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Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 2 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥 #2)

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  701 ratings  ·  54 reviews
In this 17th Century Japan the Shogun is a woman...and the harem is full of men. R to L (Japanese Style). Curious about why female lords must take on male names, the Shogun Yoshimune seeks out the ancient scribe Murase and his archives of the last eighty years of the Inner Chambers--called the Chronicle of the Dying Day. In it's pages Yoshimune discovers the coming of the ...more
Paperback, 230 pages
Published December 8th 2009 by VIZ Media LLC (first published 2006)
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The first volume was the frame, showing a world in which there are few men, many women, customs that do not quite make sense, and a general sense that this is how the world has always been, so it is taken for granted.

This second volume goes back to the beginning and shows how it happened, the (view spoiler)
Stuff I Read - Ooku volume 2 by Fumi Yoshinaga Review

After a first volume that just sort of delved right into a world where ninety percent of men died from the mysterious Red Pox, volume two of Ooku steps back and gives us a bit of the history of the setting, specifically the divergent path in the royal family brought on by the disease and the rise of the first female Shogun. This happens alongside the forming of the male Inner Chambers, so it gives a nice back story to some of the events that h
oh nooooooo

you would think that since this is a reread i would have been more prepared

nope. nope nope nope

how many bus rides will i spend surreptiously wiping away tears as i read about tragic things happening to good people?


religious persons who act with compassion and generosity: my eternal weakness

frankly i don't know where yoshinaga gets off writing with such a clear eyed view of humanity and sympathy for the many ways people cope with trying circumstances

5 stars
Kari Ramirez
This takes us back almost eighty years beginning around 6 years after the death of the last male shogun. In the previous volume Yoshimune goes to Murase to ask about the Chronicle of the Dying Day and in this volume two the Chronicle plays out.

In the first volume there was some humor and attempts at lightheartedness. Here is just a lot of bleakness, violence and tragedy. Kasuga will not let anything stop her from saving the Tokugawa name. Murder, kidnapping, whatever, she'll do it. She is a terr
SO brilliant! A wonderful story exquisitely rendered. Intriguing and moving, I love what this writer/artist is doing! Can't wait for volume 3!
Further in the Oooku story, the 8th shogun investigates why even though the power has shifted to women, do women still have to take on masculine names for their positions. Why does the entire framework of their government show the signs of still being male-dominated. As being born in a world where females were the main powers in a family, she does not know of a time when the society was patriarchal. So, from this volume, we see the story of the time when the plague struck, when the 3rd shogun ha ...more
David Schaafsma
So, in the second volume we go back 80 years (from the first volume) to get some broader historical background, so this is a kind of prequel to volume one, and further evidence of Yoshinago's storytelling abilities. Complex, rich, sad, brutal, murderous, turning the idea of the female harem on its head, with lots of exploration of gender and sexuality and identity, generally. The central love story is powerful and moving. There's beauty in the artistic rendering of a lot of compelling and anguis ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed this volume. The main thing that I did not like was the translation. It got annoying. I really enjoyed the fact that the author took things that really happened in history and made it to fit into her story. I also liked the bit in the back where things in the story which non-Japanese people might not get is explained. The artwork is also really enjoyable. The story is very dark and gritty at places but that is life.

SPOILER below:

I really like the fact that the author understand
Well, I didn't get some of the apparent inconsistencies of policy from the first volume explained in this one. But, this manga takes us further back in time, to how the first woman ended up as shogun, and the origin of the Ooku, the inner chambers, being filled with men instead of women. So you actually learn some of the origin of the traditions and policies that led up to what the inner chambers were in volume 1.

So that was all cool and everything. Unfortunately, I felt this volume relied too h
The second in this manga series presenting an alternate Japanese history where the men are lost to a pox disease so that women have to step into their roles. This volume is a prequel to the first volume ad explains some of the issues that arose in that story. A Buddhist monk coming to pay his respects to the shogun is captured. Initially unaware that there has not been a male shogun for some years, he is compelled to join the harem with a hope of siring a son. He comes to love the hot-tempered e ...more
Nicholas Whyte
Having greatly enjoyed the first volume of this manga series, I am glad to say that I thought the second kept up the standard. It is the start of what may be an extended flashback to the 1630s, shortly after the plague that killed most of Japan's men.

The young noble monk Arikoto, presenting his respects to the shōgun, is detained and learns to his horror that he is to become one of the shōgun's catamites; but of course, the shōgun is actually a young woman, her father having died though this ha
Wow. Just. Wow. I totally understand why this won the Tiptree.

In the interest of clarity, I should mention that I have not yet read vol. 1, due to the vagaries of the library and because this one appears to be a prequel, so I just plunged ahead.

It is my first or close-to-first manga. I read some Lone Wolf and Cub somewhere in there, but I'd have to look and see if that read right-to-left. Anyway, I have a woeful lack of any kind of grounding in the art form, so my review may overlook known genre
A very sad story about a plague that hits Japan, killing young men at first, and then killing men in general. The story is told from the point of view of a Buddhist monk who is forced into the Inner Chambers of the Shogun, and finds himself involved in the machinations of a country that is well aware of how vulnerable it is to invasion and war with its diminished capabilities.

This story is told as a prequel to Ooku, Vol 1, and so flows a little more smoothly than Vol 1 did because it doesn't ha
I read Fumi Yoshinagas 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 i ...more
This one is slightly more political than the first, although the time frame goes into the past. Thus the characters are different, although you get to see where a lot of the traditions of the Inner Chamber in Volume 1 have come from. Slightly more violent than vl. 1, although still overall less explicit than I expected.
Karen Ireland-Phillips
I am unfamiliar with this form, and tend to concentrate on the words. So I really had to slow down on this one, because the story is told in the drawings, not the words. Not to mention that despite a fascination with the Tokugawa period of Japanese history, there are cultural references that I know I missed. [return]The story itself is full of angst and honor, with behavior controlled by not only the samurai code but by the demands of class and gender. Slavery, betrayal and ultimately love play ...more
The story of the switch in the samarai tradition continues in Volume 2. Beautiful drawings are the setting for historical fiction in Japan, where women have to take on most male roles.

As we learn more about why this happened, I felt even more moved than in the first volume.
Wonderful artwork, but the subject is really depressing and upsetting at times. In addition the speech of the characters (thou, thee, etc.) distracts from the story. Not for me.
Begins the story of how the shogunate made the transition from male to female in the wake of terrible disease. OH, YOU POOR PEOPLE, YOUR LIVES ARE WRETCHED.
The more I read this series the more I enjoy it! It is beautifuly drawn and is an engaging tale based on historical facts. I enjoyed learning more about how this world came to be in Japan. I can't wait to see how this story will unfold!
Much more brutal than the first volume, but in many ways, this only made it more enjoyable for me. I felt like the characters had a lot more to lose and that anyone could be murdered at any time.

Taking place years before the events of volume 1, volume 2 follows Arikoto, a buddhist monk who is forced to make a very difficult decision to give up his vows or have those around him slaughtered. We also get a new villain, the truly terrible Kasuga. I hate her so much, but she is very much a well writ
It all made sense and the ending brought everything together in a good way, but there was a lot more rape and murder than I was expecting.
Un second très beau volet, tout en finesse, flottant dans un bain de sang vengeur.
Series continues to be great. The main male character in this volume (which takes place at the beginning of the outbreak) is a Buddhist monk forced to break his vows and join the inner chamber. It's based on a true story, except in real life, it was a woman with religious vows that was imprisoned. The Shogun has taken her father's place, and has been very broken by having this responsibility forced on her, by having to leave her lady-ness behind. The character development is very good. I can't w ...more
Nov 14, 2012 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who love Japanese history
Recommended to Sara by: My best friend who knows me well
'Twas a right good volume indeed! I verily enjoyed it.

This volume is about the first female shogun, how she ascended to her position and what her life was like for the first few years thereafter. It also very much tells the story of one of the first "Grooms of the Bedroom," an abducted monk named Arikoto. Interestingly, this monk is based on a figure from history who was actually female, abducted by a male shogun. I'm enjoying the gender flips and historical references as well as the story itsel
In this volume of Ooku we go back to the beginning of the plague and read about the beginning of the transition from a male run shogunite to a female run shogunite. The reader learns about how the customs seen in the first one were developed through the second one. There is another slew of great characters and a lot of serious themes, and although Nobu is mentioned in the description of this volume, she isn't actually a character in it which made me a little bit sad.
This series is amazingly well done. I like the sophisticated art work and the imaginative plot line. My only complaint is the translation. I get that it's (probably) written in an older form of Japanese and the translator was trying to mimic English from the 17th century, but it's terrible and inaccurate. Just because you throw a lot of "thou" and "thee" in there doesn't make it correct!
The quality of this volume, just like the first, is completely undermined by the horrible choice of the translator to utilize a faux old English style of speech for all the characters. There's just something entirely wrong about a samurai saying "strooth".

While I like the series and it has a very interesting premise, the misguided translation might prevent me from reading any more volumes.
sweet pea
this volume delves into the history immediately following the redface pox. and, while interesting, it has mirrors to the story in the first volume, making it a little less engaging. i found the "modern" story in the first volume much more compelling. i wish the "past" storyline was revealed in segments, rather than as one narrative. anyway, still interested in seeing what will happen next.
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Other Books in the Series

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥 (10 books)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 1
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 3
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 4
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 5 (Ooku: the Inner Chambers)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 6
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 7
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 8
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 9
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers volume 10
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 1 Antique Bakery, Volume 1 Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 3 Antique Bakery, Volume 2 Antique Bakery, Volume 3

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