‘Shogun’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Nagakado Declare War Against Ishido?


The third episode of Shogun was centered around Toranaga’s escape to the fishing village of Ajiro after the assassination attempt on John. Given how adamant Kiyama was about killing off John, he launched an attack on the convoy led by Yabushige and Jozen (Ishido’s right-hand man). Toranaga, Mariko, Fuji, John, and the rest somehow made it to the docks and boarded a boat that took them to the Portuguese. Mariko’s husband, Buntaro, apparently bit the dust, but since his dead body wasn’t shown, it was impossible to say that he was dead. Captain Ferreira and Tsuji brokered a deal with Toranaga and helped him and his people get to Ajiro. Since the Portuguese were still loyal to the Christian Regents, they asked Toranaga to leave John behind so that he could be judged by them. Toranaga obliged, but John defied fate and reunited with Toranaga. While the Anjin and Toranaga strengthened their bond, Hiromatsu told the Regents that Toranaga had resigned from his post as a Regent, thereby thwarting Ishido’s attempt at impeaching him and then killing him. Let’s find out what else Toranaga plans to do.

Spoiler Alert

Fuji is John’s consort.

Shogun episode 4 begins with Kashigi Omi preparing Ajiro for Toranaga’s arrival. Mariko informs Fuji that she is supposed to be John’s consort, but since she is grieving the deaths of her husband and her infant, she refuses this title. Mariko says it’s not a permanent job. Toranaga is asking Fuji to be John’s consort for just one year. Fuji brings it down to six months, and Toranaga seemingly agrees with this renewed deal. Nagakado and Yabushige have a conversation about Kashigi, and Nagakado blurts out that Toranaga isn’t a regent anymore and that they’ve got to prepare themselves before Ishido finds a replacement for Toranaga. This puts Yabushige in alert mode, and he starts panicking. Hilariously enough, Yabushige suggests Toranaga should commit “seppuku” because he has backed himself into a corner with his resignation. Toranaga says that until and unless he gets an official order, he doesn’t need to take any drastic actions. Yabushige and Toranaga are given a grand welcome. However, Toranaga doesn’t stay in Ajiro (probably because of Nagakado’s warning about Yabushige’s allegiance) and assigns Nagakado the job of training the gun regiment before they face Ishido and his armies.

Back in Ajiro, John tries to search for his men and take a look at his ship, but he is prevented from doing so. Mariko informs him that his men are in Edo and that his guns (pistols) will be brought to him when it’s necessary. In addition to that, Mariko underscores the fact that John’s men and ship aren’t his anymore; both of them belong to Toranaga now. 

When John and Mariko reach the residence they’ve been assigned, John attaches “sama” to a man named Uejirou. But Mariko points out that that’s not how “sama” is used. I guess Uejirou is a servant or someone from a lower caste, which is why he can’t be treated like a high-ranking individual or an elder. The man is old, though, and John calling him Uejirou-sama just shows that he isn’t discriminatory even though he is British (pick up a history book to learn about the Brits’ discriminatory practices). When John learns about all the services that he will be able to avail of now that he is a “hatamoto,” he gets a little overwhelmed, and he points out that he is still a prisoner, albeit a sophisticated one. Yabushige laments about how his ties with Ishido are fading because he is serving Toranaga. Omi assures Yabushige that, one way or another, Toranaga is going to be impeached, and then all the guns and cannons acquired from John’s ship will be his. He can give that to Ishido and reforge his relationship with him.

Fuji Gives Her Father’s Swords To John

John expresses his displeasure regarding the task that Fuji is being forced to do. Mariko explains that it’s their way of keeping Fuji from falling into a depressive state because of her husband and her child’s deaths. Of course, it’s patriarchal and regressive in nature, and John calls that out. Mariko talks about the “Eightfold Fence” philosophy to illustrate the point that John is underestimating the Japanese’s way of dealing with their issues. I think she basically says that Fuji isn’t as fragile as he thinks she is. The following day, Omi asks John to surrender the weapons that he has in his possession. John obviously refuses to do so. Mariko asks him to stand down, and Fuji asks John to give his guns to her. When Omi tries to take it from her, Fuji points those guns at Omi and tells him to get the hell out of there, thereby proving the point that Mariko was trying to make earlier. Omi has no other option but to leave. 

Mariko and John then proceed to have a meeting with Yabushige, Nagakado, Omi, and the rest of Yabushige’s men regarding a demonstration of John’s “Christian weapons.” John starts telling tall tales to hype up the destructive nature of those weapons, but Mariko tells him to be a little pragmatic about it. So, John opts for a practical demo and shows how effective the cannon can be. Yabushige is visibly impressed by it, thereby putting John in his good books. A montage shows John helping Yabushige’s men master the cannon, the whole village getting jumpscared by the sounds of the cannons, and Mariko looking at John’s notes. Mariko has a conversation about it with John in order to remind him that just because he considers the Portuguese to be his enemy, he won’t be able to turn Toranaga and the Japanese against them because of their trade ties. Their dialogue is interrupted by a “baby earthquake,” and Mariko uses that as a metaphor to talk about the fragility of life in Japan. However, she states that the Japanese don’t see this fragility as a sign of weakness; they reorganize and move on. 

Kiku pushes Omi to become the lord of Ajiro. To make things more complicated, Ishido’s men, led by Jozen, arrive in Ajiro to tell Yabushige to come to Osaka and reforge his alliance with Ishido. Yabushige advises Jozen to stay in Ajiro for a demonstration of John’s weapons, which he plans to give to Ishido once Toranaga has been pushed out of the proverbial picture. Jozen agrees to do so. Since Nagakado opposes this idea, Yabushige tells him that he wants to show the weapons to Jozen so that it scares him, and he goes back to Osaka and tells Ishido to stand down. That said, Yabushige is still apprehensive about going to Osaka to meet Ishido because he thinks he’ll be killed for either betraying Ishido or for acting against Toranaga. Omi says that he has a solution in his pocket.

Did Nagakado Declare War Against Ishido?

There’s a sweet dinner scene with John, Mariko, and Fuji where John apologizes to Fuji for mistreating her. He gives away her guns to Fuji to win her trust. In return, Fuji gives her father’s swords to John because, as a “hatamoto,” he should have swords in his possession. John hesitantly accepts them and then proceeds to eat fermented beans to show that he is incorporating various aspects of Japanese culture into his personal diet. 

In stark contrast to this conversation, we see Omi and Nagakado having a pretty disturbing discussion about Toranaga’s passive and subtle tactics and how he undermines Nagakado’s potential. Ultimately, Omi convinces Nagakado to do something drastic so that everyone takes him seriously. Before the storm, we get a quaint scene with Mariko and John as they talk about Mariko’s past. She talks about a great injustice befalling her family, thereby causing her to essentially become an outcast. It’s not clear what it is, but apparently Toranaga has given Mariko a chance at redeeming herself or resolving this particular conflict in her life. However, she doesn’t go into specifics and instead asks John to talk about London and what he’d do if he were given the chance to take Mariko on a tour of the city. And, of course, it ends with Mariko “pillowing” John. 

At the end of Shogun, episode 4, we see John, Mariko, Nagakado, Yabushige, Jozen, Omi, Ishido’s men, and Yabushige’s men attending a cannon-firing practice session. Things seem pretty normal, but Nagakado goes off-script, turns the cannons in Jozen and his men’s direction, and blows them to smithereens (the gore effects in this scene are quite good, albeit in a horrifying way). Yabushige pretends that he doesn’t know what is going on and announces very loudly that Nagakado’s act of provocation is going to begin a war with Ishido. He knows that that statement will spread like wildfire and put all the blame on Toranaga and Nagakado, thereby forcing Ishido to find and kill Toranaga. If Toranaga is busy with Ishido, then he won’t have the luxury to think about Yabushige’s betrayal and Yabushige will get to join Ishido without any hiccups. Toranaga will certainly be disappointed with Nagakado’s actions. There’s also a chance that Toranaga anticipated this, and it’s all part of his plan to weed out the traitors and then act accordingly. If not, he’ll probably command Nagakado to commit “seppuku” for dishonoring him. Either way, Yabushige has taken a huge gamble, and we have to wait till the next episode arrives to see if things actually pan out the way he wants them to or not.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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