomp and pageantry but discovers, in contrast, a king “emaciated and ugly”:
‘Is that why you abandoned Christianity?’
‘No, no!’ The renegade monk glanced behind him. Several Indians were standing in front of the hut to the rear, staring at the Japanese.
‘No matter what the padres might say, I believe in my own Jesus. My Jesus is not to be found in the palatial cathedrals. He lives among these miserable Indians… Although he had hat is what I believe.’