Home Film & TV Shogun (2024): A Beautiful Production and Twisting Expectations

Shogun (2024): A Beautiful Production and Twisting Expectations

by Andrew Nguyen

Shogun, which stars Hiroyuki Sanada, Anna Sawai, Cosmo Jarvis, and Tadanobu Asano, is based on the novel by James Clavell. The series is set 400 years ago in Japan during a time of high political tensions. The country is on the brink of war but when a European sailor is washed up on shores, history will be made.

Everything from the massive size of the ships on set to the minute detail of the tea ceremony, Shogun is a truly stunning visual production. It is very important to highlight that Lord Toranaga himself, Hiroyuki Sanada, had a lot of creative control while also being an executive producer and brought over many cast and crew from overseas that ultimately brought more authenticity to the show. From my standpoint, it really paid off as the show feels very historically accurate through the dialogue, costume designs, backdrops, props, and more. Another great detail from behind the scenes is that it even came down to the catering. Moet Nozaki-Lee was responsible for catering for the cast and crew and followed traditional recipes for Japanese dishes so that many of the cast and crew could feel like it was home.


There’s an art to authentic crew catering and Moet Nozaki-Lee has mastered it. FX’s Shōgun is now streaming on Hulu.

♬ FXs Shogun. Japanese Catering. Stream on Hulu. – FX Networks

Hiroyuki Sanada’s role as Lord Toranaga was brilliant in this role with his charisma and bravado elevating the performance of others around him. He commanded the screen every time he made an appearance. Additionally, Anna Sawai’s Mariko-sama delivered every scene with such powerful emotional substance through her eyes and dialogue. Her character demonstrates the struggles of someone who is binded by the duties of her lord but also conflicted with carrying the shame of her father. A lot of viewers at first may believe that Cosmo Jarvis’s John Blackthorne is there to serve as a “white savior” but this is thankfully not the case. John Blackthorne’s role serves more as a naive guide and a means of introducing the audience to ancient Japan.

As I was watching Shogun, I couldn’t help but be reminded by a quote by Mark Twain, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” As someone who is fascinated by the history of samurais in ancient Japan, and their validity of a good death, Shogun captured the importance of sacrifice and a “good death”. By having a character like John Blackthorne, it is also our first initial encounter with the Japanese people during this feudal era as we share his initial impression and disdain of how “careless” they are with their life. We see the conflict between Blackthorne’s views on life with that of the Japanese people, especially the samurai, who see a life without an honorable death, as being no life at all. Throughout the series, Lord Toronaga does not wish to shed any blood during this power struggle and although deaths have occurred, he capitalizes on them to ensure that those losses are not in vain.

Although Shogun (2024) may not have as many action packed bloody sword combat scenes some fans may have hoped for, it does such a beautiful job of twisting our expectations for a conclusion that stays true to the characters and the values they uphold. The series also produces some visually stunning moments through costume designs and backgrounds that will leave us in awe.

Where to watch Shogun (2024)

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