Clavell, James: Shogun
(researched by Hye Won Choi)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Atheneum, New York, 1975.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The First Edition was published in green cloth with light blue board overlapping it.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
407 leaves; pp. [ i-viii] [1-2] 3-802.
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
N/A
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
Jacket design by Paul Bacon.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
The book's dustjacket is attractively illustrated showing the upper half of a samurai sword. The title SHOGUN is very eye-catching with its thick red printing at the
top of the page. Inside the cover, a map of Japan is illustrated on the yellow pages. The text is attractive and readable. However, the spacing between the lines are small.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is thick and durable and it seems to be in a good shape over the
time.
11 Description of binding(s)
Binding is fairly in good condition since the papers are strongly glued to the binding. The author's name, the title and the publisher's name are inscribed in black on the spine.
12 Transcription of title page
[rule]
| SHOGUN | A NOVEL OF JAPAN | BY | JAMES CLAVELL | [rule] | Atheneum (1975) New York
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
N/A
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Atheneum published a Book Club edition of Shogun: a novel of Japan in two volumes.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
There were seven printings during 1975.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Delacorte Press, 1975. (802
pages) International Collectors Library, 1975. (2 volumes with 1100 pages). Paperback edition from Dell Publishers, Inc. June 1976. New Dell edition from Dell Publishers, Inc. 1980.
6 Last date in print?
Not Available.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
6,600,000 copies were sold since 1975. (Publishers Weekly, April 7, 1997) 15 million copies were sold worldwide. (Time, Nov. 26, 1990)
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
Not Available
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Not Available
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
Computer Game: Shogun adapted by Dave Lebling (Cambridge, MA: Infocom, Inc., 1988). Includes 1 computer disk 3 1/2 in. + 1 manual + 1 reference card + 1 map + 1 the soul of the samurai sheet.
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
NBC's five part telev
ision mini-series (total 13 hours) with Richard Chamberlain. Sept. 15-19, 1980. 3 Ω hour Broadway musical performed during Nov. 1990.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Chinese: Mu Fu chiang ch¸n. T'ai-pei: Hao shi nien, 1980. Finnish: Shogun. Helsingiss?: Otava, 1982 French (Canada): Shogun. le roman des samouraÔs [MontrÈal]: Libre expression, 1984. French (France): Shogun: le roman des samouraÔs. Paris: Stock, 1977. German: Shogun: der roman Japans. M¸nchen: Droemer Knaur, 1976. Hebrew: Shogun. Tel Aviv: Zemorah, Bitan, Modan, 1980. Hungarian: A sÛgun. Budapest: ¡rk·dia, 1987. Italian: Shogun. Milano: Bompiani, 1985. Japanese: Shogun. Tokyo: TBS Buritanika, 1980 Korean: Changgun. Seoul. Saemt'o Ch'ulp'anbu, 1980. Polish: Shogun: powiesc o Japonii. Warszawa: lskry, 1992. Portuguese: XÛgum: a gloriosa saga do Jap?o. Rio de Janeiro, RJ: NÛrdica, 1983. Russian: SÎgun. Moskva: Erica Olma-Press: Kron-Press, 1993. Spanish: Shogun. Barcelona: Plaza & JanÈs Editores, 1994..
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
James Clavell was born in Sydney, Australia on October 10, 1924. He was the son of Commander Richard Clavell, a British Royal Navy officer who was stationed in Australia to help establish the Royal Australian Nav
y. In 1940, when Clavell finished his secondary schooling at Portsmouth Grammar School, he joined the Royal Artillery to follow his family tradition. With the outbreak of the Second World War, Clavell was sent to Far East to fight against the Japanese.
In 1942, he was captured by the Japanese and spent his next three and half years in a notorious Changi Jail where only 10,000 out of 150,000 inmates survived. After the war, Clavell was released and returned to England where he continued his military ca
reer. After a motorcycle accident left him with a limp in one leg in 1946, Clavell was discharged from the Army as a captain. When he began to visit movie sets with his future wife, an aspiring actress, Clavell became attracted to the movie industry. He
first worked as a film distributor and then gradually moved into production work. In 1953, Clavell and his wife immigrated to the United States and settled down in Hollywood. Clavell scripted the grisly science-fiction horror film, The Fly, and wrote a
war film, Five Gates to Hell. Clavell won a Writers Guild Best Screenplay Award for the 1963 film The Great Escape. He also wrote, directed and produced a 1969 box office hit, To Sir With Love, starring Sidney Poitier. Clavell first started writing his
novel in 1960 during the screenwriters' strike when he was left idle for 12 weeks. His first novel, King Rat, was a story based on his prison experiences at Changi. When the book was published in 1962, it became an immediate best seller and three years
later, it was adapted for film. Clavell's next novel, Tai-Pan, a historical novel set in Hong Kong, was also a success. However, none could be compared to the success of Clavell's most well known novel, Shogun (1975), which is a story about an English
navigator in Japan in 1600s. When the story was made into a TV series in 1980 which was produced by Clavell himself, it became the second highest rated mini-series in history with an audience of over 120 million. In 1981, Clavell published his fourth no
vel, Noble House, which became a number one best seller during that year and was also made into a miniseries. During the following years, Clavell also wrote Whirlwind (1986) and Gai-Jin (1993). He also wrote The Children's Story (1981) and Thrump-o-mot
o (1985) for children. In September 6, 1994, Clavell died in Switzerland at age 69. He is survived by his wife and two daughters, Michaela and Holly. Clavell is known as "the Best-selling Storyteller of Far Eastern Epics."
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
When Shogun was published in 1975, the reviews around the major newspapers and magazine overwhelmingly praised the book for its ingenious plot and fascinating narrative. Cynthia Gorney of the Washington Post descr
ibed the book as "one of those books that blots up vacations and imperils marriages, because it simply will not let the reader go." Webster Schott in the New York Times Book Review commented, "Clavell has a gift?It may be something that cannot be taught
or earned. He breathes narrative. It's almost impossible not to continue to read Shogun once having opened it." Library Journal contributor Mitsu Yamamoto praised Shogun of consisting "a wonderful churning brew of adventure, intrigue, love, philosophy,
and history." However, other critics, such as the New Yorker, mentioned the downside of the book of having "flashy Hollywood dialogue and derring-do that haven't been around much since the heyday of the Errol Flynn movie." Nevertheless, the above mentio
ned critic could not escape from acknowledging Clavell as having "a decided gift for storytelling."
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
When Shogun was published in 1975, the reviews around the major newspapers and magazine overwhelmingly praised the book for its ingenious plot and fascinating narrative. Cynthia Gorney of the Washington Post descr
ibed the book as "one of those books that blots up vacations and imperils marriages, because it simply will not let the reader go." Webster Schott in the New York Times Book Review commented, "Clavell has a gift?It may be something that cannot be taught
or earned. He breathes narrative. It's almost impossible not to continue to read Shogun once having opened it." Library Journal contributor Mitsu Yamamoto praised Shogun of consisting "a wonderful churning brew of adventure, intrigue, love, philosophy,
and history." However, other critics, such as the New Yorker, mentioned the downside of the book of having "flashy Hollywood dialogue and derring-do that haven't been around much since the heyday of the Errol Flynn movie." Nevertheless, the above mentio
ned critic could not escape from acknowledging Clavell as having "a decided gift for storytelling."
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
When James Clavell picked up one of his nine-year-old daughter's school books one afternoon in London, he came upon an intriguing bit of history. He read the following sentence from the text: "In 1600, an English
man went to Japan and became a Samurai" (1). Fascinated by the story, Clavell began to read everything he could find about this historical figure, Will Adams. For his research, Clavell had to make several trips to Vatican and Japan. And as for his final
result, Clavell produced a 800+ page novel which became his third novel, Shogun. Since its initial publication in 1975, Shogun remained in a bestseller list for 32 weeks. Since then, fifteen million copies of Shogun were sold worldwide by 1990. A seve
ral adaptations of the book were made, including a highly successful five-part NBC miniseries in 1980 and a Broadway musical in 1990. Even to this date, Shogun undoubtedly is one of the most widely read books of the 20th century.
One of the critical success factors of Shogun can be attributed to its remarkable narrative that keeps readers turning hundreds of pages of the book. Almost all the critics acknowledged Clavell's gift of storytelling. Webster Schott in the New York Tim
es Book Review praised, "Clavell has a gift?It may be something that cannot be taught or earned. He breathes narrative. It's almost impossible not to continue to read Shogun once having opened it" (2). Even Clavell said of himself, "I'm not a novelist,
I'm a storyteller." Some critics attempted to explain Clavell's gift of storytelling by looking at Clavell's unusual background as a writer. Before Clavell became a full time writer, he had worked in the movie business where he scripted, directed an
d produced several famous films during the 50s and 60s. During this time, Clavell seemed to have successfully developed his talent in carefully constructing movie scenes that are skillfully developed so that the story would flow naturally from one scene
to the another. This is evident in Shogun where the story is led by a scene in each chapter that keeps on alluding to the next chapter, and the next and so on. Because of Clavell's skillfully crafted narrative in each chapter, it is no wonder that the r
eaders would want to keep reading the next chapter until the book is finished. Washington Post Book World's Bruce Cook stated, "Scene after scene is given, conversation after conversation reported, with the point not merely of advancing the narrative (wh
ich does somehow grind inexorably forward), but also of imparting to us the peculiar flavor of life in feudal Japan" (3).
One cannot forget the extraordinary amount of research Clavell had to go through in effort to produce the accurate world of Shogun. Many critics marveled at Clavell's ability to research. The New York Review of Books's D.J. Enright said of Shogun that
it "testifies to an immense amount of historical and cultural research, and in one aspect could be said to be a tourist guide to medieval Japan" (4). Even though Clavell did not see himself as a Japanese scholar, he acknowledged that he had to research e
verything about Japan from Zen Buddhism to eating utensils. In order to find about the Jesuits at the time of Shogun, Clavell also had to make several trips to Vatican (5). His efforts seemed to have paid off. Because of his attention to the smallest d
etails in his book, Clavell was able to transport the readers back into the time of 17th Century Japan and let them live through the story. Schott comments, "Clavell creates a world: people, customs, settings, needs and desires all become so enveloping t
hat you forget who and where you are" (6)
Another reason for Shogun's popularity may be for its highly exotic subject matter. Since the 1931 publication of Pearl Buck's The Good Earth, the first best selling novel about the Chinese culture by an American, none of the Western writers had attemp
ted to fully research and write about the Far Eastern culture in such a detail. Furthermore, during the 1970s, globalization was occurring in the business world where new technologies now enabled fast traveling and communication methods across the globe.
As Americans came in contact with more and more foreign cultures around the world, curiosity blossomed and American readers were more than ready to read a story about a foreign place with strange customs. A story about an adventure of an English sailor
who gets shipwrecked in medieval Japan came in for a perfect timing for American readers to satisfy their curiosities. From the above-mentioned review, New York Times Book Review's Schott offered further praise for Clavell: "James Clavell does more tha
n entertain. He transports us into worlds we've not known, stimulating, educating, questioning almost simultaneously" (4)
The growing interest in Japanese culture among the Americans can be no exception as a contributing factor for Shogun's success in the later years. With the advent of imported Japanese products such as cars and electronic equipment taking over the Americ
an market in the late 1970s, U.S. businesses were starting to have a hard time when competing with the Japanese companies. As a result, many layoffs occurred in several manufacturing sectors and many people began to put the blame on the Japanese. Meanwh
ile, many others who still had the image of Japan devastated in the aftermath of the Second World War wondered how the small island without any natural resources could have developed so rapidly to become one of the America's fiercest competitors. Busine
ss leaders who were anxious to successfully compete with the Japanese decided to send their executives to find out exactly what made the Japanese businesses advantageous over the American businesses. Most of those who came back from Japan reported that c
ertain Japanese business concepts and philosophies such as Just-In-Time inventory system were different and generally favorable in efficiently managing businesses. While Americans studied and tried to adopt the Japanese way of thinking and doing business
, interest in Japanese culture developed. By this time, Shogun was out in the market, ready to feed the hungry imagination of American audience. With the help of the book, an American version of the Japanese culture was instantaneously formed.
The NBC's airing of the Shogun's thirteen-hour miniseries in September 1980 gave another boost in its sales figure after five years from its initial publication. Directed and produced by the author, the miniseries not only helped in promoting the book
sales but it also was a spectacular success that had a tremendous impact in American culture. Newsweek reported that "[Shogun] rang up ratings second only to those of "Roots" with nearly 75 million people watching each episode." It also added that, "Th
e epic about medieval Japan also set off a wave of Shogun chic. Bars sold out their supplies of sake, boutiques reported runs on kimonos. Some Japanese restaurants quickly added Shogun specials to their menus, or turned over private dining rooms to Shogun
watching parties. Pop-cultural trendies began sprinkling their conversation with words like arigato (thank you) and wakarimasu (I understand)" (5). On the morning after the first episode, a San Francisco bookstore received orders for 1,000 copies of Sho
gun. With this anticipation in mind, Dell publishing company, which had sold 3.5 million copies of the paperback version of Shogun since 1976, published 3.1 million copies of a television tie-in edition beforehand (6).
In commenting what he wants his books to accomplish in the future, Clavell stated that, "? my concern is with the people who read my books for pleasure. Hopefully, I can give them pleasure; hopefully, I can entertain them; hopefully, I can pass on a litt
le information which I find interesting. And hopefully-perhaps-I can be a bridge between East and West" (7). Clavell exactly did that with his Shogun. With his best selling novel, Clavell entertained many readers with his remarkable narrative and passed
on lots of interesting information about the exotic world of Japan in 17th Century to those Americans who were unfamiliar with the Japanese culture. And his tremendous influence on the American popular culture, Clavell indeed became the bridge between th
e East and the West.
(1) Gorney, Cynthia. The Washington Post. February 4, 1979. (2) Schott, Webster. The New York Times Book Review. June 22, 1975. (3) Cook, Bruce. The Washington Post Book World. July 13, 1975. (4) Enright, D.J. The New York Review of Books. September 18, 1975. (5) Unger, Arthur. How Japanese can a Westerner Feel? The Christian Science Monitor. September 15, 1980. (6) Schott, Webster. Ibid. (7) Ibid. (8) Samurai Night Fever. Newsweek. September 29, 1980. p.51. (9) Walters, Ray. Paperback Talk. The New York Times. p. 43. (10) Teachout, Terry. James Clavell, Storyteller. National Review. November 12, 1982.
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