Does Mariko Die In Shogun?

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Posted:
Shogun Cosmo Jarvis, Blackthorne

FX's Shogun Episode 9's ending left fans emotional after Mariko's ultimate sacrifice. 

At the core of Shogun's latest installment is Mariko's (Anne Sawai) quest to serve Lord Toranaga with a specific and important mission. 

What happens throughout the episode is a thrilling and emotional journey for Mariko as she ponders if she deserves to live after an intense-filled clash with the forces of Ishido. 

[ Shogun Show Vs. Book Differences Explained by Producer (Exclusive) ]

What Happened to Mariko in Shogun Episode 9?

Anne Sawai as Mariko in Shogun
Anne Sawai

Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Shogun Episode 9.

In Shogun Episode 9, Mariko appears before the Council of Regents to convince (aka force) Lord Ishido to allow her to return to Edo alongside Toranaga's consorts and newborn son. 

As badass as she is, Mariko graciously fails. However, she still powers through by leading Toranaga's allies to the gates of Osaka, even using a naginata blade at the castle guards (she didn't kill them) until ultimately giving up. 

Given that she fails to fulfill her duty to her lord, Mariko decides to go through with seppuku, but Ishido stops her at the last second when he finally issues permits for her and Toranaga's allies to leave. 

Ishido's shady nature and his mastery of manipulation are brought to the forefront after it is revealed that it was a trap. He orders world-class traitor Yabushige to bring in assassins to kill Mariko for her transgressions. 

Toranaga's consorts in Shogun Episode 9

Mariko, who already survived two near-death experiences in the episode, decides to make the ultimate sacrifice by allowing herself to be killed when the ninjas bomb the door after she is trapped alongside Blackthorne, Yabushige, and the consorts inside a storeroom. 

Mariko's choice to sacrifice herself is an important move for Toranaga since it means that her death would serve as a beacon of realization that Ishido is keeping hostages in Osaka.

Exposing Ishido would mean that other daimyos could turn against him, giving Toranaga a chance at victory. 

What Mariko's Death Means in Shogun's Finale 

Anne Sawai as Mariko
Anne Sawai

As gruesome as Mariko's death is, it is crucial to Toranaga's victory and Ishida's fall since she fulfilled her mission for her lord. 

If the hostages escape, the shady events in Osaka Castle, led by Ishido and Ochiba, will be known by the realm (the whole of Japan). 

This would lead to their downfall, allowing Toranaga to swoop in and defeat their forces. 

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Anne Sawai admitted that Mariko appears to be at peace with her death during her final moments, noting, "That's what she wants:"

“It was a lot of mixed feelings for me because, in a way, that’s what she wants. She wants to serve her lord. She wants to fulfill her role. She’s happy to do it. She doesn’t want to just have an easy life.”

Throughout Shogun, Mariko's desire to sacrifice herself is evident, anchored by her father's, Akechi Jinsai, past actions. 

Mariko's death means getting over the massive emotional burden that took a toll on her life. 

Mariko didn't just die for Lord Toranaga, but it also effectively turned Japan in the right direction by causing Ishida's downfall. 

Shogun Episode 9 is now streaming on Hulu

Read more about Shogun on The Direct:

Shogun: Did Mariko Sleep With Anjin?

Shogun: What Are Goshawks? Meaning In the Show, Explained

Shogun: Why Samurai Shave Their Heads, Explained

- In This Article: Shogun
Release Date
February 27, 2024
Cable TV
Anna Sawai
Cosmo Jarvis
Hiroyuki Sanada
- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.