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Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 1

(Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥 #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,372 ratings  ·  263 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, 203 pages
Published August 18th 2009 by VIZ Media LLC (first published September 29th 2005)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  2,372 ratings  ·  263 reviews

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Start your review of Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 1 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #1)
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
Seth T.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 everything else Miyazaki had done.
Aisyah ♡
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars-wohoo
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
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminist, comix
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
Zen Cho
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Akemi G.
I have read the Japanese original down to Vol. 11, and also read the English translations that are out so far. Although I don't usually rate/review manga/comics/graphic novels, I'm making this an exception -- it's worth to be an exception.

* The premise of the story: 5 stars
It's a kind of SF set in Edo period (early 1600s ~) Japan. A fatal infectious disease that affects only young men sweeps the country, reducing the male population to a quarter of the female's. How can this affect the society, a
Elizabeth A
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphix, 2015
Book blurb: 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 of the men are sent to serve in the Shogun's Inner Chamber...

Holy smokes, but how have I not heard ab
Bleh. This sounded like a cool idea at first, but it wasn't my thing at all. Very boring, the "formal" writing quickly became tiring and I didn't care for any of the characters. I gave up on it somewhere halfway through it.
Amy Thorne
Oct 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Carla Speed
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
130811: 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…
Jillian -always aspiring-
Very, very interesting.
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
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'
Steffi ~mereadingbooks~
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.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I. Loved. This.

It was so fun and fast and the characters were all interesting to get to know and how would a society function if almost all the men died but it was isolated to that one particular country? Surprisingly politically complicated while also being funny and thought provoking.
"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."
Cw: attempted sexual assault

Because I love this series so much, I find it difficult to write a review for it. Ōoku is an alternate history of Japan where 3/4 of the male population were wiped out due to a pox-like plague. Despite the shortage of men, hundreds of men live in the inner chambers of the palace, to please the shogun. Traditionally male and female roles of the 1700s in Japan are now flipped in society, leaving this place with female shoguns, tradesmen, and heads of family.
There's a
Lisa Pett
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, manga
Similar in plot theme to Y The Last Man, a virulent virus has killed off 75% of the male population of feudal Japan. Women inherit all the leadership and administrative roles, including the Shogun. Healthy, fertile males are valued as precious commodities, with poor women lacking access while the Shogun fills her inner chambers with the most beautiful male concubines.

The English translation of formal Japanese seems a bit stilted but the story is strong. This does make me want to pick
I clearly only read enough of the description of this book to see "a disease kills 75% of men, so now women are in charge" because I was very surprised/disappointed/annoyed at how dude-centric this was. And then! The main dude that the first few issues are about just up and disappears two thirds of the way through! I actually started liking it a lot more then, because the focus switched more to the new female emperor. If the book had been about that from the start, I probably would read more of ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This author/illustrator's sensitivity and skill are beyond anything I've come to expect from court intrigue and romance stories.

Smart, tasteful, quiet but not without tension --this book surprised me because I saw it compared to Brian K. Vaughn's 'Y the Last Man' series but this book is very, very different. Personally, I struggle to connect to Vaughn's characters, which I think stems from his tendency to treat them as vehicles for story as opposed to the story emanating from character. Convers
Sue Moro
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: manga
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
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
Maria Kelly
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent manga about an alternate history Japan in the Edo period where a pox wipes out 80% of the male population. Women do most all the work and head most all business and family life. The Shogun is a woman and her harem is full of hot-blooded men. This manga of role reversal/reverse harem won the James Tiptree Jr. award, an award given to works of literature that deal with gender issues. I can see why. The book found its way into my hands when I researched possible canon materials for my cap ...more
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 courtesa
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
(4.25/5) Ōoku: The Inner Chambers is a surprisingly good take on a sci-fi-y concept that’s been around the block a couple of times. Set during the early years of the Tokugawa era, Ōoku envisions a world where a disease kills approximately three-quarters of the male population on Japan, radically shifting societal dynamics in the process. The story begins some eighty-ish years later, when a young man named Yunoshin Mizuno is accepted into the imperial harem in Edo.

The underlying plot
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." Hahahah
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manga, 2011
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
Loran (Inked with Curiosity)
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ooku: The Inner Chambers Volume 1 was an alternate historical drama with a reverse harem theme. It's definitely not like other manga out there; this one is aimed at an adult audience and contains a lot of mature subject matter and themes. The art is absolutely beautiful and the costumes and landscapes are historically accurate which I highly appreciate. The plot is slower paced with few action sequences so be prepared for huge dialogue bubbles with lots of writing. I actually really enjoyed Ooku ...more
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Japanese: よしなが ふみ

Fumi Yoshinaga (よしなが ふみ Yoshinaga Fumi, born 1971) is a Japanese manga artist known for her shōjo and shōnen-ai works.

Fumi Yoshinaga was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1971. She attended the prestigious Keio University in Tokyo.

In an interview, she said that "I want to show the people who didn't win, whose dreams didn't come true. It is not possible for everybod

Other books in the series

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥 (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 2 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #2)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 3 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #3)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 4 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #4)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 5 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #5)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 6 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #6)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 7 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #7)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 8 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #8)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 9 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #9)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 10 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #10)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 11 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #11)