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Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 1 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥 #1)

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,373 ratings  ·  160 reviews
In Edo period Japan, a strange new disease called the Red Pox has begun to prey on the country's men. Within eighty years of the first outbreak, the male population has fallen by seventy-five percent. Women have taken on all the roles traditionally granted to men, even that of the Shogun. The men, precious providers of life, are carefully protected. And the most beautiful ...more
Paperback, Graphic Novel, 198 pages
Published August 18th 2009 by VIZ Media LLC (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,435)
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Aisyah ❣ฅ(⌯▾ ˑ̫ ▾⌯͒)ฅ
The best political, edo, (reverse) harem manga (complete with beautiful graphics) I've ever read! Currently I'm up to speed until the 7th volume and still waiting for the good people of internet to update the later chapters of the 8th volume. The story is intricate and have a lot of twists and turns with various people plotting their way to gain powerful alliances, governmental position and ultimately control the (current) shogun who's occupying the throne. My fav character is most definitely th ...more
Seth Hahne
Ōoku: The Inner Chamberss by Fumi Yoshinaga

It all began in seventh grade, as I perused my Nintendo newsletter and discovered that in Japan they had an NES called the Famicon and that the Japanese were able to enjoy new releases sometimes years before we were able to in America. Then, in tenth grade, I discovered Marvel's publication of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira. And then Akira, the cinematic adaptation. And then I saw pretty much every film Akira Kurosawa ever made. Then I read Shogun. Then I saw Princess Mononoke in theaters. Then everyth
...more
Zen Cho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marissa
I've taken a couple stabs at reading Y: The Last Man since I have a few friends who are really into it and I think it is based on an interesting concept, but I feel like the writing in it is not that great and kind of borders on weird sexism, so I've never been able to buckle down and plow through the series. Ooku deals with a similar concept, a severe plague kills off the majority of men in feudal Japan, but is so, so brilliantly written and amazing. This is one of the best written comic series ...more
Amy Thorne
You don't need my review. There are tons of very competent and well written reviews raving about this comic. And with good reason. It is extraordinarly fascinating. For those unfamiliar: a plague has wiped out something like 80% of the male population in Japan; all positions of authority, from heads of household right up to the shogun are now filled by women. A whole new spin on sexual politics, now. Men are obviously valuable--first and foremost, at a mechanical level, for reproduction. But als ...more
David Schaafsma
I read this because Faith Hicks said it was great and because I thought the idea of it bore some resemblance to Brian Vaughn's Y: The Last Man. It's not a unique subject, I Am Legend also deals with this topic (and adds zombies…). In this story, set in the Edo period in Japan, a plague has destroyed something like 75% of the male population. Some of those (elite) males continue to be housed in Ooku, a special, highly secret set of chambers which is essentially a male harem… so there's gender rev ...more
Steffi
I'm slowly entering the manga mindset again and this was pretty cool. An interesting take on speculative fiction and gender roles. Although it took me some time to get into, I'm completely in love with how it turned out. Four stars because I want there to be the possibility of improvement for the next in the series.
Jeff
I'm a huge fan of Fumi Yoshinaga's character-rich manga, so I felt like a real chump for not realizing sooner this seemingly omnipresent series was by her. (On the plus side, that means I know have nine translated volumes to tear into.)

A fantastic twist on historical manga, Ōoku The Inner Chamber presents an alternate history where the majority of Japanese men died off in a plague such that women are the workers and rulers of Edo Period Japan, and the few men that remain are courtesans, prostitu
...more
Kari Ramirez
At first glance this is very similar to Y: The Last Man and while I did enjoy those, Ōoku is telling a story much more intriguing to me. I think maybe because it is written by a female we're missing those moments of annoying sexism that were pretty prevalent in Y: The Last Man. Also, in Y the decimation of the male population is much more present. Here, we're 80 years past the first case in a time when some people don't even remember when there were just as many men as women. So we're focused le ...more
Arminzerella
In an alternate Japan, everything is run entirely by women, after many of the men succumb to a disease that affects only males. Men have become highly prized commodities and only the highest-ranking women hope to find husbands. Other women must bargain for a man’s “seed” so that they can continue their family lines. Time passes and soon few people remember what things were like before the epidemic. The only clues are some curious practices that persist – hinting that gender roles were once rever ...more
Beth Chandler
Excellent alternate-history of Japan as a country where the male population has been cut down to 1/2 of the female population. Women do all the work and hold nearly all the significant roles...except for the powerful men of the Ooku, or inner chamber (think 'male harem').

This is not 'just another gender-reversal story'--it's thoroughly set in early 1800s Japan (with plenty of historical and cultural detail) and the intrigue has some originality to it (though one can't escape the 'jealous rival'
...more
Carla Speed
This is so much better than you think it will be. Don't just read this one-- the dexterity of the author's alternate-history becomes more apparent as time goes on. She is not creating a random even in Japanese feudal history and then allowing things to take their narrative course, she is keeping her story within the bounds of historical fact.

Gender-swapping seems all shiny and new in this treatment, rather than the scraggly, white-bearded trope that it is. OOKU is a genuine attempt to create a
...more
Allie
While this had an interesting premise, I kept finding myself disppointed with the execution. Even with the male population reduced by 70%, nothing was really different besides having a female shogun. So much of the patriarchal structures are still so dominant, and I have a hard time believing that after 80 years of decreasing male population and female ascendancy things would be so much the same.

I did, however, laugh hysterically when a character said, "Get thee to the dojo." Hahahahahahahahahah
...more
Matimate
I read Fumi Yoshinaga´s yaoi manga and I liked them. When I learn, that there is non yaoi work as well I had to read it. I was caught by the unique setting and tender story of love in the environment,where the traditional male and female roles are swapped. Tokugawa Japan was plagued with strange disease caller red pox, which was killing males and soon male was rare in all female society. Females slipped in to the male roles and males were kept for breeding purposes. Little jewels in a way. Ooku ...more
Nadine
Mein erster Manga, meine zweite Graphic Novel. :-)

Die Geschichte spielt im alten Japan. Nach einer Epidemie, der vor allem Männer zum Opfer gefallen sind, haben sich die traditionellen Strukturen sehr verändert. Männer sind nun zu kostbar, um hart zu arbeiten und werden in haremsartigen

Mizuno möchte nicht in seinem Dorf versauern und hofft, in den Harem des Shoguns, eine Frau, die bei Besuchen ausländischer Gesandter hinter einem Vorhang sitzt und durch eine tiefere Stimme den Anschein erweckt,
...more
Cassandra
The only thing wrong with this manga is that the translators used the terrible forsooth-style of English to translate the formal Japanese. I am sure there was a better way.

But the book itself -- well, Yoshinaga does something so amazing, in (view spoiler)
...more
Kasey Jane
This re-imagining of the Edo period's rigid formalism is brutal and haunting. Yoshinaga evokes a Japan that never was, but somehow still feels like one of the country's hushed secrets. There's a reason this was a James Tiptree Jr. award winner.

(view spoiler)
Amelia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
thegift
very interesting series, very japanese take on the loss of men in historical era, due to some disease striking only young men. makes me think of last man, but i like more the manga art of this series…

by now i have read seven volumes of this series gradually less and less interesting…
David
"Well, that's the news from Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are heirs of the Shogun."
VeganMedusa
Re-read this today (11/1/13) after reading it back in 2010. Now the library has the series so I can finally see what happens next!
Monique
I initially found the dialogue off-putting and I feel that VIZ made a strange choice in how to translate the old-style japanese dialect. I can appreciate it may be hard to translate that faithfully, but I don't think the old-timey english was the best choice.

As the book goes on, the speech becomes more natural. (thankfully)

What I did enjoy was the themes that Yoshinaga tackles in Ooku. Its nice to see Yoshinaga touch on topics of the gender roles of Japan in a historical context. She does this
...more
Sue Moro
Written as an alternate history, Ooku tells the story of Japan during the Edo period after a plague has wiped out 75% of the male population. Woman, who outnumber males five to one, have now assumed the roles of power once held by their male counterparts including that of shogun. Men, who are highly valued for their seed are protected and considered the more fragile of the species.

As the story opens, eighty years have passed since the initial outbreak which appears to have been isolated to Japa
...more
Ala'a  Muhammad
I came upon this brilliant manga via this list some weeks ago and only now, I had the chance of reading the first volume due to them, damned exams.
So, for me, it manga takes a respectful 5 stars.
تخيلوا كيف سوف تصبح الحياة لو ان المرأة والرجل تبادلوا الأدوار؟ هذا هو مغزى هذة المانجا الرائعة "اوكو" او "الحريم" النسخة المذكرة.
مرض غامض يصيب الذكور فقط يغزو اليابان في حقبة ايدو يُدعى بـ "جدري الوجه الأحمر"
ومع مرور السنين انخفض عدد الذكور بنسبة 73% وعلى هذا, اصبحن النساء هن من يقمن بغالبية الأعمال وا
...more
Beverly Kennett
Feb 02, 2011 Beverly Kennett rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Beverly by: librarian
I read the graphic novel, Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 1, on the recommendation of my local librarian, who was supposedly the expert in this section of the library. I did not really enjoy it. The book is written in Manga format, to be read right to left. You read the cells from right to left and turn pages right to left, but luckily the text within each cell, written in English, is read left to right. The story begins in a very dark way with a young boy venturing into the forest alone to be th ...more
Rebecca
This book made an ALA best list for YAs, which is how it ended up in our library. However, when we saw the "explicit" sticker on it, I had to read it to see if it was appropriate for a 5-12 library. Turns out that it's pretty much just the subject matter that's explicit--there's only one vaguely nude drawing, minimal violence, and no swearing. However, it is about male concubines in a world where 75% of the male population has died out, so there's lots of references to prostitution, impregnation ...more
Sara
Nov 12, 2012 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Japanese History Enthusiasts
Recommended to Sara by: My Best Friend who knows me well
If you love Japanese history and are skeptical of this series because of the "explicit content" label, just shove that out of your mind and pick it up because you won't be sorry. My best friend gave me the first three volumes of this series which she herself had received from her friend's mother. My best friend weakly assured me that she had enjoyed it, but was annoyed to discover that there was more to the series than three volumes. (She refuses to collect manga these days.) She also told me th ...more
Skjam!
This gender role inversion story is interesting, though the plague that kickstarts the social changes is pretty much obviously not natural and its preciseness is a little annoying since it's obvious we won't be seeing any explanation of it in-story.

The main part of the story takes place in the Inner Chambers where the Shogun's supply of handsome men is kept. They've become a rather isolated mini-society, especially as the current Shogun is a seven-year-old girl . The first storyline in this open
...more
Julie
I read this because it made the Tiptree Award list this year. I really enjoyed it. It's an alternate history of Japan in which a plague has wiped out most of the men. At first, it was reminding me of A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer.

Then we get to the "inner chamber" of the shogun. Traditionally, this was full of women. But because of this alternate history, it's full of men. Really greedy of the ruler to keep all of these men just for herself, when they could be out reproducing. Men are still i
...more
Rebecca
Set in an alternate version of the Tokugawa Shogunate, where, eighty years ago, a virus wiped out most of the male population of Japan (and still exists, such that only a quarter of all male infants born reach adulthood). As a result, the female population took over most of the male roles, marriage became reserved only for the wealthy or powerful, and brothels (and private arrangements with the families of teenaged/adult sons) became the standard way for middle and lower class women to have offs ...more
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Josei and Seinen ...: Ōoku: The Inner Chambers Discussion 1 7 Jun 01, 2013 10:09AM  
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