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SHOGUN: Blackthorne & Mariko in West Vancouver’s Whytecliff Park

Baby earthquake.

English John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) and Lady Mariko (Anna Sawai) deepen their intimacy after a small earthquake on the rocky shore of Ajiro in episode 4 of FX’s Shōgun series.

The Ajiro shore is played by West Vancouver’s Whytecliff Park. You can see the wealthy homes hanging off the cliffs in a wider shot of the park.:

Blackthorne feels the ground shake.

“It’s why our houses are built to go up as quickly as they come down. Because death is in our air and sea and earth. It can come for us at any moment,” Mariko tells Blackthorne.

Adapted from James Clavell’s bestselling 1975 novel, Shōgun charts the collision of two ambitious men from different worlds and a mysterious female samurai.

Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Toranaga, ,Cosmo Jarvis as English pilot John Blackthorne and Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko.

At the beginning of episode 4, Lord Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) leaves the English pilot and his translator in Ajiro for six months to train Yabushige (Tadanobu Asano)’s army to use cannons.

“I’m a bloody prisoner all over again” — Blackthorne says about his new role as Hatamoto aka Toranaga’s military adviser.

The upgrade does come with a house and a consort Fuji which Blackthorne finds confusing, especially since Mariko’s living in the house, too.

Blackthorne’s house and the whole upper village of Ajiro were built in a RV parking lot at the Swiss Canadian Mountain Range Association Gun Club in Coquitlam.

The Blackthorne house was built [at the Swiss Gun Club] along with all the other houses in the [upper] village. And over the course of the 10 episodes we shot it like crazy. So.that was a practical. house. It wasn’t on the sound stage We were at the mercy of the elements in filming that house so we had snow, we had rain, we had heat, we had cold, we had every possible iteration. I believe when I watch the show now that plays a huge role in creating a real sense of character for that house. — episode 4 director Fred Toye about Helen Jarvis’s production design on the official Shogun podcast.

Blackthorne’s kindness to Fuji impresses Mariko and one night Mariko finds Blackthorne enjoying the local hot spring — “I am happy to see you have changed your mind about bathing.”

She doesn’t join him but they have a back-to-back conversation which is more intimate in some ways. Blackthorne tells her what they would do if they were together in London — he would present her to Queen Elizabeth I, take her to a play and then a long walk along the Thames River.

Some time later, Mariko comes to pillow with Blackthorne.

But the next day she pretends it was a courtesan because their new intimacy could get them killed

Next up is episode 5: Broken to the Fist.

Blackthorne and Mariko struggle to contain the secret that could get them both killed. Yabushige searches for the spy who has betrayed his intentions to Lord Toranaga.


BC filming dates:: September 22 2021 – June 30 2022.

Episodes: 10.

Created by: Rachel Kondo, Justin Marks.

Showrunners: Justin Marks.

Cast: Hiroyuki Sanada, Cosmo Jarvis, Anna Sawai,.Tadanobu Asano, Fumi Nikaido, Tokuma Nishioka, Takehiro Hira, Ako, Yasunari Takeshima, Hiroto Kanai, Toshi Toda, Hiro Kanagawa, Nestor Carbonell, Yuki Kura, Tommy Bastow, Moeka Hoshi, Yoriko Doguchi, Yuka Kouri

Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Yoshi Toranaga, Cosmo Jarvis as Pilot Major John Blackthorne, Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko, Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabu, Fumi Nikaido as Ochiba No Kata (Lady Ochiba), Tokuma Nishioka as Toda Hiromatsu, Takehiro Hira as Ishido Kazunari, Ako as Daiyoin Lady Iyo, Yasunari Takeshima as Mura, Hiroto Kanai as Kashigi Omi, Toshi Toda as Sugiyama, Hiro Kanagawa as Igurashi, Néstor Carbonell as Vasco Rodrigues, Yuki Kura as Yoshi Nagakado, Tommy Bastow as Father Martin Alvito, Moeka Hoshi as Usami Fuji, Yoriko Dōguchi as Kiri No Kata, Yuka Kouri as Kiku, Yuki Kedoin as Takemaru, Mako Fujimoto as Shizu No Kata.

Soundstages: Mammoth Studios in Burnaby.

Producers: Justin Marks, Rachel Kondo, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, Michael De Luca, James Clavell’s daughter Michaela Clavell, Tim Van Patten, Hiroyuki Sanada.

Shōgun series airs on FX and streams on Hulu/Disney+.

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