Shogun was an action adventure mini-series about a 17th century English ship pilot who became shipwrecked on the Japanese coast. He and his crew were taken prisoner by the Japanese and treated brutally by them. At first, the prisoners feel superior to their Japanese captors who they judge to be "savages". Eventually, the pilot is "broken" by them, submitting to their will. He even comes to respect them ... gains their respect ... and gains the prestigious title of "Shogun".
Richard Chamberlain .... Pilot-Major John Blackthorne / Shogun Anjin-san
John Rhys-Davies .... Vasco Rodrigues
Yoko Shimada .... Lady Toda Buntaro - Mariko
Alan Badel .... Father Dell'Aqua
Toshiro Mifune .... Toranaga
Hideo Takamatsu .... Lord Buntaro
Frankie Sakai .... Yabu
Damien Thomas .... Father Alvito
Vladek Sheybal .... Captain Ferriera
Michael Hordern .... Friar Domingo
Leon Lissek .... Father Sebastion
Yuki Meguro .... Omi
Hiromi Senno .... Fujiko
George Innes .... Vinck
Nobuo Kaneko .... Ishido
Translated into English, Shogun means "barbarian-subduing generalissimo". The title was first used in the eighth century for military generals who fought down the restless barbarian tribes in the northeast. It then fell into disuse for three hundred years until 1183 when Minamoto Yoshinaka seized the imperial court in the then capital city of Kyoto. In 1192, Yoshinaka was officially awarded the title of Shogun and gained the power to arrest & kill virtually anyone he felt was a threat. He also was entitled to appoint the local officials who ran the day to day operations of the government. Rule by Shogun ended and rule by Emperor returned in 1867 when the samurai were unable to stop western expansion into the Japans.
Toshiro Mifune, who played the warlord who captured Richard Chamberlain's character, is often referred to as the "John Wayne of Japan".
Richard Chamberlain is sometimes referred to as the "king of the miniseries". Among others, he has starred in "Shogun", "The Thornbirds", "Centennial", "The Bourne Identity", "Wallenburg", "Dream West" and "Too Rich: The Secret Life Of Doris Duke"
Without commercial interruption, Shogun was ten hours in length! It was based on James Clavell's best-selling novel of the same name. It's filming in Japan took more than six months. It was NBC's highest rated miniseries of all time and #4 overall beaten only by "Roots", "The Thornbirds" and "Winds Of War". When originally aired, it achieved an amazing average of 51% of the total viewing audience!
The miniseries won 3 Emmys and 3 Golden Globe Awards in 1981!
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