Is Shogun based on a book?

Chris Tilly
Cosmo Jarvis looking mean and moody on the Shogun poster.

Shogun is a spectacular new mini-series that’s currently receiving rave reviews, but is the show based on a book?

Shogun launched on Hulu and FX in the US this week, and Star+/Disney+ elsewhere, with the first two episodes of the sprawling historical show now available. And early reactions have been positive pretty much across the board.

Hiroyuki Sanada, Cosmo Jarvis, and Anna Sawai star, with the official synopsis as follows: “Shogun is set in Japan in the year 1600 at the dawn of a century-defining civil war. Lord Yoshii Toranaga is fighting for his life as his enemies on the Council of Regents unite against him, when a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village.”

The new show isn’t the first time this story has been told, with a 1980 mini-series also airing to critical acclaim and commercial success. So, is Shogun based on a book?

Is Shogun based on a book?

Yes, Shogun is based on a book – author James Clavell published the Shogun novel in 1975, and the tome immediately became an international bestseller, shifting millions of copies worldwide.

The 1980 mini-series followed, as did a Broadway musical, and both a tabletop and video game.

Shogun also formed part of what came to be known as James Clavell’s ‘Asian Saga.’ Here’s the full set of books, listed in order of publication:

  • King Rat (1962)
  • Tai-Pan (1966)
  • Shogun (1975)
  • Noble House (1981)
  • Whirlwind (1986)
  • Gai-Jin (1993)

Via the internal chronology of the series, Shogun is the first story – but if the new mini-series is a success, there’s lots of material for potential sequels.

For more on Shogun, click here, or check out the below articles:

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