New Shogun TV Adaptation: Why Fetishizing Japanese Culture is Not a Bad Thing

New Shogun TV Adaptation: Why Fetishizing Japanese Culture is Not a Bad Thing:

I will approach the new Shogun only with hope. I hope we will get a damn fine adventure yarn, preferably one featuring daring men and beautiful ladies, but also strong women and handsome gents. Television is a visual medium, after all. And if we don’t like what we see, we can still turn it off.

(Via Tokyo Weekender)

Having recently read and thoroughly enjoyed the book while barely remembering watching the original TV miniseries, I  hold out hope for this as well.

This does not bode well, though:

Earlier in August, John Landgraf, CEO of American television network FX, felt the need to let the world know that the upcoming new TV adaptation of James Clavell’s 1975 novel Shogun will not “fetishize” Japanese culture. He also pointed out that among all available gazes the male and Western varieties will be kept to a minimum.

Mr. Landgraf’s anticipatory defense against crimes not yet committed was not entirely unmotivated. Journalists had already been musing and inquiring about how offensive exactly FX was planning to make the new Shogun, so they could plan their level of outrage well in advance (the project has yet to move past the casting stage).

We Westerners worry too much about this in many quarters and too little in others. How about creators worry about telling a compelling story with well developed characters acting upon believable motives we discover organically.

It’s a “fish out of water” story of hundreds of years ago. Embrace it. Don’t run from it.

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