Reboot of classic 80s TV show set in Japan boasts 100% on Rotten Tomatoes
Posted by  badge Boss on Feb 22

In the 1980s, the TV series Shōgun took audiences by , transporting them to 17th-century in a tale inspired by James Clavell’s best-selling book of the same name.

Now, an FX reboot of the show is being released in 2024 on , starring cinema legend in the cast.

If the trailer is anything to go by, the 10-part drama is going to be nothing short of a spectacle… and it’s already boasting a based on reviews. recently had the chance to speak about the revival with lead cast members Sanada, and Anna Sawai, who play Lord Yoshii Toranaga, Pilot Major John Blackthorne and Toda Mariko respectively.

All of their characters are based on real-life people in history, who were used as inspiration for Clavell’s novel set in the feudal era of Japan.

The historical fiction book in 1975, and was followed by the Shōgun mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain five years later.

Hiroyuki Sanada first launched his cinematic career as a child actor (Picture: Disney Plus)
He now plays Lord Yoshii Toranaga in Shōgun, inspired by the real-life historical figure Tokugawa Ieyasu (Picture: Katie Yu/FX)
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It was the first American TV series to be filmed completely on-location in Japan, and it received multiple awards including Golden Globes and Emmys.

Sanada, who has starred in productions including The Last Samurai, The Wolverine, Avengers: Endgame, John Wick: Chapter 4 and Lost, told and other media that he felt ‘so happy’ to be involved in this project.

‘This story is a great chance to introduce our culture to the world. That’s why I try to make [it] authentic as much as possible,’ he said.

The 63-year-old stressed that when it came to the script of the Shōgun reboot, they wanted to try and ensure that they avoided any ‘stereotyping’ or ‘misunderstanding’.

The actor was also a producer on the show, explaining the Japanese film crew – which included samurai drama specialists for each department – worked with a Western crew to ‘create something new’.

‘So it’s going to [have] great meaning for me and for the industry, for the next generation of Japanese artists. So big, big to me,’ he added.

It took Cosmo two or three weeks before he became ‘familiar’ with the fact that Shōgun was originally based on a novel (Picture: Katie Yu/FX)

Jarvis’ character, John Blackthorne, is based on the real-life English navigator William Adams, who became known as the first Englishman to reach Japan.

The 34-year-old outlined how his own understanding of Clavell’s novel was ‘secondary’ to him, as at first he only read the pages of his script before turning to the book.

‘Being the man who was the first curator of that piece of history, and who found the models of our characters like Captain William Adams and Tokugawa, who found that period of history interesting enough to fictionalise… the amount of work it must have taken for him to have done that was pretty remarkable,’ he said.

Anna Sawai has starred in films and TV shows including Ninja Assassin, Giri/Haji, F9 and Pachinko (Picture: Katie Yu/FX)

Sawai, 31, expressed how she feels about the way in which Shōgun depicts Japanese culture authentically, as a person of Japanese descent.

‘I also feel that his novel introduced Japan to the world, and the miniseries also really entertained everyone and it was a whole thing,’ she said.

‘But as a Japanese [person], I think this show brings more authenticity to it and more accuracy. And as a Japanese viewer, I don’t feel like our culture is being depicted in a way that I don’t believe is true.

‘With every… the novel and then this miniseries and our show, I think we’re really evolving and so I’m just [grateful] to be participating in that legacy.’

Filming for the drama took place in Japan, the UK and the Canadian city of Vancouver (Picture: Colin Bentley/FX)

Jarvis, who was being interviewed at the same time as Sawai, chimed in to add that while there have been some changes made for the TV reboot from the book, the original source material is still being honoured massively.

‘There are some changes from the book. The changes have been conducted with a huge amount of respect still paid to the book and and if there are any changes, it’s not for me to say whether they’re improvements or what they are, but I think they’re still in the spirit of what James Clavell did in the first place,’ he stated.

One critic, Eric Francisco from , described the 2024 revival of Shōgun as ‘a rich, textured, even sensitive grownup drama that knows how to strike the razor-thin balance between spectacle and spectacular’.

Judy Berman of also wrote: ‘At a time when so many of TV’s biggest swings, from Amazon’s The Rings of Power and Citadel to Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Crown, have yielded at least partial misses, FX’s Shōgun stands apart as a genuine masterpiece.’

FX’s Shōgun is set to premiere on February Tuesday 27 on Disney Plus.