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James Clavell’s Shogun

This book really did open my eyes to Japanese culture & has inspired me to research more into the late 1600 century time period the books set in. Shōgun is a classic in every sense of the word; it has fantastic character’s with an intertwining plot that pays off if you stick with it. I had some difficulty understanding some of the nautical terms used in the prologue but after that it was sweet sailing (Sorry, I had too!). Anyway the book is primarily about an English pilot of a Dutch ship who has been ship wrecked in ‘the Japans’. On waking he finds himself clean a rested in the home of a Japanese peasant. Now peasant was the typical term for a citizen in this time & was meant to put people into classes more than to insult. The hieratical system was so strict with its divisions, if you were a lower class citizen you would defiantly know about it. The samurai where essentially tax collectors & regional militia gathering strength until they finally rose to power as a new class/political power by the 1100’s. The book is packed full of fascinating facts & references, begging you to research more (as you can tell I have). With a culture & past as rich as Japans you will never be disappointed if you do. The book could almost be split into three, because although throughout the narration switches to numerous different characters it mainly focuses on John Black thorn, Lady Toda Mariko & Yoshi Toranaga. Each has a historical counterpart on whom they have been based in William Adams, Hosokawa Gracia & Tokugawa Ieyasu respectively. This adds even more depth to an already expansive & epic tale. The fact these people have strong roots in history, only increased my need to know more.  Each tale is told in first person, at first I found it a bit jarring but as the story progresses you’ll know why exactly why it couldn’t have been told any other way. The politics are so complex that without the introspective view we wouldn’t fully understand the motives or even the level of intelligence of our protagonists. As I said the book could have been split into three tales. John Blackthorne’s storyline follows him on the journey of exploring Japan learning their ways & eventually being accepted into their society. Lady Toda Mariko has her own struggle coming to terms with her different loyalties to her husband, Country & even God. Toranaga’s is a tale of a tactical genius whose honor, bravery & complex thought processes make him the most fun to follow. Even while I’m writing this I know I won’t ever be able to fully explain the greatness of this book! There are so many more memorable characters’, Rodrigues,Kasigi Yabu, lord Buntaro & Lady Ochiba; & that’s only a few of them. It’s all intertwined so well that if one person was missing it wouldn’t be the same, each character in it has their own part to play. It’s quite a long book but believe me that by the end you could have had it carry on for another eight hundred pages. So in closing read it, just read it; this post is solely to convince you to read this amazing book for yourself hoping you might then understand how good it is. I’m already looking forward to reading it again, so if you haven’t already & you’re a book-worm read it next. Bless

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About noireops

I'm a dedicated lover of freedom with a passion for promoting positive affirmative action to benefit the global masses.

One response to “James Clavell’s Shogun

  1. Pingback: Noble House « So Far Untitled

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