Shōgun offers more than just a visual feast; its beautiful sights carry character, history, and meaning. Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks’ FX miniseries is, by and large, about power struggles. One of the most striking displays of power comes from Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada), whose costumes alone always express power.

Costume designer Carlos Rosario (Alien: Romulus) and his global team created 2,300 costumes for the epic series. For Toranaga, Rosario aimed to express strength through change. “The most important thing for Toranaga was to ensure he looked as powerful as possible,” Rosario told Immersive. “In the first episode, he is the only character that changes costumes in every single scene, which was actually my concept from the beginning. Everybody was asking, ‘We just started; there’s so much work to do. Why complicate your life?’ But I felt it was important to create a unique outfit for Toranaga in every single scene.”

However, none of the other characters change costumes in the pilot.

As Rosario notes, there’s practicality in these costume changes. Different environments call for different costumes, but on a character and thematic level, the changes suit the unpredictable Toranaga. He’s always adapting and evolving. “It was my way to show how wealthy and powerful he was,” the costume designer added. “And so, that was the approach to creating his looks, and by extension, his elaborate armor, which needed to surpass all others in intricacy. We dedicated significant time to the details in his armor, from the iron pieces on the sleeves to the helmets. We ensured his crest was prominently displayed everywhere on his armor. But most importantly, these pieces define his power and wealth.”

Shōgun is now available to stream on Hulu.

Staff Writers

The team at Immersive Media.