FX has recently ordered a 10 episode miniseries adaptation of Shogun. Shogun initially began as a novel by James Clavell, written in 1975. The novel depicts the rise of a daimyo known as Toranaga through the eyes of an English sailor who becomes shipwrecked in feudal Japan. It deals with various themes relating to clashes of cultures in East meeting West. In real life it did much of the same, becoming a bestseller in the West and heightening many Westerners’ interest in Japanese culture. Although I haven’t read it, a friend lent it to me and it has sat on my bookshelf for years.
After the novel became such a huge success, NBC adapted it into a nine hour miniseries in 1980. According to Den of Geek, it became the first major production to be shot entirely in Japan. As for the FX reboot, it will shoot in Japan and the UK. Ronan and Rachel Bennett are writing the new series. Tim Van Patten will produce the show and direct a few episodes. The other producers are Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, Michael De Luca, Eugene Kelley, and Michaela Clavell, the daughter of the author himself. Interestingly enough, Clavell first got the idea for the novel when reading one of his daughter’s textbooks.
“The story of Shogun has captivated audiences since James Clavell first released his epic novel more than 40 years ago,” said John Landraf, CEO of FX Networks. “The themes of an outsider encountering a new culture are as relevant today as then.”
Now that the new series is coming to FX, I may have to finally read Shogun. And my friend may finally get his book back.