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A bold English adventuer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in a mighty. Librarian’s note: An alternate cover edition can be found here. A bold English adventurer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two . The Shogun novels were written by James Clavell who had been a prisoner of . The main character is John Blackthorne, an English pilot of a dutch ship who is.

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It is the first novel by internal chronology of the author’s Asian Saga. A major best-seller, by the book had sold 15 million copies worldwide. Toranaga’s rise to the shogunate is seen through the eyes of the English sailor John Blackthornecalled Anjin “Pilot” by the Japanese, whose fictional heroics are loosely based on the historical exploits of William Adams. Feudal Japan in is in a precarious peace. The heir to the Taiko Regent is too young to rule, and the most powerful five overlords of the land hold power as a Council of Regents.

Portugal, with its vast sea power, and the Catholic Church mainly through the Order of the Jesuitshave gained a foothold in Japan and seek to extend their power. But Japanese society is insular and xenophobic.

Guns and Europe’s modern military capabilities are still a novelty and despised as a threat to Japan’s traditional Samurai warrior culture. England and Holland seek to disrupt Portuguese and Catholic relations with Japan and establish ties of their own through trade and military alliances. Erasmus englixh blown ashore on the Japanese coast at the village of Anjiro during a storm.

Yabu puts Blackthorne and his crew on trial as pirates, using a Jesuit priest to interpret for Blackthorne. The Japanese, who know only the Catholic version of Christianity, are shocked by the gesture. Yabu sentences Blackthorne and his crew to death. However, Enylish, who is quickly proving himself as a clever adviser, convinces Yabu to spare them to learn more about European ways.

Omi throws the Erasmus crew into a pit to “tame” them, and tells them Lord Yabu has ordered that they pick one amongst them other than Blackthorne to die, so that the others may live.

Blackthorne leads his crew in a futile resistance, but they are easily cowed by Omi. One of them is taken and is boiled alive, to satisfy Lord Yabu, who cruelly enjoys such spectacles. To save his crew, Blackthorne agrees to submit to Japanese authority. He is placed in a household, with his crew held in the pit as hostages to ensure his submission.

On Omi’s advice, Yabu also plans to confiscate the guns and money recovered from Erasmusbut word reaches Lord Toranaga, the powerful president of the Council of Regents.

Toranaga sends his commander in chief, “Iron Fist” General Hiro-matsu, to take Erasmus and the crew as an advantage point against Toranaga’s main rival on the council, Ishido. Blackthorne is given the name Anjin Japanese for navigator or pilot because the Japanese can’t pronounce his name. Blackthorne insists on being addressed respectfully, as Omi is, and is therefore known as Anjin-san “Honorable Pilot”.

Hiro-matsu confiscates Erasmus and takes Blackthorne and Yabu back to Osaka, where the meeting of the Council is taking place at Osaka castle, which is Ishido’s stronghold. They travel by one of Toranaga’s galleys, piloted by the Portuguese pilot Rodrigues. Blackthorne and Rodrigues find themselves in a grudging friendship, despite being required to stay at arm’s length due to their national and religious enmity. Rodrigues tries to kill Blackthorne during a storm by sending him forward just as a wave breaks over the deck, but is himself swept overboard by the next wave.

Blackthorne not only saves Rodrigues but safely navigates the ship to Osaka with all aboard. At Osaka, Blackthorne is interviewed by Toranaga through the translation of the Jesuit priest Martin Alvito, who is more sophisticated and higher up in the Jesuit hierarchy, and therefore realises the dangerous threat that Blackthorne presents. Blackthorne demands that Alvito tell Toranaga that the priest is his enemy.

He reveals to a surprised Toranaga that the Christian faith is divided and that other European countries intend to sail the Asian waters now that the Spanish Armada against England has been defeated. The stunned Alvito is honour-bound to translate as Blackthorne, the sworn enemy of his country and religion, tells Toranaga his full story.

The interview ends abruptly when Ishido enters, curious about the barbarian Blackthorne. Toranaga has Blackthorne thrown into prison as a ruse to keep him from Ishido. Blackthorne is then befriended by a Franciscan friar in the prison, who reveals further details about the Jesuit conquests and the Portuguese Black Shipwhich each year takes the vast profits from the silk trade between China and Japan back to Europe.


He is taught some basic Japanese and a little about their culture. Blackthorne is then taken from prison by Ishido’s men, but Toranaga intervenes, capturing Blackthorne from his rival and making Ishido lose face. In their next interview, Toranaga has the Lady Mariko translate.

Shogun, Part 1

She is a convert to Christianity, torn between her new faith and her loyalty, as a samurai’s wife, to Toranaga. During this second interview with Blackthorne, Toranaga is incredulous when Blackthorne engllish that Portugal has been granted the right dlavell claim Japan as clavelll by the Pope, and how the Spanish and Portuguese are exploiting the New World in both South America and Asia in the name of spreading Catholicism.

During his stay with Toranaga at Osaka Castle, Blackthorne is attacked unsuccessfully by an assassin who is revealed to be a member of the secretive Amida Tonga group of operatives who train all their lives to be the perfect weapon for one kill.

After the assassin is dispatched, Toranaga summons Yabu the next day for questioning, since Hiro-matsu says Yabu would be one who would know how to hire them. Yabu is truthful but evasive in his answers, adding more fuel to Toranaga’s distrust of him. It is also hinted flavell the Jesuits may have hired the assassin to kill Blackthorne, to prevent him revealing any more of what he knows.

The Council of Regents’ negotiations go badly and Toranaga is threatened with forced seppuku by the Council. To escape the verdict, and to paralyse the Council since five regents shofun needed for any decisions, and a new appointment cclavell politically unlikelyCoavell resigns from the Council.

He departs the castle in the guise of his consort in a litterleaving with a train of travellers. Blackthorne inadvertently spots the exchange and, when Shigun shows up at the gate of the castle and nearly discovers Toranaga, Blackthorne saves Toranaga by creating a diversion.

In this way, he gradually gains the trust of Toranaga and enters into his service. Toranaga’s party reaches the coast but their ship is blockaded by Ishido’s boats.

At Blackthorne’s suggestion, a nearby Portuguese ship is asked to lend cannon to blast the boats clear but, in return, the Jesuits seeing the presence of a Protestant pilot in Toranaga’s confidence as a grave threat will only offer aid to Toranaga in exchange for physical custody of Blackthorne.

Toranaga agrees and the ship clears the coast. The Portuguese pilot, Rodrigues, repays his debt to Blackthorne by having him thrown overboard to swim back to Toranaga’s ship. Toranaga’s ship escapes by staying alongside the Portuguese ship as both pass through the gap left between the opposing boats. Toranaga and his party return to his ship, which then goes back to Anjiro.

Blackthorne slowly builds up his Japanese-language skills and gains an dnglish of the Shoguh people and their culture, eventually learning to respect it deeply.

The Japanese, in turn, are torn over Blackthorne’s presence as he is an outsider and a leader of a disgracefully filthy and uncouth rabblebut also a formidable sailor and navigator with extensive knowledge of the world outside Japan. As such, he engllish both beneath their contempt and incalculably valuable. A turning point is Blackthorne’s attempt at seppuku upon finding out that Yabu has threatened the peasants with death if Blackthorne does not learn Japanese within six months.

In so doing, he shows his willingness to give up his life in payment for theirs, despite the Christian injunction against suicide.

The Japanese prevent this attempt as Blackthorne is worth more alivebut they also come to respect this ‘barbarian’ for his knowledge and attempts to assimilate to their culture. When he also rescues Toranaga in an earthquake, he is granted the status of ” samurai ” and hatamoto — a high-status vassal similar to a retainer, with the right of direct audience. As they spend more time together, Blackthorne comes to deeply admire both Toranaga and specifically Mariko, and they secretly become lovers.

There are many internal conflicts between the ‘Eastern’ Japanese and ‘Western’ cultures — especially to do with cpavell, obligations, hierarchies, loyalties, and — more particularly — the essence of ‘self’. Blackthorne is also torn between his growing affection for Mariko who is married to a powerful, abusive, and dangerous samurai, Buntarohis increasing loyalty to Toranaga, and his desire to return to the open eglish aboard his ship Erasmus to capture the ‘Black Ship’ — the main conduit of silk and wealth from China to Japan.

Eventually, he visits the survivors of his original crew in Yedoand is astonished at how far he has ventured from the standard ‘European’ way ahogun life which he now sees to be filthy, vulgar, and ignorantand he is actually disgusted by them. Blackthorne’s plans to attack the ‘Black Ehglish are also complicated jjames his respect and friendship for his Portuguese colleague, Rodrigues, who is now to pilot the vessel.

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He returns to Osaka by sea with his jams and with many samurai granted to him by Toranaga. Unforeseen by Toranaga, a replacement regent has also shohun chosen. Ishido hopes to lure or force Toranaga into the castle and, when all the regents are present, obtain from them an order for Toranaga to commit seppuku. At the castle, Mariko in response to Toranaga’s orders defies Ishido and forces him to either dishonor himself by admitting to holding the Samurai families as hostages or to back down and let them leave.

Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1) by James Clavell

When Mariko tries to fulfill Toranaga’s orders and to leave the castle, a battle ensues between Ishido’s samurai and her escort, until she is forced to return. However, she states that since she cannot disobey an order from her liege lord, Toranaga, she is disgraced and will commit suicide.

As she is about to do so, Ishido gives her the papers to leave the castle on the next day.

But that night, a group of ninja that Ishido has hired, aided engllsh Yabu, who had previously been Toranaga’s vassal, slips into Toranaga’s section of the castle to kidnap Mariko. However, she and Blackthorne who accompanied her, but was jamss aware of Mariko’s plot and the other ladies of Toranaga’s “court”, escape into a locked shogum.

As the ninja prepare to blow the door open with explosives, Mariko stands against the door and declares that this is her act of honourable suicide, and implicates Ishido “in this shameful act”. Mariko is killed by the explosion and Blackthorne is injured temporarily losing his hearingbut Ishido is forced to let Blackthorne and all the other hostages leave the castle, seriously reducing his influence and power over them.

Blackthorne then discovers that his ship has been clavelp, ruining his chances of attacking the Black Ship and gaining riches and also sailing home to England. However, Mariko has left him some money and Toranaga provides him with men to start building a new ship.

Toranaga orders Yabu — who he learns had helped the attack in Osaka with the aim of being on the winning side — to jaes seppuku for his treachery. Yabu complies, giving his own prized katana samurai swordwhich had been previously given to him by Toranaga, to Blackthorne, saying that no one else deserves the blade. A recurring motif in the book is Toranaga engaging in falconry.

He compares his various birds to his vassals and mulls over his handling of them, flinging them at targets, giving them morsels, and bringing them back to his fist, and then re-hooding them.

There are other recurring themes of Eastern values, as opposed to Western values; masculine patriarchal values as opposed to human values, etc. The last chapter involves Toranaga letting his prize peregrine falcon fly free, as he reveals his inner monologue: In a brief epilogue after the final Battle of Sekigahara, Ishido is captured zhogun disgracefully. In reference to an old prophecy that Ishido would “die an old man with his feet firmly planted in the earth, the most famous man in the land”, Toranaga has him buried up to his neck by the eta villagers, with passers-by being offered the opportunity to saw at the most famous neck in the realm with shgun bamboo saw.

The novel states that “Ishido lingered three days and died very old”. Shogun was based on an actual series of events involving a real sailor William Adams who reached Japan in and became involved with the future shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Shogun : A Novel of Japan

He achieved high status, though much of the interaction between the various characters in the novel was invented.

Clavell stated that reading a sentence in his daughter’s textbook that stated that “inan Englishman went to Japan and became a samurai” inspired the novel. The first draft was pages and Clavell got it down to with the help of his editor, German Gollob. A Critical Companion calls the novel “one of the most effective depictions of cross-cultural encounters ever written”, and “Clavell’s finest effort”.

I became a brand name, like Heinz Baked Beans “. In Clavell hired Robert Bolt to write a screenplay. The novel was adapted as a nine-hour television miniseries ina Broadway musical, and several computer games. It was also edited into a two-hour theatrical release, a 5-disc DVD release inand a 3-disc Blu-ray release in On August 3,it was announced that FX would be adapting the novel into a miniseries.