Is Shogun based on a true story?

When it comes to any historical fiction series, you'll want to get an idea of its historical accuracy. Shogun is one of the newest shows available, but is it based on truth?

“SHOGUN” -- "Servants of Two Masters" -- Episode 2 (Airs February 27) Pictured: Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga, Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko. CR: Katie Yu/FX
“SHOGUN” -- "Servants of Two Masters" -- Episode 2 (Airs February 27) Pictured: Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga, Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko. CR: Katie Yu/FX /
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There are some great period dramas out there. One of the news is Shogun, which airs on FX and Hulu on Tuesdays.

If you want to learn more about Japanese history, this is certainly a series for you. It’s not for the weak-minded, though. This is something along the lines of Game of Thrones in terms of graphic violence and crude language.

Before you get into any historical fiction, you’ll want to know more about the reality that it is set in. Is this based on a true story? Does it have any historical accuracy within it? Here’s what we know.

Shogun is based on a novel

The buzzy series is based on a novel by James Clavell. The novel itself is loosely based on history, but it is a heavily dramatized telling of the first Englishman to land on Japanese soil.

The series adapts that book. With that in mind, you’ll know that there is an element of truth to the story. It is still a dramatized version of it, though.

What is the truth in Shogun?

There is some historical accuracy within the series, so far. This story is set in the 1600s, a time when Japan faced a feud between lords. It is also set at the same time as a real Englishman set sail to Japan.

Hiroyuki Sanada and Cosmo Jarvis play Lord Toranaga and John Blackthorne, two of the main characters in the series. Their story is loosely based on real events.

Toranaga is based on Lord Takagawa and Blackthorne is based on William Adams. Adams was the first Englishman to reach Japan, and he would eventually become Takagawa’s trusted advisor thanks to his knowledge of Western ships and nagivation.

We do see Blackthorne become more integral in Toranaga’s rise in power than Williams played for Takagawa. Of course, that’s the dramatization part of developing historical fiction.

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Shogun airs Tuesdays on FX and Hulu..