The East and The West Harmoniously Coexisting as Jacob's Descendants Under the Care of Mary of The East and The West: David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet


  • Suzuki Akiyoshi


David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is generally read as a historical novel whose theme is the reconciliation of the East and the West as well as other dichotomies in today’s global society. The novel rather promotes the harmonious coexistence of the East and the West and the unity of science and the humanities beyond the gaps caused by their differences. The protagonists, Jacob (West) and Orito (East), love each other, not in the having mode but in the giving mode, and they deliver a new being without sleeping with each other, like Joseph and Mary, in a world full of the desire to have material goods and people as property. This is like Dejima and Enomoto’s shrine, which can be likened to the literary tradition of dystopian literature. Orito’s face resembles the bombed Virgin Mary in Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki and in Guernica Cathedral. An excellent midwife and medical scientist, Orito loves human beings and saves their lives in the role of the bombed Virgin Mary.