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SUMMARY Shōgun By James Clavell

Amurai fiefdoms under his own masterly and farsighted leadership; and the Lady Mariko a Catholic convert whose conflicting loyalties to the Church and her country are compounded when she falls in love with Blackthorne the barbarian intruder In dramatizing how a Westerner the representative man of his time comes to be altered by his exposure to an alien culture Mr Clavell provides a spellbinding depiction of a nation seething with violence and intrigue as it moves from the medieval world to the mode. Back in 1980 there was a TV miniseries about this book starring Richard Chamberlain I was a kid but recalled watching it and enjoying watching the samurai with their katanas and the alien culture described Clavell s book was first published in 1975 and this seemed to have sparked a resurgence of interest in Japanese culture highlighted by John Belushi s samurai character on Saturday Night LiveAnywayJames Clavell s landmark masterpiece about English sailor John Blackthorne called Anjin san in the book and of his immersion in and adoption of Japanese culture remains a formidable accomplishment today Like War and Peace this massive tome 1100 page plus size seems to have it all metaphor allegory historical narrative social economic and cultural commentary philosophy and exploring themes of religion gender roles family duty honor courage and all within the rubric of a dichotomy between east and west represented by Blackthorne s 1600 landfall on the coast of JapanTo be sure this comparison and contrast between the two divergent societies is what holds this rambling behemoth together When Blackthorne arrives there is already a generations old Western presence in the guise of Portuguese sailors and Jesuit priests Many Japanese have converted to Catholicism but conflicts with their own way of thinking is also a ubiuitous element in this enthralling work Clavell s writing though sometimes long winded to say the least is inspired well researched and captivating Also notable is his dialogue and characterization which is superb Another noteworthy aspect of this book is the role of communication and the vital role translations Japanese Portuguese Latin Dutch and English have in the plot Blackthorne makes great efforts to understand and be understood and this has much to do with his transcendency and the dynamic nature of his role in the storyWhile Clavell populates his novel with literally dozens and dozens of colorful players three central protagonists stand outJohn Blackthorne Anjin san A pilot and navigator from England working on a Dutch vessel his seamanship and oceanographic knowledge makes him and invaluable captive for the Japanese His heroism and loyalty and his easy conversion to Japanese ways makes him a principal figure in the story Blackthorne is the western guide to Japan his introduction provides the same to western readersLady Mariko A Christian convert but also a samurai yes women can be she befriends Blackthorne and is also loyal to Toranaga Her inner conflicts about the distinctions between what is demanded from her faith and what was reuired by her station makes her one of the most compelling characters but it is her steadfast courage that makes her a great character Her defiance of Ishido the central antagonist and the resulting battle is one of the most memorable scenes in the bookToranaga The most important character he is the eponymous Shogun and it is his patronage that allows Blathorne to live and thrive It is Toranaga s masterful intrigues that form the basis for most of the narrative and we see that his is the hand that guides much of the actionChristianity Catholicism and Protestant The Japanese are surprised to learn that the Portuguese and Spanish priests are not the only Christians in the world The Protestant English and Dutch animosity with Catholic Spain and Portugal further complicates the group dynamics and makes a intriguing fecundity of opportunity for Clavell to develop such a hypnotic story East vs West Japan and the bushido culture One commentator on this book stated that it was one of the most effective depictions of cross cultural encounters ever written Clavell has achieved not just an epic novel of feudal Japan but importantly and impressively has crafted an exhaustive comparison of the two civilizations Cleanliness A pervasive element of the book was the difference in hygiene between the two societies I ve freuently watched some film about medieval life in Europe and thought what did they smell like Pretty bad if we can believe Blackthorne as a comparative observer and a convert to hot baths and clean living Europe at that time was described as ignorant and filthy and I think Clavell did good to highlight this contrastSeppuku A freuent criticism of the book from Japanese readers is Clavell s over utilization of the bushido way of honorable self sacrifice That s fair it seemed like every few pages some character could not live with dishonor and asked permission to commit seppuku How death and conversely life was valued between the two belief systems was also a theme Clavell explored and was a crucial element in the narrativeWildly successful Clavell later stated that the book made him Besides the miniseries there was also a Broadway play and several computer games The success also no doubt assisted in sales for his other books and allowed Clavell to produce his Asian sagaAn excellent book

REVIEW ☆ E-book, or Kindle E-pub Ó James Clavell

Shōgun By James Clavell

A bold English adventurer An invincible Japanese warlord A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life All brought together in an extraordinary saga aflame with passion conflict ambition and the struggle for powerHere is the world famous novel of Japan that is the earliest book in James Clavell’s masterly Asian saga Set in the year 1600 it tells the story of a bold English pilot whose ship was blown ashore in Japan where he encountered two people who were to change his life a warlord with his o. So sorry I am not worthy of the honor of reviewing this novel If however my Lord insists it then I shall endeavor to offer up some humble thoughts regarding its mighty even epic narrative Neh The scope is so vast the characters and settings are so many the head is liable to spin at times so sorry But the arc it follows is like a peregrine s path through the sky long but fast and with vicious twists along what might otherwise have seemed a predictable path I m sure my Lord would agree that parts of the story can become uite tedious I am not speaking of the slow to develop romance between Mariko and the Anjin san nor even of the dueling political machinations of Toranaga and Ishido No Sire This humble vassal speaks to the text and how Japanese is interwoven with the barbarian words in so many places And then how barbarian words come even to replace Japanese Or barbarian words standing in for the words of other barbarian tongues If you ll excuse this vassal s petulant tongue Sire it s enough to make one fart dust so sorry But these tedious affectations do blend in after a while neh and the narrative is uite the enjoyable one full of so much intrigue and humor A rousing and enjoyable tale of which I am not worthy to comment further Please I cannot live with this shame Please allow me to commit seppuku at once

James Clavell Ó 9 CHARACTERS

Wn uest for power and a beautiful interpreter torn between two ways of life and two ways of love The principal figures are John Blackthorne whose dream it is to be the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe to wrest control of the trade between Japan and China from Portuguese and to return home a man of wealth and position; Toranaga the most powerful feudal lord in Japan who strives and schemes to seize ultimate power by becoming Shogun the Supreme Military Dictator and to unite the warring s. I have had this book for uite some time in my collection probably over five years in fact and it wasn t until recently I picked it up due to a good friend here on GoodReads who prized it as a favourite book Strangely I d say that I have no real interest in Japan despite having read Memoirs of a Geisha and Tales of the Otori both which are set in Japan or Japanese based I think Shogun has brought me out of the closet in that respect and I m very interested now in reading fiction set in Japan and perhaps also some non fiction I can see the appeal for many people who become obsessed with this side of the world I thought it was a beautifully written book though at the beginning I thought perhaps the necessary explanations of Japanese things to be a bit heavy handed at times However it has an addictive uality the story never stops the characters are interesting and unpredictable They say one thing and mean another always plotting and planning and you can never be sure what will happen in the next few pagesThe love story between Blackthorne and Mariko is one of the most beautiful and best written love stories I have ever read So beautiful so true and so real that even now thinking of it I feel personally touchedThe characters are so real they live in you It is a story that exists not within the pages but somewhere in that world between book and soul I am so glad I read this Edited to Say Whenever I listen to the soundtracks of Memoirs of a Geisha or The Last Samurai I think of Shogun now as I read it to that music I am listening to it right now and I feel such longing to be reading this for the first time over again It is strange how music and books and smells and other senses effect your memories


10 thoughts on “Shōgun By James Clavell

  1. says:

    So sorry I am not worthy of the honor of reviewing this novel If however my Lord insists it then I shall endeavor to offer up some humble thoughts regarding its mighty even epic narrative Neh? The scope is so vast

  2. says:

    Japanese people tell me that it's all nonsense samurai were not in fact ready to commit seppuku at the slightest provocation They had a strong s

  3. says:

    As a picture of Japanese history it suffers from what another reviewer hilariously called I paraphrase here our round eyed western mythologized POVWhich okay—it was written in the 70's after allBut as a story? OMFG what a fucking storyI fell into this book as a teenager and didn't come back out until I'd read 600000 words and had a conversational grasp of transliterated JapaneseThree days Three days of blissI dare you to read t

  4. says:

    I have had this book for uite some time in my collection probably over five years in fact and it wasn't until recently I picked it up due to a good friend here on GoodReads who prized it as a favourite book Strangely I'd say that I have no real interest in Japan despite having read Memoirs of a Geisha and Tales of the Otori both which are set in Japan or Japanese based I think Shogun has brought me out of the closet in that res

  5. says:

    The Asian Saga the bestselling novel of feudal JapanOh my What an awesome book Alhamdulillah I would massively recommend anyone who likes to read historical fiction or samurai books to read this book Insha'Allah I find it very fascinating to see and learn about the culture of Japanese in the bookJames Clavell was

  6. says:

    Yes I read 1152 pages of a book I liked less and less as the pages went by I could have given this 3 stars maybe but I was so unsatisfied with it all that I can't do itIt isn't even that it was unreadable considering its size it was a fast read even though I had to use some special motivational tricks in the end when I just wanted to get it

  7. says:

    This is The OneMy favourite book of all time The one that transported me far away and long ago The one that made our world cease to exist The one that I read every spare minute of every day even in elevators; a

  8. says:

    This is the Clavell novel that most people have read which is too bad because in many ways it is not his bestWhich

  9. says:

    Back in 1980 t

  10. says:

    I'll sum up my review here in the combined edition It's than 1200 pages long and it's not long enough This book can be described with only one word amazing The first page sucks you in and keep you in the edge till the end You never know what will happen next and what awaits in the next corner Shogun showed me a new side of the world it changed my views on many things and made me understand just as many things I