copyright 1975; Atheneum publishers, New York; 2-volume hardbounds (Volume 1 in white boards, Volume 2 in red boards); both volumes in quite good condition with unmarked pages; dust jackets are not in good conditon with tears and previous tape repair; overall, nice condition books in poor dust jackets.
Shōgun is a 1975 novel by James Clavell. It is the first novel (by internal chronology) of the author's Asian Saga. A major best-seller, by 1990 the book had sold 15 million copies worldwide. Beginning in feudal Japan some months before the critical Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Shōgun gives an account of the rise of the daimyō "Toranaga" (based upon the actual Tokugawa Ieyasu). Toranaga's rise to the shogunate is seen through the eyes of the English sailor John Blackthorne, called Anjin ("Pilot") by the Japanese, whose fictional heroics are loosely based on the historical exploits of William Adams.
Feudal Japan in 1600 is in a precarious peace. The heir to the Taiko (Regent) is too young to rule, and the most powerful five overlords of the land hold power as a Council of Regents. Portugal, with its vast sea power, and the Catholic Church mainly through the Order of the Jesuits, have gained a foothold in Japan and seek to extend their power. But Japanese society is insular and xenophobic. Guns and Europe's modern military capabilities are still a novelty and despised as a threat to Japan's traditional Samurai warrior culture.
John Blackthorne, an English pilot, serving on the Dutch warship Erasmus, is the first English pilot to reach Japan. England (and Holland) seek to disrupt Portuguese (and Catholic) relations with Japan and establish ties of their own through trade and military alliances.
Erasmus is blown ashore on the Japanese coast at the village of Anjiro during a storm. Blackthorne and the few survivors of his crew are taken captive by local samurai, Kasigi Omi, until his daimyō (feudal lord) and uncle, Kasigi Yabu, arrives. Yabu puts Blackthorne and his crew on trial as pirates, using a Jesuit priest to interpret for Blackthorne. Losing the trial, Blackthorne attacks the Jesuit, rips off his crucifix, and stamps it into the dust to show the daimyō that the priest is his enemy. The Japanese, who know only the Catholic version of Christianity, are shocked by the gesture. Yabu sentences Blackthorne and his crew to death. However, Omi, who is quickly proving himself as a clever adviser, convinces Yabu to spare them to learn more about European ways.
Omi throws the Erasmus crew into a pit to "tame" them, and tells them Lord Yabu has ordered that they pick one amongst them (other than Blackthorne) to die, so that the others may live. Blackthorne leads his crew in a futile resistance, but they are easily cowed by Omi. One of them is taken and is boiled alive, to satisfy Lord Yabu, who cruelly enjoys such spectacles.
To save his crew, Blackthorne agrees to submit to Japanese authority....