“Shogun” showcases FX’s bold commitment to authentic storytelling

Bringing “Shogun” to life took ten years, with authenticity guiding everything from casting and language to production choices.


The UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report recently grabbed attention for its discoveries about the success of diverse films at the box office. Can TV audiences worldwide find similar success? FX’s new epic limited drama series, “Shōgun,” scored a whopping 9 million views on streaming platforms, showing the strength of genuine storytelling.

To shine a light on the ten-year journey behind the updated masterpiece, regulars from the series and FX executives appeared on ABC’s On the Red Carpet Storyteller’s Spotlight.

Gina Balian, Co-President of FX Entertainment, who’s been praised for her role in bringing the limited series to life, talked about how she first encountered “Shōgun” as a child, remembering it as a romantic story featuring Richard Chamberlain.

When Balian joined FX to establish a new limited series division, she was informed that James Clavell’s estate wanted to produce an updated miniseries of the book. Upon receiving the book, she noticed differences from the original miniseries in the ’80s and decided to stay true to the book, making it the foundation for their work.

Authenticity was key throughout the production, from assembling the team to adapting the book and choosing the cast and language.

Creators Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks saw the series as a chance to bridge cultures and approached the adaptation with great care. Kondo, a fan of historical romances, felt honored to be part of the team bringing the show to the world. Series star Hiroyuki Sanada was excited about portraying Toronaga, a character representing peace in modern times.

Anna Sawai, who plays Mariko, highlighted the importance of authenticity in the updated version, expressing pride in reshaping perceptions of Japanese women.

Cosmo Jarvis, who portrays John Blackthrone, saw the production as an adventure and an opportunity for learning about Japanese history.

Overall, the cast and executives emphasized unity and camaraderie. Sanada felt proud of the collaboration between eastern and western productions, while Balian stressed the significance of time in creating an authentic experience.

Disney owns both FX and this station.

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