Shōgun (2024 miniseries)

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Shōgun
Release poster
GenreHistorical drama
Created by
Based onShōgun
by James Clavell
Starring
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languages
  • Japanese
  • English
No. of episodes10
Production
Executive producers
  • Michaela Clavell
  • Rachel Kondo
  • Michael De Luca
  • Edward L. McDonnell
  • Justin Marks
Producers
  • Jamie Vega Wheeler
  • Eriko Miyagawa
  • Hiroyuki Sanada
  • Erin Smith
  • Tom Winchester
Editors
  • Maria Gonzales (eps. 1, 4, 7 & 10)
  • Aika Miyake (eps. 2, 5, 8 & 10)
  • Thomas A. Krueger (eps. 3, 6 & 9)
Running time53–70 minutes
Production companies
  • Gate 34
  • Michael De Luca Productions
  • FXP
Original release
Network
ReleaseFebruary 27 (2024-02-27) –
April 23, 2024 (2024-04-23)

Shōgun is an American historical drama television miniseries created by Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks. It is based on the 1975 novel by James Clavell, which was previously adapted into a 1980 miniseries. Its ensemble cast includes Hiroyuki Sanada, Cosmo Jarvis, Anna Sawai, Tadanobu Asano, Takehiro Hira, Tommy Bastow, and Fumi Nikaido.

The series premiered its first two episodes on February 27, 2024, on FX on Hulu and FX, with the rest being released weekly until April 23, 2024. It received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for the directing, writing, visuals, production values, performances of its cast, and faithfulness to the source material.

Premise[edit]

Shōgun follows "the collision of two ambitious men from different worlds, John Blackthorne, a risk-taking English sailor who ends up shipwrecked in Japan, a land whose unfamiliar culture will ultimately redefine him; Lord Toranaga, a shrewd, powerful daimyo, at odds with his own dangerous, political rivals; and Lady Mariko, a woman with invaluable skills but dishonorable family ties, who must prove her value and allegiance."[1][2]

Clavell's Shōgun is historical fiction. The character of Blackthorne is loosely based on the historical English navigator William Adams,[3][4] who in Japan rose to become a samurai under Tokugawa Ieyasu, a powerful daimyō who later became the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate. Ieyasu is the basis for the character of Yoshii Toranaga.[5][6]

Cast and characters[edit]

In the following lists, the names in parenthesis represent the historical figure upon which the character is based.

Main[edit]

  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Tokugawa Ieyasu, 1543–1616): A powerful bushō and lord of Kantō. One of the five Regents ruling Japan on behalf of the late Taikō's young heir. He is a descendant of the Minowara clan (Minamoto clan) which once ruled over Japan as shōguns. He possesses a brilliant mind for military and political strategy.
  • Cosmo Jarvis as Pilot-Major John Blackthorne / "Anjin" (William Adams, 1564–1620): A Protestant English maritime pilot who served on a Dutch fleet seeking to establish trade with Japan. He finds himself and his crew captive to the powerful Lord Toranaga.
  • Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko (Hosokawa Gracia, 1563–1600): An intelligent highborn woman with strong loyalty to Toranaga. She is a Catholic convert who serves as a translator between Toranaga and Blackthorne.
  • Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige (Honda Masanobu, 1538–1616): The scheming lord of Izu who serves Toranaga.
  • Takehiro Hira as Ishido Kazunari (Ishida Mitsunari, 1559–1600): A former peasant turned powerful bushō, one of the five Regents, Toranaga's chief rival, and ruler of Osaka Castle.
  • Tommy Bastow as Father Martin Alvito, SJ / "Tsuji" (João Rodrigues Tçuzu, 1561–1634): An empathetic Portuguese priest and reliable translator.
  • Fumi Nikaido as Ochiba no Kata (Yodo-dono, 1569–1615): The only consort of the late Taikō who bore an heir, her son Yaechiyo.

Supporting[edit]

  • Néstor Carbonell as Vasco Rodrigues: A Spanish sailor in league with the Portuguese who befriends Blackthorne
  • Tokuma Nishioka [ja] as Toda "Iron Fist" Hiromatsu (Hosokawa Fujitaka, 1534–1610): Toranaga's most trusted general and close confidant
  • Hiroto Kanai [ja] as Kashigi Omi (Honda Masazumi, 1566–1637): Yabushige's bright nephew and the lord of Ajiro
  • Yasunari Takeshima [ja] as Tonomoto Akinao / Muraji: A Christian fisherman in Ajiro, who can translate for Blackthorne and is secretly a loyal samurai serving Toranaga
  • Moeka Hoshi [ja] as Usami Fuji: Hiromatsu's granddaughter and later Blackthorne's consort
  • Yuki Kura [ja] as Yoshii Nagakado (Matsudaira Tadayoshi, 1580–1607): Toranaga's impulsive yet adoring son
  • Ako as Daiyoin / Lady Iyo (Kōdai-in, 1549–1624): The wife of the late Taikō, who later became a Buddhist nun upon his death
  • Ned Dennehy as the Captain-General: The Dutch captain of the Erasmus, who died at sea
  • Hiromoto Ida as Kiyama ukon Sadanaga (Konishi Yukinaga, 1555–1600): One of the five Regents, who converted to Catholicism, due to the wealth the Portuguese acquired for him
  • Toshi Toda [de] as Sugiyama Josui (Maeda Toshiie, 1539–1599): One of the five Regents, who is descended from a rich clan
  • Takeshi Kurokawa as Ohno Harunobu (Otani Yoshitsugu, 1558–1600): One of the five Regents, a once great warrior afflicted with leprosy, which drove him to become a devout Catholic
  • Yuki Takao as Usami Tadayoshi: Fuji's impulsive husband and a samurai serving Toranaga
  • Yuka Kouri [ja] as Kiku: A crafty and beguiling courtesan from Izu and Omi's concubine
  • Sen Mars as Nakamura Yaechiyo (Toyotomi Hideyori, 1593–1615): The only son and heir of the Taikō
  • Dakota Daulby as Salamon: A surviving crew member of the Erasmus who Blackthorne later encounters living in the slums of Edo
  • Nelson Leis as Hendrik: A surviving crew member of the Erasmus
  • Hiro Kanagawa as Igarashi Yoshimito: An older, eye-patch-wearing samurai serving Yabushige
  • Yuki Kedoin [ja] as Takemaru: A young samurai serving Yabushige
  • Nobuya Shimamoto as Nebara Jozen: Ishido's loyal retainer and an old friend of Yabushige
  • Yutaka Takeuchi as Akechi Jinsai (Akechi Mitsuhide, 1528–1582): Mariko's late father and a powerful warlord who betrayed and killed Lord Kuroda, tarnishing his family's legacy
  • Joaquim de Almeida as Father Domingo: A Franciscan friar who befriended and lectured Blackthorne about Japanese politics
  • Yukijiro Hotaru as Nakamura Hidetoshi, later the Taikō (Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 1537–1598): The retired Kampaku who appointed a council of five regents to succeed him until his heir comes of age
  • Shinnosuke Abe as Toda "Buntaro" Hirokatsu (Hosokawa Tadaoki, 1563–1646): Hiromatsu's son, Mariko's husband, and a talented samurai serving Toranaga
  • Louis Ferreira as Ferreira: The Portuguese captain-general of the Black Ship, the largest trade ship that handles commerce between the Portuguese Empire and Japan
  • Paulino Nunes as Father Visitor Carlo Dell'Acqua, SJ (Alessandro Valignano, 1539–1606): A senior Italian priest and the highest-ranking representative of the Catholic Church in Japan
  • Yoriko Dōguchi as Kiri no Kata (Lady Acha, 1555–1637): Toranaga's wife
  • Mako Fujimoto as Shizu no Kata: Toranaga's younger, pregnant consort
  • Yuua Yamanaka as Toda Ryûji: Mariko and Buntaro's son
  • Junichi Tajiri as Uejiro: An elderly gardener at Blackthorne's estate in Ajiro
  • Eisuke Sasai as Lord Ito: An influential warlord and Noh performer who is invited to join the council of five Regents
  • Yuko Miyamoto as Gin: The madam of the Ajiro teahouse
  • Eijiro Ozaki as Lord Kuroda Nobuhisa (Oda Nobunaga, 1534–1582): The former daimyo and Ochiba's father, who was killed by Akechi Jinsai, Mariko's father, in 1578
  • Eita Okuno as Saeki Nobutatsu (Matsudaira Iemoto, 1548–1603): Toranaga's half-brother and a powerful warlord
  • Takaaki Hirakawa as Mizoguchi: A warlord who was defeated during Toranaga's first battle in 1554
  • Yoshi Amao as Sera: A samurai general based in Edo and one of Toranaga's vassals, who refuses to submit to the Regents
  • Hitoshi Masaki as Tomono: A samurai general based in Edo and one of Toranaga's vassals, who refuses to submit to the Regents
  • Haruka Igarashi as Rin: Toranaga's daughter-in-law and Ochiba's younger sister who lives in Edo

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten by [7]Original air date [8]U.S. viewers
(millions)
1"Chapter One: Anjin"Jonathan van TullekenRachel Kondo & Justin MarksFebruary 27, 2024 (2024-02-27)0.764[9]
In 1600, the Taikō has recently died, leaving the rule split among five equal regents, who protect the Taikō's child heir at Osaka Castle. The Dutch trading ship Erasmus [nl; ja] and its starving crew arrive at Ajiro [ja] on the coast of Japan; the survivors, including English pilot John Blackthorne, are taken prisoner by local samurai. The entrenched Portuguese traders and the Catholic Church's Jesuit order are the political and religious rivals of the Protestant Blackthorne. The local Jesuit priest immediately attempts to have Blackthorne executed, claiming him to be a pirate, but the fief's ruler, Kashigi Yabushige, dismisses the request and plans to use the Erasmus and its weapons to his benefit. At Osaka Castle, four regents, led by Lord Ishido, initiate the process to impeach and thereby condemn to death the fifth regent, Yoshii Toranaga. Following a spy's report, Toranaga's general, Toda Hiromatsu, confiscates the Erasmus and its cargo before bringing Blackthorne to Osaka. On the way, Blackthorne takes command of the ship during a storm when the Spanish navigator Rodrigues is washed overboard, and Rodrigues is saved by Blackthorne and Yabushige. Blackthorne is then taken to Osaka Castle, where he meets Toranaga and Lady Toda Mariko.
2"Chapter Two: Servants of Two Masters"Jonathan van TullekenRachel Kondo & Justin MarksFebruary 27, 2024 (2024-02-27)0.764[9]
In 1598, the Taikō, on his deathbed, privately informs Toranaga of his intention to form a council of regents to succeed him, but warns that it will likely result in civil war. In 1600, Blackthorne's confiscated journals are given to the Jesuits by Rodrigues. Blackthorne meets with Toranaga, with Mariko and the Jesuit priest Martin Alvito as interpreters, but is interrupted by Ishido. Toranaga feigns disinterest and has Blackthorne imprisoned, hoping to use his presence to sow division between Ishido and the Christian regents. In prison, Blackthorne meets a friar who informs him that the Portuguese Black Ship has been taking profits from the silk trade back to Europe using a secret military base in Macao. The Christian regents inform Ishido that they will only vote on Toranaga's impeachment if Blackthorne is executed, and Yabushige convinces Ishido that Blackthorne could be useful. Yabushige and his samurai stage a bandit attack and rescue Blackthorne from execution. At Blackthorne's second meeting, with Mariko interpreting, he explains that Portugal and Spain have divided the world among themselves and intend to replace all non-Catholic governments. That night, a shinobi attempts to assassinate Blackthorne but is killed by Toranaga, who had secretly switched their rooms.
3"Chapter Three: Tomorrow Is Tomorrow"Charlotte BrändströmShannon GossMarch 5, 2024 (2024-03-05)0.492[10]
Toranaga instructs Yabushige to move Blackthorne to Ajiro along with Toranaga's wife Kiri. Ferreira, captain-general of the Black Ship, disregards the Jesuits' concerns and plans to sail without Toranaga's permission. At Osaka Castle, Ishido inspects Yabushige's caravan under the guise of paying respects. Blackthorne and Mariko witness Toranaga secretly changing places with Kiri in her litter. Mariko explains that they will be killed if this is discovered, and Blackthorne creates a distraction, enabling them to leave the castle. Kiyama's men later attack the caravan and discover Toranaga. Toranaga's party escapes to a galley as Mariko's husband Buntaro stays behind to stall pursuit. The harbor is blocked by Kiyama's men and Toranaga boards the Black Ship, striking a deal with the Portuguese in exchange for safe passage. Ferreira requires Blackthorne to be left behind, but he daringly follows in the galley and rejoins once both ships have broken the blockade. At sea, Toranaga makes Blackthorne a hatamoto and asks him to teach Western tactics to a new regiment. In Osaka, Hiromatsu informs the regents that Toranaga has resigned, leaving them without a quorum to vote on impeachment.
4"Chapter Four: The Eightfold Fence"Frederick E.O. ToyeNigel Williams & Emily YoshidaMarch 12, 2024 (2024-03-12)0.517[12]

Toranaga inspects Yabushige's army in Ajiro and departs for Edo. Mariko informs Blackthorne that his crew are in Edo and that they and the Erasmus now belong to Toranaga. Blackthorne is given a home, a good salary, and Usami Fuji, Hiromatsu's granddaughter, as his consort in exchange for training Yabushige's army for six months. Yabushige's nephew, Kashigi Omi, suggests to Yabushige that, in Toranaga's absence, Yabushige can offer the confiscated weapons from the Erasmus to Ishido. Ishido's retainer, Nebara Jozen, arrives and tells Yabushige to return to Osaka and pledge his loyalty to the remaining regents. Knowing that this will likely end in his death, Yabushige invites Jozen to stay the night and witness a demonstration of the cannons the next day. At dinner, Blackthorne gives Fuji one of his guns as a token of gratitude and she gives him her late father's swords. Mariko sneaks into Blackthorne's room at night and sleeps with him, later claiming that she and Fuji had hired a courtesan. The next day, during the demonstration, Nagakado takes matters into his own hands and kills Jozen and his retinue with chain shots from the cannons.


The episode is dedicated to the memory of technical advisor and cannon expert Larry Beckett.[11]
5"Chapter Five: Broken to the Fist"Frederick E.O. ToyeMatt LambertMarch 19, 2024 (2024-03-19)0.554[13]
Toranaga returns to Ajiro with his army. Learning that Nagakado killed Jozen, he takes away his command of the cannon regiment, giving it to Omi. Buntaro returns from Osaka and moves in with Blackthorne and Mariko. During dinner, Blackthorne and Buntaro engage in a sake drinking binge. A drunken Buntaro forces Mariko to tell Blackthorne about her father, Akechi Jinsai, who murdered the predecessor of the Taikō. He was forced to execute his family before committing seppuku and Mariko married Buntaro as atonement for his betrayal. Later that night Mariko is assaulted by Buntaro and Blackthorne confronts him outside, but Buntaro lays down his sword and apologizes for disturbing his home. Blackthorne later asks Toranaga for permission to permanently leave Japan but after an earthquake buries Toranaga in a landslide, Blackthrone saves him. The following day, Muraji manages to convince Yabushige and Omi that Uejirou, who had been executed, was the spy they were searching for. In Osaka, the remaining regents attempt to decide who will take Toranaga's place on the council but Ochiba soon arrives and reunites with Yaechiyo before telling Ishido that the council will now listen to her.
6"Chapter Six: Ladies of the Willow World"Hiromi KamataMaegan HouangMarch 26, 2024 (2024-03-26)0.523[14]
In 1578, Mariko is living at the home of warlord Kuroda Nobuhisa. She becomes friends with his daughter, the future Ochiba, and witnesses Nobuhisa executing her father's allies. In 1600, Toranaga bestows Blackthorne with an admiralty and a fief, and Blackthorne's request to leave Japan is denied. Toranaga reveals to Mariko that Jinsai wanted her to continue his work of protecting Japan. At Osaka Castle, the remaining three regents and their families have been taken hostage by Ochiba and Ishido, under the pretense that there is a plot to kill Yaechiyo. Hiromatsu escapes but must leave the others behind. Ochiba believes Toranaga plotted her father's death, and she and Ishido offer Ito, an influential warlord, a seat on the council. Sugiyama refuses to confirm Ito and tries to flee Osaka with his family but Ishido kills them. Hiromatsu reaches Ajiro and informs Toranaga of the situation in Osaka. Toranaga's war council wants to use his secret Crimson Sky plan to defeat Ishido. Toranaga refuses, understanding that this will most likely make him the new shōgun. When news of Sugiyama's death reaches Ajiro, Toranaga realizes that his impeachment is inevitable and invokes Crimson Sky to protect Yaechiyo and limit future bloodshed.
7"Chapter Seven: A Stick of Time"Takeshi FukunagaMatt LambertApril 2, 2024 (2024-04-02)0.540[15]
In 1554, a young Toranaga achieves his first victory in a battle against the warlord Mizoguchi, who commits seppuku. In 1600, Toranaga meets his estranged half-brother, Saeki Nobutatsu, to discuss terms of merging their two armies to invade Osaka as part of Crimson Sky. Saeki reveals he has been offered the fifth regency in place of Sugiyama, and Toranaga must either surrender to the council in Osaka or face imminent war. Saeki also informs Yabushige that his general has been executed, ending his chance of successfully playing both sides. Toranaga refuses Buntaro's request to kill Blackthorne, and Mariko's request to be allowed to die. Toranaga informs Saeki of his intention to surrender and declares there will be no Crimson Sky, despite protests from Nagakado and Yabushige. Kiku and Nagakado conspire to kill Saeki at Anjiro's teahouse. Saeki attempts to flee the ambush but trips into the teahouse's pond but as Nagakado attempts to kill him, he slips and fatally hits his head on a rock.
8"Chapter Eight: The Abyss of Life"Emmanuel Osei-KuffourShannon GossApril 9, 2024 (2024-04-09)0.436[16]
Toranaga and his army travel to Edo to prepare for Nagakado's funeral and 49 days of mourning. Ishido proposes marriage to Ochiba to strengthen their alliance. Alvito suggests to Toranaga that he should ally with Ochiba and overthrow Ishido, but Toranaga tells the priest to inform Ishido that he will formally surrender. Buntaro and Mariko have a tea ceremony, where he proposes that they commit suicide to protest Toranaga's surrender, but Mariko refuses. Blackthorne visits his former shipmates, and Salamon confronts him about his piloting decisions that brought them to Japan. Blackthorne offers his services to Yabushige, who initially refuses. Daiyoin suffers a stroke and begs Ochiba to end her hostilities and release the hostages before dying. Toranaga's vassals sign their names to a formal letter of surrender, but Hiromatsu commits seppuku in defiance. Toranaga reveals to Mariko that Hiromatsu committed suicide to make his enemies believe his defeat was real. Yabushige is thus convinced and accepts Blackthorne's services. Toranaga asks Mariko to travel on his behalf to Osaka. The next morning, at the resting place of his son, Toranaga thanks his son and Hiromatsu and vows not to waste the time they bought.
9"Chapter Nine: Crimson Sky"Frederick E.O. ToyeRachel Kondo & Caillin PuenteApril 16, 2024 (2024-04-16)TBD
Blackthorne, Mariko, and Yabushige arrive in Osaka to surrender to Ishido on Toranaga's behalf. Yabushige requests that Ishido spare his life in exchange for his servitude but is denied. Mariko demands to leave the city with Toranaga's family at his request, but during her attempt to leave, the guards overpower her, so she announces that she will take her own life at sunset. Ochiba meets with Mariko in secret and recounts their childhood together in an attempt to make her surrender peacefully, but she refuses. Mariko soon prepares to commit seppuku, but Ishido stops her and grants her permission to leave. Later that night, Blackthorne and Mariko profess their love for each other. Ishido agrees to spare Yabushige who allows an army of shinobi to infiltrate the castle, but Blackthorne prevents them from kidnapping Mariko. Amid the chaos, Blackthorne, Mariko, Yabushige, and Toranaga's consorts lock themselves in a storehouse, but after the shinobi set up explosives to blow open the door, Mariko willingly stands in front of it to defy Ishido and is killed by the explosion, horrifying Blackthorne.
10"Chapter Ten: A Dream of a Dream"Frederick E.O. ToyeMaegan Houang & Emily YoshidaApril 23, 2024 (2024-04-23)TBD
In the aftermath of the assault on Osaka Castle, Mariko is buried and the Council unanimously votes to declare war on Toranaga. Blackthorne leaves Osaka with Yabushige and Toranaga's consorts, having learned from Alvito that Mariko persuaded the Church to spare his life. Upon arriving in Ajiro, they discover that the Erasmus has been destroyed and Yabushige is arrested while Toranaga's men ruthlessly hunt for suspected traitors. After confessing to having aided Ishido, Yabushige is ordered by Toranaga to commit seppuku the following day. Blackthorne reunites with Fuji who informs him that she has been relieved of her duties. The next day, Blackthorne implores Toranaga to spare Ajiro and threatens to commit seppuku, but Toranaga stops him and orders the construction of a fleet of ships. Toranaga later confesses to Yabushige that he ordered the destruction of the Erasmus to keep Blackthorne from leaving Japan and that Mariko's death helped convince Ochiba to withdraw her support from Ishido ahead of the future Battle of Sekigahara. After Toranaga refuses to divulge the entirety of his plan, Yabushige carries out his sentence and commits seppuku. With the help of Buntaro and the villagers, Blackthorne begins efforts to salvage the Erasmus as Toranaga observes from afar.

Production[edit]

Hiroyuki Sanada, one of the producers of the series, portrays Lord Yoshii Toranaga.

Development[edit]

During the Television Critics Association's annual summer press tour in August 2018, FX announced it would make a new adaptation of the 1975 novel Shōgun by James Clavell and had given the production a straight-to-series order. Executive producers were expected to include Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, Michael De Luca, Michaela Clavell, Tim Van Patten, Eugene Kelly, and Ronan Bennett. Rachel Bennette is set as a supervising producer, Tom Winchester as a producer, Georgina Pope as a co-producer, and Eriko Miyagawa as an associate producer. Patten will also direct the series, and Bennett will also write. FX Productions is slated to serve as the production company for the series. Hiroyuki Sanada serves as a producer and lead actor.[1][17]

In an interview with USA Today, Sanada expressed his role as a producer, saying "After 20 years in Hollywood, I'm a producer. It means I can say anything, anytime. [...] I had a team for the first time, ever. I carried the pressure of being a producer on my shoulder. But more than that, I had happiness." He also stressed keeping the show authentic to Japanese history. "If something is incorrect, people cannot focus on the drama. They don't want to see that kind of show. We needed to be authentic."[18]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for the series was scheduled to commence in March 2019 in Japan and the United Kingdom,[19] but was delayed because the network felt that the production wasn't in good enough shape and that they wanted to aim higher.[20] Sanada did a single day of filming in 2019 in order for FX to retain the rights to the property as the series was being retooled.[21]

In January 2020, it was revealed that after original writer Ronan Bennett was no longer available to keep working on scripts, they started over from scratch with new writer and executive producer Justin Marks, working alongside his wife, supervising producer Rachel Kondo. The series' writing team also includes co-executive producer Shannon Goss, consulting producer Matt Lambert, script editor Maegan Houang, and staff writer Emily Yoshida.[22]

On September 22, 2021, principal photography for the series began in Vancouver, lasting until June 30, 2022, two months longer than expected.[23][24] Certain post-production visual effects were produced in Ireland.[25] Nikkan Gendai reported that Japanese extras were paid 50,000 yen per day, which is much higher than a Japanese production where they are paid between zero yen to 5,000 yen a day.[26] A Japanese white pine tree used on set was donated and planted after filming to the City Hall of Port Moody.[27][28]

Marketing[edit]

To promote the series, an immersive exhibition of the series occurred at FX Lawn during San Diego Comic Con in July 2023. These included samurai performances and a virtual koi pond.[29] On September 5, 2023, the series was teased in a showcase of upcoming FX television shows.[30] On November 2, 2023, the show's first trailer debuted on YouTube, which revealed that the series would be released in February 2024 on FX on Hulu.[2] A 30-second trailer for the series aired during the second-quarter of Super Bowl LVIII on February 11, 2024. Bill Bradley of Adweek wrote "The series has been in the works for years and is already the most expensive in FX history, so what's another $7 million-ish for an ad?"[31]

Release[edit]

Shōgun premiered with its first two episodes on February 27, 2024, on FX on Hulu and FX. The remainder of the 10-episode series will release weekly. Internationally, the series will be available on Disney+ and Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in other territories.[32] An English dub of the series is available on Hulu.[33] A companion podcast was also released for each episode.[34]

Reception[edit]

Audience viewership[edit]

According to viewer tracking application Samba TV, Shōgun was the most streamed program across all platforms between February 26 and March 3, 2024.[35][36] It was also the most streamed program across all platforms during its second week.[37] TheWrap noted that Shōgun was one of the few non-Netflix series to have a back-to-back number one ranking.[38] On March 6, 2024, it was revealed the show drew 9 million views across Hulu, Disney+, and Star+ in its first six days of release.[39][40] The streaming aggregator Reelgood reported the miniseries was the most streamed program in the United States through March 6, 2024.[41] From March 4 to 10, 2024, Shōgun was the most streamed television series in Canada,[42] and in the United States,[43] according to the streaming aggregator JustWatch.

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic85/100[44]
Rotten Tomatoes99%[45]
Review scores
SourceRating
Chicago Sun-Times[46]
The Daily Telegraph[47]
Empire[48]
Entertainment Weekly[49]A-
Evening Standard[50]
The Financial Times[51]
The Guardian[52]
Indiewire[53]A-
San Francisco Chronicle[54]
The Times[55]
RogerEbert.com[56]
USA Today[57]

Shōgun received critical acclaim worldwide.[58][44] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 99% of 107 critics gave the series a positive review, with an average rating of 8.55/10. The site's critical consensus is, "Visually sumptuous and enriched with cultural verisimilitude, Shōgun is an epic adaptation that outdoes the original."[45] On Metacritic, the series holds a weighted average score of 85 out of 100 based on 39 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[44]

Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian praised the show, calling it "mesmerising" and especially praised the battle sequences and its respect for the source material.[59] Writing for The New York Times, Mike Hale compared the show to the 1980 adaptation, writing "You can correct for wooden acting, dated production values and Eurocentrism, but you can't really correct for the basic nature of the material." He especially praised the show for highlighting more of the Japanese characters than in the 1980 adaptation, which focused more on Blackthorne. His only complaints were Cosmo Jarvis's more neutered portrayal of Blackthorne and the Western-written source material.[60] Forbes described the show as an "instant hit" and praised Jarvis' portrayal of Blackthorne, stating "I'm immediately drawn to his character because he's not just some good guy, some white savior or what have you. He's smart but he's also calculating and ruthless."[61] Anita Singh of The Telegraph awarded the series four stars out of five, writing that "Disney's glossy adaptation of James Clavell's bloody novel – set in Japan in 1600 – looks great and feels unapologetically macho."[62]

Empire headlined their review by Jake Cunningham with "Shōgun makes for gripping television. Look past the knotty bureaucracy and you'll find striking performances and stunning visuals", highlighting the intricate performances of its lead trio. He describes Jarvis as "compelling" and "magnetic", Hiroyuki Sanada as a "subdued lord [who] ripples with menace, micro-expressions of warfaring arithmetic revealing his tactical mind" and Anna Sawai as "a character torn in duty and spirituality, cloaked in a performance of stoicism."[63] The Hollywood Reporter also praised the supporting cast, notably Moeka Hoshi, Tadanobu Asano, Fumi Nikaido, Shinnosuke Abe and Tokuma Nishioka for their strong character work.[64] IGN described some of the supporting cast as "stand-out", praising Néstor Carbonell as Rodrigues and Tadanobu Asano as Yabushige next to Jarvis' Blackthorne, "a force to be reckoned with."[65] Emmanuel Ronquillo of Collider also highlighted the "understated but expressive performance" of Moeka Hoshi in the show.[66]

Series creators Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks's adaptation of the novel also received positive responses, with Daniel Fienberg from The Hollywood Reporter stating that "this Shōgun finds much more traction as an ambitious game of political chess."[64] IGN writes "Creators Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo have crafted a version of feudal Japan filled with visual splendor, brutality, and intrigue" whilst remaining "highly faithful to James Clavell's bestselling novel".[65] For Variety, Alison Herman attributes the show's success to "creators Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo have tapped into the true secret sauce of epic television: a balance between sweeping grandeur and intimate psychology."[67]

Reception in Japan[edit]

In Japan, the series was received with acclaim by audiences on Eiga.com [ja].[68] Japanese comedian and history buff Kunihiro Matsumura also praised the series for its authenticity. Ken Matsudaira, who played Tokugawa Yoshimune in The Unfettered Shogun and played Tokugawa Ieyasu (who was the model for the main character, Yoshii Toranaga) three times in his acting career, praised Sanada's skilled acting and his effort to bring more historical authenticity to the series, for which Sanada also serves as a producer.[69] In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sanada expressed his thoughts on the show's Japanese reception. "I was a little worried about the Japanese reaction because they know what is authentic, and what is not. But surprisingly, all the reviews and the reactions from the audience were great. That was exactly what we wanted."[70]

Acclaimed video game designer Hideo Kojima, known for founding Kojima Productions, gave the series a glowing review, likening it to "a Game of Thrones set in 17th century Japan", and praised the show's scale, details, cast, costumes, sets, props, and VFX, as well as citing star and producer Hiroyuki Sanada's presence in the series.[71]

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External links[edit]