The Shōgun Cast Plays Secretive Characters Inspired By History

The Shōgun Cast Plays Secretive Characters Inspired By History


Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga

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Toranaga is a powerful man in Japan and a member of the Council of Regents, an influential group of the five strongest lords in the region. The character is based off of Tokugawa Ieyasu, an actual feudal lord. Sanada is well-known actor, starring in John Wick: Chapter 4, Bullet Train, Westworld, and more.


Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne

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Inspired by the English navigator William Adams, the first Englishman to visit Japan, Cosmo Jarvis plays John Blackthorne, who becomes part of Toranaga’s plans to take down his rival. Jarvis is also known for starring in 2022’s Persuasion.


Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko

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Mariko is a high-born Christian woman who acts as aid and interpreter to Toranaga. Anna Sawai plays the character, and has recently starred in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, Pachinko, and F9: The Fast Saga.

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Tanadobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige

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Yabushige is Lord of Izu. Initially, he pledges loyalty to Toranaga, but secretly, he’s always looking for new alliances and opportunities for his personal success. The arrival of Blackthorne intrigues him.

Asano is best known to Western audiences for his recurring role as Hogun in Thor and Thor: Ragnarok, although the actor has had a successful career in Japan as well.


Takehiro Hira as Ishido Kazunari

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The main antagonist of the novel, Kazunari views Toranaga as a threat and wants him removed from the Council of Regents, in which they both are members. Hira has recently starred in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters and Gran Turismo.


Tommy Bastow as Father Martin Alvito

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Bastow plays a Portugese Jesuit priest. He serves as a translator for the Council of Regents, and a mediator between the Portuguese and Japanese leaders in the region. Bastow is an English actor, who first began his career in 2008.

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Fumi Nikaido as Ochiba No Kata

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Ochiba No Kata is the mother of the Heir, who is the son of the founder of the Council of Regents. Her loyalty only lies with herself and her son, and she’ll do anything to keep her child safe. Nikaido is an actress and model, and has appeared in film and television since 2009.

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Milan Polk

Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.

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