Shogun takes place during the 1600s in the country of Japan. It begins with the main character John Blackthorne, a British sailor who barely survives the journey to the island of Japan with a few members of his crew. Up to that time, the only Europeans who had anything to do with the Japanese were the Spanish and Portuguese, who organized trading between Japan and China, collecting a large profit in the bargain. .
The Book Shogun covers a number of historical events that took place during the 1600s. First was the conflict between the Catholics and Protestants, second the exploration of the word and the Far East by European traders, and third, the battle among the Japanese warlords for supremacy during the 1600s.
In this book, one of the big historical events that were represented was the conflict between the Catholics and Protestants. In Europe huge wars were fought between Catholic countries and Protestant countries. One way this conflict was portrayed in the book was when John Blackthorn and his crew met a Spanish priest in Japan. Even though they were alone and unable to speak the language, they saw this priest as a liar and an enemy because he was Catholic. The conflict between Blackthorn and the Spanish priests and traders was a very good representation of how the two religions viewed each other. To each other they were totally different, but to the Japanese they were practically identical. .
The book also showed how the Western cultures and Easter cultures viewed each other, and the contrasts between them. In Shogun, the author introduces us to Japanese history and Japanese culture. From the Japanese perspective, the Europeans were seen as inferior barbarians who were dirty, uneducated, and superstitious. The West thought of them selves as more advanced with their ships and weapons, and the Japanese as heathens and "monkeys". One way that the novel portrayed this was when John Blackthorn first started to live among the Japanese people.