Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The boy bought the boxed set of the Seventies TV show, Shogun, years ago. It had been a favourite of his when he was a boy, and no doubt he was keen to share it with me. But I was expecting something a little less culturally sensitive, so didn't make any effort to watch it with him.

For some reason, the name of the show conjured up a mental image of a hairy white man frolicking with compliant young Oriental girls in an overtly sexist and racist manner. (But actually I had been thinking of a scene in a James Bond movie.)

Now that we've been watching it since the weekend, I'm really quite enjoying it. Not so much the torture and the beheading, but the political intrigue, the religious conflict and the exotic costumes - and that's just the Westerners.

It shows a lot about Japanese culture at the time (the 1500's, I think) and is apparently fairly accurate, the author having spent many years in Japan and China. One thing that impresses me is that it doesn't take sides - the Portugese and the Japanese Samurai are equally ruthless; the Jesuits have their good and bad points and even the main character - the English Blackthorne - isn't totally a good guy.

The boy reckons that Richard Chamberlain, who plays Blackthorne, invented the I-smell-a-fart method of acting. After he told me that, I couldn't look at him (Chamberlain) frowning without giggling.


Nigel Patel said...

I've never seen it but it sounds so much better than a lot of seventies TV.

Antoinette said...

My parents watched it; I never did -- maybe wasn't allowed to? Now I'm curious.

Violet said...

Nige: it's surprisingly intelligent - not that I think Seventies TV wasn't intelligent. But then I can only remember The Six Million Dollar Man, the original Battlestar Galactica and HR Puf'n'Stuff...

Antoinette: the great thing about the old tv shows is that there's no swearing and the sex and violence is all implied.