Yoshinaga Fumi (b. 1971)
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers
Japan, 2005 (Japan), 2009 (United States)
Paperback book (manga), ink and color on paper
Copyright: Ōoku © Fumi Yoshinaga 2005/HAKUSENSHA, Inc.
A work of the genre known as alternate history, Ōoku: The Inner Chambers is based upon the premise that an Edo-period (1615–1868) plague harmed only the male population, thus radically changing gender demographics in Japan. By the early 18th century, in which the tale is set, women had assumed all positions of political and economic power. Accordingly, men assumed roles of sexual servitude, and the most fortunate of them were granted entrance into Ōoku, a harem of potential concubines reserved exclusively for the female shogun. This manga offers spectacular insight into the injustices and hardships that female courtesans living in the Yoshiwara district must surely have experienced. (For a similar critique of the Yoshiwara, see Sakuran (2012) by Anno Moyoco [b. 1971], on display nearby.)
In 2009, Ōoku: The Inner Chambers was awarded the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Grand Prize after being nominated for the prize in each of the previous two years. In 2010, it was adapted into a live-action film The Lady Shogun and Her Men (Ōoku), directed by Fuminori Kaneko (b. 1970). In 2012, it was further adapted into both the television drama Ōoku: The Inner Chamber (Ōoku: Tanjō) and the film The Castle of Crossed Destinies (Ōoku: Eien).