Shogun Ending Explained: Does Toranaga Become the Shogun?

In Short
  • Ishido's demise was sealed with the death of Lady Mariko when both Lady Ochiba and the Council of Regents severed their allegiance with him.
  • The Battle of Sekigahara was won by Toranaga before it even began because Lady Ochiba pledged allegiance to him and the Council of Regents' betrayal against Ishido.
  •  Toranaga secretly aimed to become the Shogun all along and yearned for "a nation without conflicts and an era of great peace."

All good things come to an end, and today, the grand finale of the current TV sensation, Shogun aired on Hulu and FX. The final chapter of Toranaga’s grand scheme to seize power and vanquish his opponents was revealed in Episode 10. But a lot was going on here, and some significant events contributed to and prepared the way for Lord Toranaga to succeed as the Shogun in the TV series. So, here is a breakdown of the ending of Shogun’s legendary finale to help you discover all the details you might have missed.

The Reign of Toranaga as the Shogun Begins

Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Toranaga in Shogun
Image Courtesy: Shogun by FX (IMDb)

Yabushige Commits Seppuku

Yabushige being an accomplice in Lady Mariko’s death was easily found out by Toranaga, thanks to the spies. As a result, Yabushige was ordered to commit seppuku and the former asked Anjin aka Blackthorne to be the kaishakunin (the person appointed to behead the person who has performed seppuku). But as Toranaga refused the request, Yabushige once again requested his liege himself to become the second, which he accepted.

On the day of his death, Yabushige lamented about how he wouldn’t be able to see his lord’s master plan to cheat the inescapable fate. At this point, despite his prior declarations that he had no desire for the throne, Toranaga began to reveal the full truth behind his actions and his ultimate goal of becoming the Shogun. He had been as ambitious as the other agents but had a different goal for Japan after overthrowing the current council.

Yabushige: How does it feel to shape the wind to your will?Toranaga: I don’t control the wind. I only study it.

Yoshii Toranaga’s Masterplan

Toranaga, the mastermind, perfected the art of analyzing the situation and making the best out of his loyal pawns. Throughout the series, he effectively cheated death in this manner and his faithful vassals played their parts rightly as well.

By executing a twisted version of Crimson Red Sky with Lady Mariko, her death in episode 9 sent waves across the capital, as expected by Toranaga. Ishido made a blatant mistake by eliminating Mariko which led to a discord between the Council of Regents and Lady Ochiba who were on his side. Thus, Lady Mariko’s death was the final nail in the coffin of Ishido’s downfall.

Lady Ochiba deeply regretted her decision to take sides with Ishido after witnessing the fate of her best friend Mariko. This was when she decided to switch her and the heir’s loyalty to Toranaga and cut ties with Ishido.

As a result, on the day of the Battle of Sekigahara between Toranaga and Ishido’s forces, Ochiba confirmed the heir’s army won’t be present. With the heir’s forces teaming up with Toranaga and the Council of Regents confirmed to turn against Ishido, our protagonist had smartly won the war before it even started. During the brief flash forward montage, it was intended that Ishido would be killed during this battle. And with no one standing in his way, Toranaga expressed he would become the Shogun ultimately.

Fun Fact: According to the 1975 novel by James Clavell, Ishido died three days later as a result of Toranaga’s decision to bury him with his head left exposed following the Battle of Sekigahara. The TV show never demonstrated this or even hinted that it might occur in future.

Toranaga’s Main Goal – A Nation Without Wars

Additionally, Yoshii Toranaga spoke with Yabushige about the ultimate aims he had in mind for Japan. Starting from Edo, he wished for “a nation without wars and an era of great peace” after what the entire nation had gone through. Furthermore, he emphasized that all of his companions such as Blackthorne, Lady Mariko, even Yabushige, and many others made this dream become a reality.

If you win, anything is possible – Yoshii Toranaga

When Yabushige questioned Toranaga about his desire to become the Shogun as the rest of them aimed to be, he just smirked and carried out the duty as a second to chop off the head of the former.

In the final moments of the show, Toranaga looked up to the sky and appeared to chase his dreams after the great battle. That’s everything you need to know about the ending of the Shogun TV Show on FX. The ending blew me away completely as I was expecting a completely action-packed ending with the war and all. Let us know your thoughts on Shogun’s ending in the comments below.

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