Shogun Essay

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An American educator and historian, Smith has written widely on Japanese history and was the editor of Learning from "Shogun": Japanese History and Western Fantasy (1980). In the following essay, Smith relates Clavell's sources and manipulation of Japanese culture and history in Shogun.

When confronted with an extremely popular modern novel which is based on histoncal themes the first instinct of the historian, naturally enough, is to ascertain the 'historicity' of the work. The models for the major characters in James Clavell's Shogun are easy to recognize but Clavell has considerably rearranged and refashioned the events and personalities of the time about which he writes.

These changes can be summarized briefly. The model for Blackthorne, the protagonist of Shogun is Will Adams (1564-1620), the circumstances of whose arrival in Japan in April 1600 as pilot of a Dutch ship correspond closely to those of Blackthorne Blackthorne's eventual rise to...

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This section contains 2,528 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Shogun Study Guide
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Shogun from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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