The Best Episodes of James Clavell's Shogun

Last Updated: Nov 27, 2018

Based on the epic novel by James Clavell, Shogun originated as an epic five-part television miniseries, filmed on location in Japan. Richard Chamberlain stars as John Blackthorne, a 17th century British sea pilot in charge of a Dutch vessel. Shipwrecked off the coast of Japan, Blackthorne is in danger of being executed by the suspicious, reclusive Japanese hierarchy, but before long he has been accepted into the local culture. Accordingly, he begins to think of himself as Japanese, adopting the nation's customs and, while wearing the robes of a Samurai warrior, helping to defend the land against its enemies. The arrival of Blackthorne unfortunately arouses the interest of European empire-builders, who hope to add Japan to their holdings. Toshiro Mifune costars as Toranaga, a warlord who befriends Blackthorne, and Yoko Shimada appears as Mariko, the interpreter who eventually falls in love with the Englishman. When it first aired in September of 1980, Shogun caused eyebrows to raise with its seemingly reckless disregard of certain TV taboos: for example, one man is beheaded in full view of the audience, while another relieves himself on the body of an enemy. Most of the early dialogue sequence are in Japanese, which resulted in complaints from many monolingual viewers. As a result, the 1983 rebroadcast of Shogun included English narration by Orson Welles. The 125-minute feature version of Shogun, prepared for home video, includes English subtitles--as well as several originally excised scenes of nudity and excessive violence. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide Different versions exist, where the "episodes" have been cut to different length, to increase or decrease the number of episodes, as well as in a extended cut with more graphical violence and nudity scenes.

Part 9

#1 - Part 9

Season 1 - Episode 9

star 8.60
10 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
Part 1

#2 - Part 1

Season 1 - Episode 1

Debut: This miniseries, set in early 17th-century Japan, chronicles the adventures of shipwrecked English navigator John Blackthorne (Richard Chamberlain) who, in Part 1, finds intrigue and culture shock in a feudal society that puts a premium on honor.

star 8.41
87 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
Part 4

#3 - Part 4

Season 1 - Episode 4

star 8.39
38 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
Part 2

#4 - Part 2

Season 1 - Episode 2

Political ploys lead to violence between the forces of Ishido and Toranaga, who discovers a clever ally in Blackthorne (Richard Chamberlain).

star 8.39
54 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
Part 8

#5 - Part 8

Season 1 - Episode 8

Treachery, tragedy and surprising turns of events mark the conclusion of the miniseries, capped by a nocturnal battle in the Osaka Castle

star 8.38
13 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
Part 3

#6 - Part 3

Season 1 - Episode 3

Anjin-san (Richard Chamberlain) aids in Toranaga's escape from the Osaka Castle; Mariko tutors Anjin-san in the language and customs of Japan.

star 8.37
57 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
Part 5

#7 - Part 5

Season 1 - Episode 5

Anjin-san (Richard Chamberlain) proves his mettle during an earthquake and is honored by Toranaga for his bravery; Mariko's husband Buntaro (Hideo Takamatsu) arrives in Anjiro.

star 8.33
27 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
Part 10

#8 - Part 10

Season 1 - Episode 10

star 8.30
10 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
Part 7

#9 - Part 7

Season 1 - Episode 7

Anjin-san's assimilation of Japanese ways is evident in his relationship with Mariko (Yoko Shimada), his conduct as a samurai and his reunion with his crew.

star 8.19
17 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici
Part 6

#10 - Part 6

Season 1 - Episode 6

star 7.91
21 votes
Directors: Jerry London
Writers: James Clavell, Eric Bercovici