Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Blackthorne: “Is this the Japans?”

Shogun scene mariko and blackthorne

Kimono costume wardrobe in the 1980 TV series “Shogun”:

I watched the “Shogun” TV miniseries when it first aired way back in 1980. I watched it again last year. Now that I have a much greater interest in kimonos and Japanese culture, I enjoyed it a lot more.

The show was a ground breaking series. Much as European countries knew little about “The Japans” in the 16th century, most Americans knew little about Japanese culture in 1980. (Yes, count me too.) I can recall back then when the “urination scene” and the “beheading scene” caused a lot of reaction.* The great thing about re-watching it on Netflix DVD was that there are many “making of” special features and interviews included.  One of the irritating things is that there are no subtitles or closed captions. Like Richard Chamberlain‘s “Blackthorne” character, the viewer has to keep asking “What did he say”?  The sets, the artwork and the costumes were great.  It was a treat to watch the great Toshiro Mifune as Shogun Toranaga. At one point in the interviews, the director said that millions of American men fell in love with the “Mariko” character. (Yes, count me too.) The actress Yoko Shimada was cast at the last minute, when the original actress left for a singing career. She was  fascinating to watch.

*I encourage you to watch-it-again-for-the-first-time!

Here is a snippet from the gentle musical soundtrack (from there, YouTube links to more).

Starlight: It took 34 years for me to re-view this wonderful TV miniseries! 


Comments on: "KIMONOS ON MONDAY: Kimono costume wardrobe worn in the 1980 TV series “Shogun”" (7)

  1. OH I LOVE this!!! I had to cry several times watching this…..the costumes were really great! And not translating the language was a good idea too, in my opinion, it adds a lot to the atmosphere of historical lost in translation.
    Also i think the movie was really well made, considering other american productions that are supposed to be “japanese” (like”Memoirs of a Geisha”) not all pay close attention to culture and detail. So in my opinion this is a really good series. 😀
    PS: even though i doubt that Mariko would have been allowed to meet Blackthorne that many times without other companions. Or even to be allowed on the assemblys, given that samurai adhered to confucianism and thus all women of the upper class were secluded to a place called “ooku” but i might mix up stuff here. Thanks for posting these pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a question about kimonos. Which season is appropriate to wear a kimono? Do they wear them only on special occasions, such as holidays and religion ceremonies?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not an expert but I think they can be worn any time of year.

      There are special kimonos for special occasions. Weddings, or events such as “Coming of Age Day.”

      A “Yukaka” is a lighter kimono worn in summer. Lighter shoes, sandals are usually worn with those, or inside — even bare feet. If I was a Japanese artist, I think I would make “Barefoot in Yukata” my trademark theme. Gggrrowwl : )

      I read somewhere that most Japanese women do not own a formal kimono. They are sometimes rented the way Americans might rent a tuxedo.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Shogun too. Did you ever read the book (by James Clavell)? That’s great too. I also read the others in the series but none had as much impact for me as the first.

    Liked by 1 person

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