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Shogun, Part 1

(Asian Saga: Chronological Order #1, part 1 of 2)

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  8,583 ratings  ·  266 reviews
This is James Clavell's tour-de-force; an epic saga of one Pilot-Major John Blackthorne, and his integration into the struggles and strife of feudal Japan. Both entertaining and incisive, SHOGUN is a stunningly dramatic re-creation of a very different world.Starting with his shipwreck on this most alien of shores, the novel charts Blackthorne's rise from the status of revi ...more
Hardcover, Book Club Edition, 533 pages
Published 1975 by Atheneum
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Tara It's the first in the series. I read "Noble House" and enjoyed it enough to read the entire series. …moreIt's the first in the series. I read "Noble House" and enjoyed it enough to read the entire series. (less)

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Average rating 4.56  · 
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 ·  8,583 ratings  ·  266 reviews

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David Putnam
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this book decades ago and it stayed on my top five books of all time for many years. I started reading this book one day after work and read it right through the night, took a shower and went to work. (This happened with very few books).
Then, years later (after I had started writing) I reread the book and found it not the way I remembered it. I give it five stars now out of respect for all the great memories I had of the book from the first read.
David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson ser
Luke Presley
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shogun is a great read that provides insight into Japanese culture and politics but it isn't great literature.

On a recent episode of This American Life, Stephanie Foo tells the story of a Japanese man, Nasubi, who endured 15 months of starvation, deprivation and isolation for a reality TV show. He could have walked out, called his friends, gone home, got dressed and eaten meat but he stayed with it simply because he had verbally committed to do so. The psychological impact was so severe that he
A great book to read if you're a fan of historical fiction! I've learned a lot about culture in feudal Japan and how the Japanese interacted with the outside world. Fascinating! ...more
get stuffed
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
The Shogun novels were written by James Clavell who had been a prisoner of war in a Japanese prison camp (Changi- Singapore). His experiences there led him to find out what kind of people the Japanese were and how they could be so cruel to their prisoners. To some extent his books answer his question in a way that I thought would have surprised him - the Code of Bushido has no place for prisoners but there was honour and duty and 'a code' in the Japanese Army.

The book itself is excellent and bu
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
Read long ago.
Recreates the world of ancient Japan,but a bit too lengthy.
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
I remember when I was still in school; there was a question which was occasionally being asked in our exams-

Who colonized Kenya?
A. Britain B. Portugal
C. Spain D. France

Yes, the British colonized Kenya. First they arrived like Missionaries. Their aim, to spread the word of God. They found our religion, if we had one, apathetic. They wanted to shine the light into our dark hearts, clean us of our cultural filth.

Salesmen will tell you that, all they need is to get a foot inside the door and they
Colin Lamont
May 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was abandoned, not finished.

I was initially thrilled and excited about this book. The storm tossed seas, the salt of adventure, the sight of Japan after ten thousand miles of travel, the culture shock of a hyper-advanced, death obsessed society. Surely this will be a rollicking good time!

But it rollicked on and on and on, violence and death and the same episodic pattern of conflict and intrigue and boring politics. 200 pages. 400 pages. 600 pages. Nope. The characters were static, or else c
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book is much than the series, and the series was quite good. It is the same story and yet it has many differences. It's an action packed adventure and a love story too. Clavell writes it beautifully. ...more
Apr 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book when I was 12 or 13 and have read it several times since. Such a good story and descriptions of feudal Japan. I learned so much of their culture and the meanings behind some traditions. But first and foremost a amazing story !!
Matthew Shoe
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I like a good adventure story, I also like a good solid novel with engaging characters and a unique narrative: this novel is both. The main character is John Blackthorne, an English pilot of a dutch ship who is shipwrecked and stranded in late sixteenth century Japan. Blackthorne learns Japanese customs and language to survive. Through his heroism he is made Samurai and becomes a valuable asset to lord Toranaga, a major overlord vying for domination of Japan. As Blackthorne gains an understandin ...more
I thought I will never find something like Shantaram again but I somehow did find it in Shogun although both have their differences as well as similarities. Another thing that I really liked in the book was that it gave a very good insight at what has actually been happening during the colonization, not only in Japan but all over the world.
I was a bit bored in the beginning of the book but everything fell into place the moment Mariko came in the picture! :D The plot is complex and very political
Mădălina  Loghin
Wow, this is a good one. A great one. It's about a European that arrives in Japan, in 1600, and learns about Japan and its traditions. It's sooooo good.
I heard about it since high school, but because of its length, I never tried to read it. But I'm happy that I decided to start it. It's a very nice book, which I tried to enjoy and not "binge" reading because it's so good and I want it to last (I stayed one night and read it for 2 hours+, but besides this, I tried to limit the reading at 30-45 mi
Marcus Hutchens
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
There might be a story worth reading somewhere in here, but there was way too much unimportant and dull dialogue for me to continue. I made it about 10% through and gave up - I would have loved more focus on progressing the story, though I did enjoy the parts about Japanese culture, but there was a serious lack of editing that killed my interest. Based on the plot synopsis I read, I think I'd enjoy a 300-400 page version instead of this 1000+ page version. ...more
James Kerry
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant writing. A fish out of water story about a cunning English pilot thrust into Tokugawa’s final push for the Shogunate, this epic novel bridges cultures and accurately depicts some very obscure historical possibilities. I have re read this so many times the book has fallen apart. Robert Jordan apparently dreamed of making a fantasy version of this very novel.
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Audible had a sale a while ago, so I picked up Shogun to read because I remember just loving it when I was young. Wow! I have been thinking that editors have been getting worse as time goes by, but I'm not sure there was an editor for this book. There is lots that just doesn't make sense. For instance, at one time the Anjisan is captured in the enemy's castle. There is a fight, which the Angisan loses, and then all of a sudden he is walking out with a priest with no explanation of why he has bee ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I don't often enjoy historical fiction (a personal preference for biographies and historical NON-fiction) but Shogun was a very engaging and fascinating tale. I enjoyed how the book begins from Blackthorne's perspective and ends with Toranaga's. Clavell uses the 1200+ pages of this epic adventure to tell various, yet intertwining, stories...and he writes from the perspective of many different characters, men and woman, Japanese and foreigner. I found the ending to be rather anti-climatic, which ...more
I feel that one could learn a lot of Japanese culture and history from this book. However, I get the feeling that it is too biased toward an Anglo-European world view. I might look for a more authentic historical fiction book.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
So far it’s not as good as Tai-Pan, but good enough to keep going. It’s probably better than the TV miniseries version, but I suspect that I was easy to impress when I was 12.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-french
Quite the page-turner... The action and the intrigue never stop.

Of course, you have to expect the story to be centered around the white guy. It's definitely a bit cringy and the author sometimes makes it worst, especially at first, but there had to be an observer: he's thrown right in the middle of the civil and religious war, and the historical and cultural context has to be explained to him. He does gets involved quite a bit in the action, but luckily doesn't bleach the whole story either.

Keith Alverson
May 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: japan
Glad to have read this book just before moving to Osaka, where it largely takes place. However, I didn't really find it all that compelling in the end. Certainly a very interesting historical time period to chose. I guess in the end though I found it all a bit formulaic. Good fodder for hollywood films (which I think were made?), but as a book so-so. I wonder how sales were in Japan? ...more
Sara Dickerman
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book said a lot more about late 20th century America than Imperial Japan at the dawn of the 17th century, but its plot was compelling enough and it gave me enough Richard CHamberlain flashbacks for me to finish.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favourite of the Asian series by the late James Clavell. The author knew Asia and Japan well and describes feudal Japan in wonderful detail. The characters are absorbing and your almost sorry when the book ends. I have read this more than once and enjoy it every..
Andra Constantin
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2014
Captivating even for someone not interested in Asia.
Stan Angelov
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really consuming book and original script, James Clavell is really gifted writer, I learned alot from the book about the traditions of Japan.
Theresa Alan
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a memorable book. The torture scene still haunts me.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredible insight into the Japanese culture before the European invasion.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Re-read on kindle....still one of my favs.
denica Ivanova
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is just amazing!
Robin Smith
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've read Shogun a few times now. One of the great novels of all time. ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read this one back in high school. Also enjoyed the tv mini-series (❤️ Richard Chamberlain as John Blackthorne)
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Goodreads Librari...: Add the greek edition of Shogun Part 1 1 2 Nov 20, 2022 02:55AM  

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James Clavell, born Charles Edmund Dumaresq Clavell was a British novelist, screenwriter, director and World War II veteran and POW. Clavell is best known for his epic Asian Saga series of novels and their televised adaptations, along with such films as The Great Escape, The Fly and To Sir, with Love.


James Clavell. (2007, November 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Other books in the series

Asian Saga: Chronological Order (6 books)
  • Shōgun
  • Tai-Pan (Asian Saga, #2)
  • Gai-Jin (Asian Saga, #3)
  • King Rat (Asian Saga, #4)
  • Noble House (Asian Saga, #5)
  • Whirlwind (Asian Saga, #6)

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