2 key characters emerge from the shadows in Shōgun Episode 4

Two interesting characters from James Clavell's book start to come into their own in the newest episode Shōgun. What roles do they play in this story?
“SHOGUN” -- "The Eightfold Fence" -- Episode 4 (Airs March 12) Pictured:Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne,
Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko,
Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige, Hiroto Kanai as Kashigi Omi.
 CR: Katie Yu/FX
“SHOGUN” -- "The Eightfold Fence" -- Episode 4 (Airs March 12) Pictured:Cosmo Jarvis as John Blackthorne, Anna Sawai as Toda Mariko, Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige, Hiroto Kanai as Kashigi Omi. CR: Katie Yu/FX /

The FX/Hulu production of Shōgun continues to shine in Episode 4, as the showrunners eliminate many of the problems the book presented and keep the best parts of the storylines intact.

During Episode 4, "The Eightfold Fence," two characters previously introduced in earlier episodes return to take on bigger roles in the show. Let's talk about them.

Omi and Fuji take on bigger roles in Shōgun Episode 4

Kashigo Omi (Hiroto Kanai) was first introduced in Episode 1. He oversees the village on Anjiro, where the Erasmus comes to rest in Japan. Omi is also Kashigi Yabushige's (Tadanobu Asano) nephew and liegeman.

When we first meet Omi, he has thrown John Blackthorne (Cosmo Jarvis) and his men in a pit. When Blackthorne is pulled out, the English pilot fights his captors and Omi heartlessly urinates on Blackthorne. In Episode 4, Blackthorne has not forgotten this grave insult.

Lord Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) orders Blackthorne to train Yabushige's men in the use of guns and cannons as well as military tactics. Toranaga wants it done in Anjiro, away from prying eyes.

Omi's character is starting to get fleshed out. While he is often teased by his uncle and Yabushige's cronies for being so young, Omi is smart and ambitious. He sees a broader picture than his uncle, and has more of a political mind.

Omi does have one weakness, however: he is in love with the beautiful courtesan Kiku (Yuka Kouri), who also understands the politics of her country. She offers wise advice and encouragement to Omi, but it remains to be seen if she has his best interests at heart.

“SHOGUN” -- "The Eightfold Fence" -- Episode 4 (Airs March 12) Pictured: Moeka Hoshi as Usami Fuji. CR: Katie Yu/FX /

The sad life of Usami Fuji

Meanwhile, Usami Fuji (Moeka Hoshi) is one of the more tragic characters Shōgun has to offer. Earlier in the series, she lost both her husband and her child when her husband insults their host Lord Ishido and her family is put to death.

Though grieving, Lord Toranaga demands that Fuji serve as Blackthorne's consort for a year. This assignment is repugnant to Fuji in every way possible. She only wants to be released from her grief. She agrees to to as Lord Toranaga asks for six months, then Toranaga must set her free from this obligation.

A consort has many duties in feudal Japan, including keeping their lord's household, managing his finances, being an advisor, and even being a conjugal partner, if so desired. Fuji is offended by Blackthorne's very presence, but she must obey her liege lord and perform these duties to the best of her ability.

In Episode 4, Blackthorne is declared hatamoto by Toranaga for saving the latter's life in Osaka. This is also a way for Toranaga to keep his own vassals, Omi and Yabushiga, off guard and uncomfortable. A hatamoto is considered a type of guardian to their liege. It is a shocking move by Toranaga to honor a gaijin (foreigner) like Blackthorne in such a way.

When Blackthorne reports for duty armed with two pistols, Omi demands he give them up. Blackthorne refuses, sparks fly, and the pilot ends up pointing both guns at Omi while warriors bare steel all around them. Fuji steps in and defuses the situation by telling Blackthorne to give her the guns and she will protect them with her life.

He gives them up, and when Omi tries to take them from her, she points one at him and threatens to shoot him. Omi knows she is in the right, as Blackthorne's consort, so he backs down.

Later, Blackthorne apologizes to Fuji for his treatment of her earlier, as he is uncomfortable with the idea of a consort. He gives her one of his guns as thanks for her intervention with Omi. Again, Fuji is offended by the gift, but Mariko tells her he is only trying to be kind. Fuji accepts the gift, and in return gives Blackthorne her father's swords, a great show of respect.

Though Fuji hates the Englishman, she knows her duty is to help him assimilate in his new world. As hatamoto, he has the right to be armed, and in Japanese society, that means swords. Despite her reservations about her assignment, she knows her duty and does it well.

Both Omi and Fuji have roles to fulfil as the story unfolds, and Episode 4 does a great job of bringing them to the forefront of the story.

Shōgun reviews:

Shogun. If you like Shōgun, read these other great historical novels by James Clavell. dark. Next

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Get HBO, Starz, Showtime and MORE for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels