'I’m Choosing This For Myself:' Shōgun’s Anna Sawai Breaks Down Lady Mariko’s Harrowing Final Decision, And How It’s Almost A Sense Of 'Closure'

 Anna Sawai in Shogun.
Anna Sawai in Shogun.
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Warning: spoilers ahead for the finale of FX's Shōgun.

Shōgun has genuinely taken the world by storm, and Anna Sawai's character of Mariko makes a choice in the limited series that changes the course of the finale, which the actress talked to us about.

Since its premiere, Shōgun has been a massive hit with critics and audiences alike. One character that has received plenty of attention is Lady Mariko, played by Anna Sawai. In the second-to-last episode, she stands in front of a door rigged with explosives to escape shinobi, otherwise known as ninjas. We see the confirmation in the finale that Mariko sacrificed herself for not only Blackthorne but Toranaga's consorts.

I got the chance to speak to Anna Sawai about this final moment of Mariko's life in Shōgun, the reasoning as to why, after everything, she decided to go out this way, and what was going through her mind. Sawai says that it's almost a sense of "closure" for the young woman and that this way, she is choosing this death for herself:

I think that was closure. I think she was feeling like she was finally able to answer to her father's wishes, and even though it is bittersweet saying goodbye, knowing that she wouldn't see the people in that room anymore, it was like, 'I'm fulfilling my purpose and this is my destiny, and I'm choosing this for myself.' So I think that's her statement.

With everything from the worldbuilding of authentic feudal Japan to the true stories behind the characters, like Hiroyuki Sanada's inspiration for Toranaga, the show has only grown in popularity, but Lady Mariko became my favorite out of all the many faces we met.

Mariko faced various storylines and challenges throughout the miniseries. We could talk about her forbidden love with John Blackthorne and how they ultimately give into their feelings in the ninth episode. We could bring up how well she faces her enemies, or that second-to-last fight scene that she is amazing in and Sawai herself said it was her favorite.

The character truly did everything to try and bring honor to her name despite her past, and this last moment was something that I don't think she just wanted to do – she needed it as her final goodbye. It was a way for her to draw closure on her own life and the people around her.

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Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai
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Even with that tragic ending for her, I think it's beautiful in a certain way. Right now, plenty of people are wondering if Shōgun could get a Season 2, and I don't want that to happen because this show is perfect just the way it is. If you're looking for something else like it, check out the many other shows like Shōgun.

But if for some reason a Shōgun Season 2 does happen, I'll be sad because there's no way I'll ever see Lady Mariko again. Within ten episodes, Lady Mariko has become one of my favorite female characters in TV ever, with a complex backstory – and it would be hard to top how she went out: with dignity and honor for herself.

I'm sure Shōgun book fans everywhere were quite happy with this adaptation, but if you still need to catch up with the series, all ten episodes of Shōgun are available to stream on Hulu right now. Trust me, you want to take advantage of this.

Stream Shōgun on Hulu.