‘Shogun’s saddest scene has a deep meaning

Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for Shogun.

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  • ShogunThe depiction of seppuku is shocking but accurately demonstrates the deep importance of honor in samurai culture.
  • Tadayoshi’s decision to perform seppuku to atone for a mistake highlights the importance of loyalty to master and family in Japanese society.

  • The act of seppuku has evolved throughout Japanese history, reflecting changing cultural norms and views on honor and death.

Immersing yourself in a different culture can often cause great shock to those who are not accustomed to it, and Shogun “Anjin” gives us just that in its very first episode. In a quick turn of events, Usami Tadayoshi (yuki takao), one of Lord Yoshi Toranaga (hiroyuki sanada), after making a mistake he decides to not only give up his life, but also completely wipe out his lineage and kill his newborn child. The act of committing suicide to protect one’s honor is known as seppuku in Japanese culture, and it is often portrayed in a fairly romantic light in Western films and TV series. Shogun Now it becomes clear how deep it is and how important its role is in Samurai culture.

Shogun (2024)

When a mysterious European ship is found stranded in a nearby fishing village, Lord Yoshi Toranaga discovers secrets that could tip the scale of power and devastate his enemies.

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What happens in the first episode of Shogun?

in one ShogunIn the first scene, Lord Toranaga is in Osaka for a Council of Regents meeting. He is one of the five regents known as Taiko by the previous ruler Nakamura Hidetoshi (Yukijiro Hotaru), to maintain peace in Japan while his successor has not yet come of age. However, four regents led by Lord Ishido Kazunari (takehiro diamond), fearing his growing power and political influence, immediately attacked Toranaga. Tadayoshi’s seppuku became an issue in the context of this meeting.

As the meeting progresses, all the regents have their personal samurai guards, warriors waiting patiently outside the room. Despite all doors being open, they are not allowed inside and must remain silent while the Regents are conducting their discussions. However, Lord Toranaga soon becomes the target of the other four Regents, who attack him and condemn his actions, even though he is being held in Osaka by Lord Ishido. Tadayoshi, one of Toranaga’s most loyal samurai, intervenes from the outside, arguing that his master’s treatment is unfair, and Stepping onto the tatami mat inside the room where the meeting is taking place, his hand on his katana, Although Toranaga calmly tells him to remain calm, this is enough to make every samurai stand up to defend his master if the need arises. As tensions rise, Tadayoshi regains consciousness, sits up, and announces that he is committing seppuku to atone for his crime. Not only that, but he is also going to destroy his lineage to ensure that this never happens again, meaning he will kill his newborn son as well.

It may seem shocking to Western audiences, but Tadayoshi’s decision was actually supported by everyone present. Lord Toranaga calmly agrees to this, and Lord Ishido is also satisfied with this outcome, considering that he was accused of being dishonest to Toranaga. The only person who is against it is Tadayoshi’s wife, Usami Fuji (Moeka Hoshi, Toda talking to Mariko (Anna Sawai) Before Tadayoshi commits seppuku, she finds herself unable to understand why her son, who is a child and cannot possibly offend anyone, should also be killed. Later, Fuji’s grandfather, Toda Hiromatsu (Tokuma Nishioka), tells him that Her husband and son had to die because “they were involved in a bigger fight.”

‘The Shogun’s depiction of seppuku is shocking, but layered and accurate

To Western audiences, the act of taking one’s own life is shocking in itself, especially with conversations surrounding mental health in today’s society. It’s easy to get carried away with its depiction of such a sensitive issue, but Shogun It makes it clear from the very beginning that it is not talking about current affairs. Having a character commit seppuku in the first episode is certainly a way to add shock value to the series and show that the stakes are high, and is also a way of letting the audience know that Western rules do not apply. to our western eyesTadayoshi taking his own life and that of his son is terrible, but It’s perfect for a Japanese warrior who has to defend his honor.

In Western media, the act of seppuku is somewhat romanticized, often portrayed as overly dramatic and performed only when there is no other way to proceed. While sometimes this was indeed the reason for a warrior to perform seppuku, many other things could have led them to do so. In Japanese culture, death is viewed as a natural part of life, and, especially in the Sengoku and Edo periods, the decision to end it was largely the individual’s., For a warrior, it went even deeper, as most of them expected to die on the battlefield, but such death could also bring dishonor, especially if they were captured and subjected to torture or interrogation. Was taken for. In this context, performing seppuku was a way of ensuring one’s loyalty to his master by refusing to be caught and risking disclosing any sensitive information. For example, Oda Nobunaga, one of the great unifiers of Japan, even when he learned that he had been betrayed and was about to be defeated, sought to die on his own terms as a way of dying without having his honor taken away. Performed seppuku in.

However, Tadayoshi’s decision to perform seppuku is somewhat different. While many warriors would usually do this to avoid having their honor taken away, Tadayoshi did this to atone for a mistake, so it is important to keep this mistake in perspective. Disrupting a meeting may seem trivial to a modern Western audience, but what Tadayoshi’s attendance was akin to a meeting of heads of state, Disrupting this meeting by drawing one’s katana and questioning the honor of any one Regent could have instantly sparked an all-out war. By doing so, he made a fool of himself and put his own master’s control over his warriors into doubt. Seppuku was the best option for him to atone for his mistake and keep his honor as well as his family’s honor intact, which is why it was necessary to take his son with him.

When Hiromatsu tells Fuji that Tadayoshi and the child “belonged to a big battle,” he is talking about how their sacrifice prevented the war. Not only this, but on a spiritual level, even the child’s honor was tainted by his father’s actions. At the heart of seppuku is honor, not the possibility of death, which is why so many warriors are motivated toward it., This is a serious task, respected by friend and foe alike. Therefore, for Tadayoshi and his family, it was important for his story to end in the most honorable way possible, and seppuku was the best way to do so.

The act of seppuku changed a lot throughout Japanese history

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When the time comes for Tadayoshi to perform seppuku as per his promise, the act itself is not shown. While it may be wrong to depict it in our current cultural scenario, it would also challenge the historical accuracy of the actual ritual of that time. Shogun takes place. Tadayoshi is shown preparing to perform seppuku dressed in white samurai robes as Fuji hands over his son, and we only hear about it in the show’s third episode, “Tomorrow Is Tomorrow”, when Hiromatsu tells him of Father and Child. hands over the remains of. ,

way Shogun Exploration It is reminiscent of the time period in which the series takes place, the Sengoku period. This is known as the “Warring States Period”, when Japan lacked a single unified ruler and conflict was almost constant. Death was just as permanent, so seppuku was considered a private act, Performed behind closed doors, with only one other person present, whose role was to ensure that the person died with dignity, This is what happens to Tadayoshi. During the Edo period, seppuku became closer to what is commonly portrayed. It also became close to a death sentence, which is why public ceremonies were usually held to witness it.

Shogun Streaming on Hulu in the US, new episodes are released weekly on Tuesdays.

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