Who Portrays John Blackthorne On ‘Shōgun’? Meet Cosmo Jarvis

Shōgun, which streams on Hulu, is the latest home run from FX, which has fired off several must-see beloved series in recent years, including Reservation Dogs and The Bear. The cable network can now claim a next-big-thing trophy for their adaptation of James Clavell’s best-selling 1975 novel, which counts as the first chronological part of the author’s Asian Saga.

The series gathers an ensemble acclaimed cast to tell the novel’s epic wartime story of 1600s feudal Japan, but there’s one actor in particular who looks awfully familiar to American audiences. That would be Cosmo Jarvis, the British actor who portrays English navigator John Blackthorne (based upon historical figure William Adams, who became a British samurai warrior), so where have you seen this actor before now?

Jarvis has numerous credits to his name, including 2016’s Lady Macbeth (starring Florence Pugh) 2022’s Persuasion (the version with Dakota Johnson). He’s a singer as well with his “Gay Pirates” single gaining more notoriety amid Shōgun’s release:

Additionally, Jarvis recently told The Guardian about a major source of inspiration for his character: “My old man’s a merchant seaman and I borrowed a lot from him. The confidence in his style of speech suited Blackthorne.” He also portrayed a tragic Peaky Blinders character, Barney (a PTSD-afflicted ex-Royal Marines sniper and WWII buddy of Tommy Shelby), and here’s a brief refresher clip:

With the arrival of Shōgun, Jarvis’ profile is seeing a significant boost. According to Samba TV’s figures, over 1 million viewers are catching the FX show within five days of release, and the debut scored 1.8 million viewers during that timetable.

FX’s Shōgun airs on Tuesday nights.