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‘Shogun’ a great chance to show our culture correctly: lead star-producer Hiroyuki Sanada

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New Delhi, Feb 25: Dreams do come true, says veteran actor Hiroyuki Sanada as he looks forward to introduce audiences to the lavishly-crafted world of “Shogun”, a new and ambitious adaptation of James Clavell’s 1975 novel, that, he hopes, authentically tells the story of a crucial period in Japan’s history.

Sanada, who worked extensively in Japan from a young age before finding fame in Hollywood, serves as a producer besides playing the lead role of Yoshii Toranaga, a character modelled on real-life Japanese military hero, Tokugawa Ieyasu.

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“For a long time, I wanted to introduce our culture to the world correctly. I thought it’s a great chance to do that…That was my dream (and) they gave me the title of a producer. Dreams do come true in Hollywood,” Sanada told PTI in a virtual interview.

The 63-year-old actor, known for starring alongside Tom Cruise in “The Last Samurai” and playing prominent roles in “The Wolverine”, “47 Ronin”, “Avengers: Endgame”,”Bullet Train”, “John Wick: Chapter 4” and TV show “Westworld”, said he was waiting for a show like “Shogun”.

Admitting that he had played many samurai (warrior) and yakuza (mafia) roles in Hollywood, Sanada said, “Every time, I took on the roles, I tried to (portray) our culture correctly but it all depends on the show and movie. But this kind of story (‘Shogun’) has to be shown to the audience in an authentic way as much as possible.”

The 10-part series, slated to premiere on Disney+Hotstar in India on February 28, is set in Japan in the year 1600 at the dawn of a century-defining civil war.

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Sanada’s Toranaga is fighting for his life as his enemies unite against him. When a mysterious European ship is found marooned in a nearby fishing village, its English pilot, John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis), comes bearing secrets that could help Toranaga tip the scales of power.

Toranaga’s and Blackthorne’s fates become inextricably tied to their translator, Toda Mariko (Anna Sawai), a mysterious Christian noblewoman and the last of a disgraced line.

The FX show has earned praise by reviewers for the way it reframes the novel, which was adapted as a TV show in 1980, more through the culture it is rooted in rather than focusing on a story driven by the white man’s perspective.

Sanada still remembers the conversation he had with a producer about a decade ago offering him a chance to play Toranaga.

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“I said yes and at that time, I was involved with the project just as an actor,” he recalled, adding that when Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo joined the show as creators, they decided to involve him as a producer as well.

In interviews, Marks and Kondo have spoken about the important role Sanada played in bringing authenticity to the show by fine-tuning cultural nuances, language and diction.

It is also a wish fulfilment of another kind for Sanada to play Toranaga, he said. (PTI)

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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