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Summary

  • Shōgun, based on historical events in Japan, filmed most of its scenes in Canada.
  • Shōgun was initially planned to be filmed in Japan, but delays led to production relocating.
  • The cast and crew captured minor scenes in London, England, to retain rights amid delays.



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Hulu and FX’s television show Shōgun revolves around a fictionalized version of historical events taking place during the late Sengoku period in Japan, but most of Shōgun wasn’t filmed in the East Asian island country. The 2024 historical drama limited series, created by Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks, is the second television adaptation of James Clavell’s 1975 book of the same name and consists of ten episodes, with the first two premiering on February 27, 2024. It chronicles the dynamic between John Blackthorne (an English explorer who finds himself shipwrecked in Japan), Lord Toranaga (a daimyo), and Lady Mariko (a samurai).


The cast of Shōgun includes Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Toranaga, Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne, Anna Sawai as Lady Mariko, Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige, Takehiro Hira as Ishido Kazunari, Tommy Bastow as Father Alvito, and Fumi Nikaido as Ochiba No Kata, all of whom play characters in Shōgun inspired by real people. The cast and crew were supposed to begin filming the FX limited series in 2019, but delays hindered production. Finally, principal photography commenced in late 2021 and lasted until June 2022, and Shōgun‘s scenes were captured in a handful of countries around the world.


Japan


According to The Cinemaholic, the editors incorporated several exterior shots of Japan into Shōgun‘s ten episodes, even though the vast majority of them were not filmed in Asia. Of course, the historical drama limited series occurs in Japan, so it makes sense that it would include shots of the island country. Producers captured establishing shots of landscapes and places in Japan for various uses throughout Shōgun, seeing as most Japanese locations could not be recreated elsewhere.

Like Japan, England was another minor
Shōgun
filming location, with the cast and crew only capturing one scene in London.

Shōgun was initially supposed to be filmed entirely in Japan when principal photography was scheduled to start in 2019. However, the network felt like the show wasn’t ready for production, so executives delayed filming to give the writers and producers time to revise the scripts. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, halting movie and television productions worldwide. All these delays resulted in FX and the producers relocating filming for the final product of Shōgun.


Related

Lord Toranaga’s Minowara Ancestry & Tokugawa Shogunate Inspiration Explained

Lord Yoshii Toranaga is based on the real-life shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who claimed to be a direct descendant of the esteemed Minamoto clan.

London, England

John Blackthorne standing in front of Lord Toranaga in Shogun episode 2

Like Japan, England was another minor Shōgun filming location, with the cast and crew only capturing one scene in London. Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays Lord Yoshii Toranaga in the television show, traveled to London with some crew members to film one sequence. It involved Sanada’s character riding on a horse by a fire.


This moment was captured in 2019 when the network was at risk of losing rights to Shōgun because pre-production took so long. So, filming Sanada’s small scene helped the studio retain the rights to adapt James Clavell’s book while the writers worked on new scripts. Consequently, most of the scenes in the FX historical drama limited series were shot in a different location outside of Europe and Asia — North America.

Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada

Hiromatsu and young samurai standing together in Shogun

During an interview with CTV News, producer Erin Smith revealed that Shōgun was primarily shot in Canada. Specifically, the cast and crew mostly remained in Ucluelet and Port Moody in British Columbia for the duration of filming. Smith explained:

“They searched the world to do this show. We wanted to open the show with the beautiful scenery of the Wya Point Beach in Ucluelet. It’s a very beautiful place. We have a lot of cast and crew from Japan that were quite fascinated and blown away by the resemblance of that spot to Japan.”


As Smith shared, Wya Point Beach in Ucluelet was utilized as the location for Shōgun‘s opening sequence (and many other early scenes). Ucluelet is a municipality on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Ucluelet was the perfect stand-in for Japan in the FX limited series because of its location on the coast and access to beautiful beaches and forests. As Smith mentioned during her discussion with CTV News, many Japanese crew members were impressed with how much Ucluelet resembled the Eastern Asian island country. However, filming on an island resulted in minor complications due to difficulty accessing the location.

Related

William Adams Explained: The Real Life Version Of Shogun’s John Blackthorne

Shōgun’s John Blackthorne is inspired by the real-life English shipbuilder and navigator William Adams, who became the first-ever Western samurai.

Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada

A closeup of Mariko in Shogun


Aside from Ucluelet, the cast and crew of Shōgun also frequently used Port Moody, a municipality of the Metro Vancouver Regional District, to capture numerous scenes. The production team built various sets in the city that could have easily been mistaken for Japan. As a result, Port Moody was a primary location for the historical drama limited series.

Shōgun
holds a 100 percent rating on
Rotten Tomatoes
.

Vancouver is a popular destination for several movie and television productions because of its accessibility to impressive studios and picturesque landscapes. The Osaka Castle scenes were likely captured in a studio in Vancouver. Consequently, it’s understandable why the Shōgun producers chose Port Moody as one of the show’s most significant spots for principal photography.


Shogun 2024 Poster

Shogun

Shogun is an FX original mini-series set in 17th Century Japan. Shogun follows John Blackthorne, who becomes a samurai warrior but is unknowingly a pawn in Yoshii Toranaga’s plan to become Shogun. The series stars Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne and Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga, along with Anna Sawai, Tadanobu Asano, and Yûki Kedôin.

Cast
Cosmo Jarvis , Hiroyuki Sanada , Anna Sawai , Tadanobu Asano , Yûki Kedôin

Seasons
1

Streaming Service(s)
Hulu

Sources: The Cinemaholic, CTV News



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