Forgot your password?  

Introduction & Overview of Shogun by James Clavell

This Study Guide consists of approximately 94 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Shogun.
This section contains 276 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Shogun Study Guide

Shogun Summary & Study Guide Description

Shogun Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Study and a Free Quiz on Shogun by James Clavell.


Although not considered great literature by most critics, Shogun: A Novel of Japan made its author, James du Maresq Clavell, one of the most widely read twentieth-century novelists. The novel contains war, trade disputes, cultural clash, passion, death, and descriptions of beauty that have kept readers up until dawn. Such features make Clavell an "old-fashioned storyteller" who spins captivating yarns rather than an artiste like Virginia Woolf or Thomas Pynchon. Clavell's survival of a Japanese death camp gave him unique insight into human behavior and cultural differences, enabling him to produce a truly gripping story. In addition to penning a good book to curl up with, Clavell built a bridge of understanding from West to East by fictionalizing a historical encounter between them.

Shogun tells the story of an English pilot, John Blackthorne, in charge of five Dutch ships whose purpose is to break the Portuguese monopoly on Japanese trade. Instead, the pilot becomes embroiled in Japanese politics as Lord Toranaga Yoshi employs him as his secret weapon. Shogun uses straightforward storytelling techniques to keep readers riveted as they imagine themselves in the position of the English pilot. By the end, the reader has learned about Japan alongside Blackthorne as he attempts to survive.

That the West is interested in the East is proved by Shogun's success. In the first five years of its printing, 7 million books were sold. NBC did not risk much in sponsoring a film extravaganza. For twelve hours of prime time, 130 million people watched Shogun, The miniseries prompted sales of another 2.5 million books. Since the movie, even more people have read the book or watched the shorter 2.5-hour-long film.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 276 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Shogun Study Guide
Shogun from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook