22 Best ‘Shōgun’ Quotes Every Fan Needs To Know

Not Just Season 2, a Third Season of 'Shōgun' Is Reportedly in the Works at FX!

Diving into ‘Shōgun‘ by James Clavell, we’re not just exploring the depths of a captivating novel but also the rich narrative of its FX’s TV adaptation. These stories don’t just unfold, they pull us into a realm where wisdom, power, and the raw essence of human experience interlace. Whether it’s through the pages of Clavell’s masterpiece or the vivid scenes of the show, each quote we’re about to share is a piece of the puzzle, a moment of truth spoken by characters who feel as real as their words. Let’s embrace these gems that echo the spirit of ‘Shōgun’, from both the ink and the screen.

1. ‘To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world.’ – Narrator

This line reminds us of the ease with which we can slip into negativity and the effort required to maintain a positive outlook.

2. ‘Only by living at the edge of death can you understand the indescribable joy of life.’ – John Blackthorne

John Blackthorne reflects on how close encounters with death can deepen our appreciation for life’s beauty.

3. ‘Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.’ – Matsuo Basho

Through Matsuo Basho, Clavell expresses the idea that finding contentment in our daily lives is what truly matters.

4. ‘There are no “good” or “bad” people. The world is about power.’ – Toranaga

Toranaga challenges the simplistic notion of morality, pointing out the complexity of human actions driven by power dynamics.

5. ‘Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.’ – Narrator

This quote draws a line between the accumulation of facts and the deeper understanding that comes from letting go.

6. ‘The strongest steel is forged by the fires of hell.’ – Narrator

Here, we’re reminded that our greatest strengths are often the product of our toughest challenges.

7. ‘All life is a struggle.’ – Toranaga

Toranaga sums up the universal nature of struggle in life, highlighting its inevitable and ongoing nature.

8. ‘A man who desires revenge should dig two graves.’ – Confucius

This ancient wisdom, cited in the story, warns of the self-destructive nature of seeking vengeance.

9. ‘Pain is the only true teacher.’ – Narrator

The narrative acknowledges that our most significant growth often stems from our most painful experiences.

10. ‘The universe is not fair and it is never going to be fair.’ – Narrator

This quote is a stark reminder to accept the inherent unfairness of life as a fundamental truth.

11. ‘Respect is not fear and awe; it is the ability to see a person as they are.’ – Mariko

Mariko offers a profound definition of respect that transcends fear and admiration, advocating for genuine recognition of others.


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12. ‘Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you.’ – Narrator

This philosophical musing encourages us to see our lives as part of a larger narrative, minimizing the finality of death.

13. ‘A wise man treats a stranger as his own brother until he proves otherwise.’ – Toranaga

Toranaga teaches us the value of kindness and openness to others, reserving judgment until one’s true nature is revealed.

14. ‘The art of war is deception.’ – Sun Tzu

Quoting Sun Tzu, this line underscores the strategic importance of misdirection and surprise in conflict.

15. ‘Fear is a contagion that spreads quickly.’ – Toranaga

Toranaga warns of fear’s rapid spread and its potential to influence and control people en masse.

16. ‘Patience is the companion of wisdom.’ – Narrator

This quote reminds us that true wisdom often requires the ability to wait and act at the opportune moment.

17. ‘In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but by perseverance.’ – Narrator

This metaphor highlights the power of persistence over brute force in overcoming obstacles.

18. ‘To understand the nature of the people, one must be a prince, and to understand the nature of the prince, one must be of the people.’ – Narrator

This quote speaks to the necessity of empathy and perspective-taking in leadership and understanding.

19. ‘He who seeks to control fate shall never find peace.’ – Toranaga

Toranaga advises against the futile attempt to control the uncontrollable, suggesting that peace comes from acceptance.

20. ‘The wheel of life has many spokes yet turns the same for all.’ – Narrator

This line reflects on life’s universal experiences, shared by all despite our differences.

21. ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.’ – John Blackthorne

John Blackthorne defines courage as the ability to face and overcome one’s fears, rather than not feeling fear at all.

22. ‘The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.’ – Narrator

This quote warns that believing we know everything can be more dangerous than knowing nothing, as it closes the mind to learning.

Have a quote to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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