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Impact Guide: What you need to know about Shōgun (Shogun)

CO Staff Avatars - AJ

AJ on April 26, 2024

With season 1 of Shōgun completed, we now know what the strongest content in series is, so new viewers who will be watching the series can know what to expect before pressing play.

Our content guide provides more information about the NZ age rating, so you can make an informed decision about to watch and play, you can find our guides and other title’s classification information on our Find a Rating page.

This guide may contain spoilers.

What’s the NZ rating?

Major commercial streaming providers operating in New Zealand must display classification information for content on their services and platforms. These can be classifications as assessed by this office, ratings issued by the Film & Video Labelling Body, or the provider’s own self-rating. You can find out more about streaming labels and our classification labels on our website.

Shogun is self-rated by Disney+ “16” for violence, offensive language, and content that may disturb.

Read our full content guide for Shōgun (with no spoilers!)to find out why it was given this self-rating and what to expect before pressing play. Read on for a full breakdown of the most impactful content, and that may include spoilers.

What’s it about?

Shōgun (Shogun) is based on the 1975 novel by James Clavell, which was previously adapted into a 1980 miniseries. Set in Feudal Japan, Lord Toranaga is fighting for his life as his enemies on the Council of Regents unite against him to rule Japan. With conflict brewing, a mysterious European ship is found in a nearby fishing village, carrying guns and a man of unrelenting faith.

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What to expect?


  • The violence in the show is graphic and bloody. Characters are shot by arrows and cannons, strangled, punched, kicked and stabbed.
  • There are decapitations. These are very quick and little blood is shown.
  • There are many stabbings, and throats are slit. There are brief details of wounds.

[Episode 4, 52:38] Men and horses are killed by cannon fire that blows them apart. We see dramatic blood splatter. Some men survive, but we see their gored bodies with exposed entrails and bloody wounds. They are later slaughtered. One of them is killed off-screen. Brief blood splatter is shown. We later see the aftermath of the conflict: dismembered limbs and corpses are being cleaned up.

Content that may disturb

[Episode 1, 21:52] A baby dies offscreen. The baby is sentenced to death to end a character’s bloodline. Leading up to this, we see a mother threaten to take her own life to stop her baby from being taken away. This scene could be shocking for some viewers.

[Episode 1, 36:38] A man is boiled alive. He is briefly shown with severely burned/melted skin on his face, and his screams are heard in the background of other characters' scenes before he dies. The camera cuts to people covering their ears, or staring pensively out the window waiting, and talking about how the person who ordered this torture has a ‘thing’ for death – all while the screams of agony continue.

[Episode 1, 29:00] There is also a degrading scene where the main character's face is urinated on after he's kicked around by a group of men.

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Suicide and suicide themes

The series include scenes of seppuku. The show is set during Feudal Japan. Seppuku – where people literally fall on their sword to die with honour – happened during this period. Themes of seppuku are strongly reflected in the show.

  • [Episode 7, 4:02] There is a brief shot of a blade cutting a stomach during seppuku. Internal organs begin spilling from the wound. The scene ends right after he is beheaded. A similar scene happens later on which is more detailed.
  • [Episode 8, 48:32] A man commits seppuku after a falling out. He stabs a blade into his stomach. We see him drag it across himself, revealing internal organs and blood. Right after this, he is beheaded, and blood bursts out of his neck. We see his head cut off and roll on the floor. This scene is tense and emotional as bystanders are shocked and saddened.

[Episode 9, 58:10] A character sacrifices herself to protect people from deadly assassins. After successfully fleeing from assassins, a group of people barricade themselves in a shed. The assassins are then heard igniting a bomb on the other side of the door. She realises that the assassins are after just her (and will spare the others once she is dead), so she stands by the door, waiting for the explosion. We see the explosion happen and then and the scene ends.

A man shoots himself off-screen. We don’t see it, but we do hear the gunshot and characters talk about it.

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Sex scenes and nudity

The series includes some nudity and sex scenes. Most of the time, the nudity is obscured, including during sex scenes; we see movements and hear moans.

Other scenes with sexual content include:

  • A man grabs his penis as an insult to another man.
  • There are brief shots of butts.
  • A female character undresses, showing her bare breasts, before pleasuring a man.

Offensive language

There is moderate use of offensive language throughout the series. Characters often use it to express their emotions, during conversations, or to insult one another. "F***ing", "s**t", "ass", "b*stard", and "b**ch" are mentioned.

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