(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

SCANDAL is the story of the dilemma facing a leading Catholic novelist who has a reputation for impeccable morals. Yet strange witnesses charge him with having frequented a district in Tokyo noted for its discos, pornography shops, cheap hotels, and sexual escapades. Suguro pays visits to this district in an effort to clear himself of the charge against him. Concurrently, an inquiring reporter who hates him shadows him and makes inquiries about him to expose the writer’s duplicity and hypocrisy. As a result Suguro learns about the dark side of humanity and of his own darkness.

Suguro (only too obviously a persona for Endo) learns of the witnesses to his apparent depravity at an awards ceremony for him. A woman street artist, drunk, from the sleazy Tokyo district, invades the reception, asserting that Suguro invited her. She also claims that a friend of hers, another female artist, painted Suguro’s portrait, entitling it THE FACE OF MR. S., and that the painting is presently on exhibition at a gallery in Tokyo’s “Montmartre,” an exhibition Suguro promised to attend. When Suguro tells her that she must have him confused with somebody else, she replies that she knows him from Sukura Street in Shinjuku Ward, where he did “some very naughty things.”

During the course of his investigation of himself, Suguro learns the complexity of his own psyche. His face in the portrait reveals inner lewdness and contempt. He discovers his “double"--his shadow,...

(The entire section is 459 words.)