Skip to Content

Shōgun Cast and Characters Ages, Heights & Previous Roles

Shōgun Cast and Characters Ages, Heights & Previous Roles

This post may contain affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More

FX Just released what many fans consider the grandest historical drama of the decade with Shogun. Inspired by the novel by James Clavell, the story follows an English sailor in 1600s Japan.

Filled with political intrigue and lavish costume designs, Shogun is a visual treat. Of course, that would mean nothing without solid performers to back it up. That’s why the ensemble cast of Shogun has taken the world by storm.

Shogun is a drama from another time, featuring a select cast of some of the best Japanese actors of the modern age. While their characters are fictitious, they’re based on real-life people who lived around the same time.

We’ve compiled a list of the main players in Shogun. The list includes their heights and their ages. We’re using the real-life people they’re based on for their birthdays as reference, as Clavell used them in his book. As for their ages, we’ll consider how old the characters were in 1600 when Blackthorne landed in Japan. Without further ado, let’s dig in!

Hiroyuki Sanada as Yoshii Toranaga

Actor Hiroyuki Sanada and his character Yoshii Toranaga in Shogun
Credit (left): DFree / Shutterstock.com
Hiroyuki SanadaYoshii Toranaga
Age (S1):6357
Birthday:October 12, 1960January 31, 1543
Nationality:JapaneseJapanese
Height:5′ 7″ (170cm)5′ 7″ (170cm)

One of the most prolific modern Japanese actors, Hiroyuki Sanada inherited Toshiro Mifune’s stoic looks and knack for playing samurai on the silver screen. You might have seen Sanada in films like the new Mortal Kombat, Bullet Train, and John Wick: Chapter 4.

Standing at 5′ 7″, Sanada is just a bit shorter than other Japanese actors like Ken Watanabe. Still, his passionate acting chops give life to Lord Yoshii Toranaga with a gravitas that’s impossible to match.

Based on Tokugawa Ieyasu, Toranaga is the emotional center of Shogun. As a feared warlord, Toranaga had to balance power with honor, at a time when Japan was becoming unrecognizable for the old shogun.

Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne

Actor Cosmo Jarvis (left) and his character in Shogun, John Blackthorne (right)
Credit (left): Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com
Cosmo JarvisJohn Blackthorne
Age (S1):3436
Birthday:September 1, 1989September 24, 1564
Nationality:British (Born in America)English
Height:5′ 10″ (178cm)5′ 10″ (178cm)

Whether it’s on stage or the silver screen, Cosmo Jarvis is always ready for a challenge. After his debut in The Naughty Room, Jarvis moved on to roles on TV and films, most notably in the 2018 Netflix sci-fi drama Annihilation.

He’s 5′ 10″, which is around the same height as William Adams. Adams is the real-life inspiration for John Blackthorne, an English pilot who arrives in Japan in 1600 and befriends Toranaga.

In his mid-30s, Blackthorne was the first Englishman to visit Japan. His love for the culture gained him notoriety with the shogun of the time. Eventually, he becomes an integral part of the ongoing power struggle and paves the way for future endeavors between England and Japan.

Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko

Actress Anna Sawai (left) and her character in Shogun, Toda Mariko (right)
Credit (left): Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com
Anna SawaiToda Mariko
Age (S1):3137
Birthday:June 11, 19921563
Nationality:New Zealand-JapaneseJapanese
Height:5′ 10″ (178cm)5′ 10″ (178cm)

Born in New Zealand and raised by her Japanese parents, Anna Sawai has always been closely related to Japanese culture. By age 10, she was living in Yokohama with her family.

Sawai is primarily a singer, dedicated to Pop and R&B music. However, she’s starred in some notable projects over the years. She played Kiriko in 2009’s Ninja Assassin, and, more recently, she embodies Cate Randa in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.

In Shogun, she plays Toda Mariko. A translator with a shady past, this noblewoman plays a pivotal role in the Battle of Sekigahara. Based on a real-life aristocrat named Hosokawa Gracia, she would eventually be baptized in the Christian faith.

Tokuma Nishioka as Toda Hiromatsu

Actor Tokuma Nishioka (left) and his character in Shogun, Toda Hiromatsu (right)
Credit (left): Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com
Tokuma NishiokaToda Hiromatsu
Age (S1):7766
Birthday:October 5, 1946June 3, 1534
Nationality:JapaneseJapanese
Height:5′ 7″ (175cm)5′ 7″ (175cm)

A legend of Japanese cinema, Tokuma Nishioka has been active since 1983. At 77 years old, Nishioka is one of the most veteran members of the Shogun cast. While he rarely appears in projects outside of Japan, you might have heard his voice in the anime movie To Every You I’ve Loved Before, or seen him in films like Call Boy.

Curiously, he also appeared in the 2017 epic Sekigahara, where he plays Toshiie Maeda. However, in Shogun, his character is based on another notable figure of the Battle of Sekigahara, Hosokawa Fujitaka. In the series, he’s known as Toda Hiromatsu, the Iron Fist.

A battle-weary general, Hiromatsu is a venerable figure in the world of Shogun. His beloved granddaughter, Fuji, also plays a role in the ongoing conflict. Nishioka imbues the character with a wiseness and character that befits the hardened general.

Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige

Actor Tadanobu Asano (left) and his character in Shogun, Kashigi Yabushige (right)
Credit (left): Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com
Tadanobu AsanoKashigi Yabushige
Age (S1):5050
Birthday:November 27, 19731550 (Est.)
Nationality:JapaneseJapanese
Height:5′ 10″ (178cm)5′ 10″ (178cm)

From historical dramas to high-concept cult classics, Tadanobu Asano is as versatile as an actor can be. He recently played Lord Raiden in the latest live-action Mortal Kombat release. Before that, he played Hogun of The Warriors Three in every Thor movie. That’s just a sample of his mainstream work, however, as Asano has been in over thirty Japanese roles in films and TV since 1990.

Asano plays Kashigi Yabushige, one of the few characters in Shogun without a clear real-life equivalent. In the series, Yabushige is the Lord of Izu. Loyal to Toranaga but seeking an alternative, he forms an unlikely alliance with Blackthorne.

Since Yabushige is not based on a real person, calculating his age gets a bit tricky. For that, we believe it’s best to think he’s the same age as Asano. This means Yabushige was likely born in or around 1550, around the time of the first Jesuit mission to Japan.

Fumi Nikaido as Ochiba

Actress Fumi Nikaido (left) and the character she plays in Shogun, Lady Ochiba (right)
Credit (left): andersphoto / Shutterstock.com
Fumi NikaidoOchiba
Age (S1):2931
Birthday:September 29, 1994June 4, 1615
Nationality:JapaneseJapanese
Height:5′ 2″ (157cm)5′ 2″ (157cm)

Fashion icon Fumi Nikaido plays the part of Ochiba, one of the most powerful women in Japan according to Shogun. A model before she was an actress, Nikaido is renowned for her acting chops and stunning good looks.

Nikaido features more prominently in Japanese cinemas. You might have seen her play the part of Shion Watanabe in the live-action version of Inuyashiki, or perhaps as Tomie Yamazaki in 2019’s No Longer Human.

Outside Japan, Shogun is Nikaido’s first major role. She plays Lady Ochiba – an enigmatic woman who’s both feared and revered throughout the land. As the mother of the Royal Heir, she has the responsibility of raising the next generation of Japan’s regents.

Ochiba’s inspiration was Yodo-dono, the niece of Oda Nobunaga. In the series, however, Ochiba is the daughter of Kuroda – Shogun‘s version of Nobunaga.

Tommy Bastow as Martin Alvito

Actor Tommy Bastow (left) and Martin Alvito (right), the character he plays in Shogun
Credit (left): Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com
Tommy BastowMartin Alvito
Age (S1):3239
Birthday:August 26, 19911561
Nationality:EnglishPortuguese
Height:6′ 1″ (185cm)6′ 1″ (185cm)

English actor Tommy Bastow plays Father Martin Alvito, another outlander in Shogun‘s Japan. Born in Surrey, Bastow has been in a good number of TV shows over the years, including The Crossing and Man in An Orange Shirt.

At 6′ 1″, Bastow plays one of the tallest Jesuit monks in history with his version of Father Alvito. Devout above everything else, Alvito is at odds with some other Jesuits who search fortune over piety.

Based on João Rodrigues, Alvito represents the Christian faith in Japan. At least, the good part of it. Curiously, little is known about Rodrigues’ birth date. Some sources say he was born in 1561, while others cite 1562. Either way, by the time of Shogun‘s story, Alvito would’ve been in his late 30s.

Takehiro Hira as Ishido Kazunari

Actor Takehiro Hira (left) and the character he plays in Shogun, Ishido Kazunari (right)
Credit (left): Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com
Takehiro HiraIshido Kazunari
Age (S1):4941
Birthday:July 27, 19741559
Nationality:JapaneseJapanese
Height:6′ 0″ (183cm)6′ 0″ (183cm)

Japanese theater and film veteran Takehiro Hira has the honor of playing the devious Ishido Kazunari in Shogun. Hira studied abroad in America through most of his adolescence but kept his Japanese roots close all the time.

His first film was 2006’s Memories of Tomorrow, where he worked alongside Ken Watanabe. In 2020, he starred in his first American film, Lost Girls & Love Hotels. In 2023, he achieved mainstream stardom by playing Kazunori Yamauchi in the Gran Turismo film.

In the series, Hira plays Ishido Kazunari. A self-made warlord and Toranaga’s sworn rival in the Council of Regents. He’s also the protector of Osaka Castle, further cementing his military might. Kazunari’s based on Ishida Mitsunari. A legendary samurai of Sengoku-era Japan, Mitsunari was a commander during the Battle of Sekigahara. We know from historical documents he was born in 1559. However, some parts of his life are shrouded in legends, making it difficult to tell between myth and fact in the life of Ishida Mitsunari