Hiroyuki Sanada as Toranaga in Shōgun
Movies - TV
7 Ways Shōgun’s First Episode Is Already Different Than The Book
1. Culture Shock
While the show does emphasize cultural differences between Blackthorn and the Japanese, the book emphasizes how much of a shock this is for him.
The first few hundred pages of the book show Blackthorn struggling to communicate basic ideas. There are also many moments where both cultures are perplexed by the other values.
2. Language Barrier
Much of the book centers around linguistic misunderstandings. This constant source of conflict helps make Blackthorn’s development feel more satisfying.
The show glosses over this issue. There are several moments in the first two episodes where Blackthorn can easily communicate ideas with gestures.
3. Early Intro
While Toranaga’s storyline is mostly unchanged, the show introduces him early in the first episode as he navigates complicated Japanese politics.
The change gives viewers an idea of what the show will be about. However, the book slowly builds up to the uneasy alliance between Blackthorne and Toranaga.
4. Seppuku
The act of Seppuku — a Samurai committing suicide to atone for a shameful mistake — is done frequently in the book, but the show places less emphasis on it.
Seppuku is another example of the show’s downplayed culture clash. In the book, Blackthorn sees this as the Samurai’s apparent lack of regard for their lives.
5. Blackthorne
Throughout the book, Blackthorne constantly lies to improve his position. This character flaw, however, is much more toned down in the show.
In the novel, Blackthorn allows the priest to believe that he’s a fellow Spaniard and, through this deception, learns much about the political situation in Japan.