Shogun's Anna Sawai shares 'emotional' response from Japanese fans

Shogun actress Anna Sawai has shared her "emotional" experience connecting with Japanese fans after starring in the hit Disney+ show.

The 32-year-old actress played Toda Mariko in the historical drama which is tipped to sweep the awards circuit after wowing critics and viewers alike.

For Anna, the show has proved to be more emotionally charged than expected as her performance as the 17th-century translator has struck a chord with Japanese communities in the USA.

Speaking to Variety about the reaction from fans, she said, "I'm trying not to get emotional. We were on the press tour in Washington, D.C., and we showed our first two episodes to a Japanese community.

"After the screening, multiple young girls came up to me being like, 'This is the first time I'm seeing a real Japanese character that I can really relate to.' They were getting emotional as well, because it was something that they had internalised - not being able to speak, having to behave - and they thought that's the way that they should be."

Anna praised the show's screenwriters for including Mariko in the thick of the action, saying, "In Japan, we see characters like that; but in Western media, it was my first time reading a script that felt like she was not sidelined.

"We were seeing that vulnerability but also the strength within her. We see her find her voice. I feel like if I had seen characters like Mariko on-screen growing up, that would've formed me in a different way. I wouldn't have internalised all those expectations."