Shogun: Is Hiroyuki Sanada’s Samurai Series Based on a True Story? – Release Date, Synopsis, Where to Watch Explained

The inspiration behind Shogun, starring Hiroyuki Sanada, is a fascinating true story from Japan's feudal era.

Shogun: Is Hiroyuki Sanada’s Samurai Series Based on a True Story? - Release Date, Synopsis, Where to Watch Explained


  • Shogun is a historical drama series based on the 1975 novel of the same name written by James Clavell.
  • The book fictionalizes the real history of the rise of Japan's first "Shogun," along with the story of an English navigator.
  • Shogun stars Hiroyuki Sanada, Cosmo Jarvis, and Anna Sawai in the lead roles, who play characters inspired by historical figures.
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Shogun is a historical drama series created by Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks, which is one of the most hotly anticipated projects of 2024. The series stars Hiroyuki Sanada in the lead role and takes place during the 1600s. It makes several references to the historical events that defined Japan’s culture during the era.

Shōgun starring Hiroyuki Sandana

As a result, viewers must be looking for details regarding the series and its connection to real-world historical events. At the same time, viewers might also be curious about the show’s release date, plot synopsis, cast, and streaming details. In that case, we have compiled a complete collection of all the essential details that you need to know before watching Hiroyuki Sanada’s Shogun.

Also Read: The 1 ‘John Wick’ Role That Got Away From Legendary Actor Hiroyuki Sanada Despite Later Getting Cast in Fourth Film


The Inspiration Behind Hiroyuki Sanada’s Shogun Explained

Shogun is loosely based on a true story. The series is an adaptation of author James Clavell’s 1975 historical fiction book of the same name. The novel is the first in the author’s Asian Saga series of books. While the book is mostly a work of fiction, it is inspired by the real-world history of Japan during the nation’s feudal era.

Cosmo Jarvis as Pilot Major John Blackthorne
Cosmo Jarvis as Pilot Major John Blackthorne

However, several events have been fictionalized to fit the book’s narrative. In the series, Hiroyuki Sanada plays the role of Lord Yoshii Toranaga. The character is based on Tokugawa Ieyasu, who became the first person to hold the title of “Shogun” and founded the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan, which ruled the country for nearly three centuries.

The novel (and in turn the series) showcases Toranaga’s rise to shogunate from the perspective of English sailor John Blackthorne. The character is based on navigator William Adams, the first Englishman to visit Japan who became a samurai under Tokugawa Ieyasu’s rule.


Several other characters in the book and the television series are also based on real historical figures. Therefore, despite being a fictional story, Shogun is rooted in the real history of Japan’s feudal era.

Also Read: “It’s a Samurai-coded Game of Thrones”: Hiroyuki Sanada’s Latest Show Shōgun Might Just Be The Best Thing From the John Wick Star

Shogun: Release Date, Synopsis, Cast, Where to Watch?

The first season of Shogun is expected to premiere on February 27, 2024. The first two episodes of the ten-episode debut season will drop on the same day. The rest of the episodes will be released weekly.

Hiroyuki Sanada stars as Lord Yoshii Toranaga
Hiroyuki Sanada stars as Lord Yoshii Toranaga

Shogun is set to follow English sailor John Blackthorne, who washes up on the shores of Japan. His fate becomes inadvertently intertwined with that of Lord Yoshii Toranaga, who finds himself in a civil war. The two ambitious men with different cultural backgrounds also become embroiled with a mysterious female samurai.

Also Read: “If the script calls for me…”: John Wick 4 Star Hiroyuki Sanada Promises to Do Action Scenes “Until I can’t walk”

In the series, Hiroyuki Sanada stars as Lord Yoshii Toranaga. Sanada is known for playing Shimazu Koji in John Wick: Chapter 4 and Hanzo Hasashi / Scorpion in Mortal Kombat. He is joined by Cosmo Jarvis as Pilot Major John Blackthorne and Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko.


Jarvis is known for his role in the 2022 period romance film Persuasion. Sawai gained recognition for playing Cate Randa in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. In the United States, Shogun will premiere on Hulu, FX, and Disney+ (via the Hulu hub). It will also be available on Disney+ internationally and on Star+ in Latin America.

Pratik Handore

Written by Pratik Handore

Articles Published: 447

Pratik is a writer at FandomWire, with a content writing experience of five years. Although he has a Bachelors in Hospitality, his fascination with all things pop culture led him to writing articles on a variety of topics ranging from latest streaming releases to unheard movie trivia. When not writing, you can find him reading manga, or watching classic TV shows.