A English navigator becomes both a player and pawn in the complex political games in feudal Japan.
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Won 3 Golden Globes. Another 5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete series cast summary:
 Anjin-san / ... (5 episodes, 1980)
 Lord Yoshi Toranaga (5 episodes, 1980)
 Lady Toda Buntaro - Mariko (5 episodes, 1980)
 Yabu (5 episodes, 1980)
 Father Dell'Aqua (5 episodes, 1980)
 Father Alvito (5 episodes, 1980)
 Vasco Rodrigues (5 episodes, 1980)
 Captain Ferriera (5 episodes, 1980)
Yûki Meguro ...
 Omi (5 episodes, 1980)
Hideo Takamatsu ...
 Lord Buntaro (5 episodes, 1980)
 Friar Domingo (5 episodes, 1980)
Nobuo Kaneko ...
 Ishido (5 episodes, 1980)
Hiromi Senno ...
 Fujiko (5 episodes, 1980)
George Innes ...
 Vinck (5 episodes, 1980)
 Father Sebastio (5 episodes, 1980)
 Pieterzoon (5 episodes, 1980)
Eric Richard ...
 Maetsukker (5 episodes, 1980)
Steve Ubels ...
 Roper (5 episodes, 1980)
Stewart MacKenzie ...
 Croocq (5 episodes, 1980)
John J. Carney ...
 Gingel (5 episodes, 1980)
Ian Jentle ...
 Salamon (5 episodes, 1980)
 Spillbergen (5 episodes, 1980)
 Specz (5 episodes, 1980)
Mika Kitagawa ...
 Kiku (5 episodes, 1980)
Seiji Miyaguchi ...
 Muraji (5 episodes, 1980)
Tôru Abe ...
 Hiromatsu (5 episodes, 1980)
Shin Takuma ...
 Naga (5 episodes, 1980)
Hyôe Enoki ...
 Jirobei (5 episodes, 1980)
 Kiri (5 episodes, 1980)
Midori Takei ...
 Sono (5 episodes, 1980)
Ai Matsubara ...
 Rako (5 episodes, 1980)
Yumiko Morishita ...
 Asa (5 episodes, 1980)
Hiroshi Hasegawa ...
 Galley Captain (5 episodes, 1980)
Akira Sera ...
 Old Gardener (5 episodes, 1980)
Rin'ichi Yamamoto ...
 Yoshinaka (5 episodes, 1980)
Yûko Kada ...
 Sazuko (5 episodes, 1980)
Masumi Okada ...
 Brother Michael (5 episodes, 1980)
Yôsuke Natsuki ...
 Zataki (5 episodes, 1980)
Takeshi Ôbayashi ...
 Urano (5 episodes, 1980)
Yoshie Kitsuda ...
 Kyoko (5 episodes, 1980)
Masashi Ebara ...
 Suga (5 episodes, 1980)
Setsuko Sekine ...
 Genjiko (5 episodes, 1980)
Atsuko Sano ...
 Lady Ochiba (5 episodes, 1980)
 Narrator (5 episodes, 1980)


John Blackthorne, an English ship pilot, whose vessel wrecked upon the Japanese coast in the early 16th century is forced to deal with the two most powerful men in Japan in these days. He is thrown in the midst of a war between Toranaga and Ishido, who struggle for the title of Shogun which will give ultimate power to the one who possesses it. Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

japan | shogun | epic | power | warlord | See All (51) »


A nation of violence, Samurai warriors ... and forbidden love. See more »


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

15 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

James Clavell's Shogun  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(10 episodes)

Sound Mix:

| (Dolby Digital 5.1)| (DTS HD MASTER AUDIO 5.1 Mix)| (Glen Glenn Sound)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


James Clavell based the character of John Blackthorne on Will Adams, a real-life English sea captain and adventurer, whose experiences in late 16th-century Japan are paralleled by Clavell's story. See more »


In the opening shots of Anjin-sans ship you see the shadow of the helicopter (which was used to film the 'fly-by' shots of the ship). It casts a shadow onto the water and then the ship itself. See more »


Vasco Rodrigues: Listen to me, you whore-gutted, pock-marked, motherless scum... I need a favor.
See more »


Words and Music by Eric Bercovici
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User Reviews

Rich and fulfilling, a great adaptation of Clavell's masterpiece
2 February 2006 | by (Switzerland) – See all my reviews

In 1976, James Clavell wrote an epic masterpiece: the story of Blackthorne, an English sailor lost in Feudal Japan. He gradually finds his place, oft the central pawn of political intrigues between various foreign powers and the local warlords. In 1980, this miniseries was unleashed on the world and created a whole new audience for the mammoth bestseller. No small feat considering the length and complexity of Clavell's 1200+ page door-stopper. Clocking in at almost 10 hours, this mega-budgeted series delivers the goods. People who have seen "The Last Samurai" might see a few plot similarities (even in certain smaller details: Tom Cruise sports exactly the same haircut as Richard Chamberlain). With all respect for the 2003 film, Shogun is far out of it's reach.

Richard Chamberlain embodies Blackthorne to perfection, successfully gaining our empathy through an ambiguous yet very human performance. Supporting him are Japanese icon Toshiro Mifune as the shrewd warlord and aspiring shogun Torunaga, who befriends/manipulates Blackthorne, and Yoko Shimada as Blackthorne's translator, confident and friend. Every actor gives life to Clavell's carefully drawn and layered characters (most of all a very bombastic John Rhys-Davies). For a television miniseries, the technical specs are quite surprisingly good. Indeed the budget must have been quite important (and set a record at the time) but never is the story or it's rhythm scarified to show-off. The direction and photography are quite tasteful, often reminiscent of early Kurosawa, only in color. Maurice Jarre's score might not reach the lofty heights of his work for David Lean but it serves it's purpose.

Many will tell you that the book is better. It is certainly more intimate and detailed, but a more faithful and excellent adaptation of such a rich book you are not likely to see anytime soon. For anyone with a taste for epics, Japan or just plain good entertainment, this is essential viewing.

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