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

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,998 Ratings  ·  224 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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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 everyth
Aisyah  (´。• ᵕ •。`) ♡
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: comix, feminist
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.
David Schaafsma
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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.
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 about this man
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
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 sic-fi 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 soci
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
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.
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
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 courtesans, prostitu
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
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
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
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,
Edward Rathke
Interesting worldbuilding.

Shogunate Japan had a disease that wiped out most men, leaving a 4:1 gender ratio. Because men are so rare, they're a prized and protected commodity.

It's funny and intriguing, since Japan is such a masculine and patriarchal place. Lots of traditions and customs get gender flipped which is all kinds of fun and awesome.

Not sure if I'll keep reading these though. I enjoyed it, but I feel as if I get what it's doing and I'm not wholly convinced it's going to do anything bey
Suzanne Bhargava
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting gender-bender alternate history story, that become most intriguing in the last chapter (no spoilers here). Two things I found problematic: the faux-Shakespearean language whose effect seems a bit lost in translation (writers can easily achieve a formal register without peppering it with thee and thou and if't - I found it really off-putting); and a scene of near-rape, which is quickly brushed off lightly and never revisited in terms of how it affected the victim.

Still, as I said,
Dec 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
It's an intriguing story but I just couldn't get past the clunky translation. I feel like the original was written in (probably) lovely, old-fashioned, formal Japanese, but it's been turned into awkward pseudo-Shakespearian English chock full of "thee"'s, "thou"'s, and "wouldst"'s. Language is an important part of establishing setting in historical novels, but it should never be so jarring that it pulls you out of the story, and I just never managed to get into the rhythm of this one.
Kasey Jane
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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)
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
guys do you know what this is?

this is y: the last man written with more intelligence, social nuance, and ace characterization

the only thing it has less of is the sexist undertones that plagued y which like. hell yeah yeah yeah, yoshinaga knows what i like

no joke, i fistpumped at the end of mizuno's story. yoshimune is my favourite, give me all your frugal pragmatic kind lady emperors, every single one

i can't wait to reread volume 2

5 stars
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rosa by: Nola
Shelves: manga, 2010
What a phenomenal concpet. In Edo era Japan, men have died off to only a quarter of their numbers. Women now do everything that men did, including run the country. The flip of society just makes for a really interesting story. I am definitely sorry that Yunoshin will not be returning as a main character and I really loved Nobu, she is a very fair and interesting ruler. I can't wait to see how the next one is.
the gift
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…
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
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!
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Josei and Seinen ...: Ōoku: The Inner Chambers Discussion 1 8 Jun 01, 2013 10:09AM  
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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 everybody to get first prize. I wa
More about Fumi Yoshinaga...

Other Books in the Series

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥 (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 2 (Ōoku: The Inner Chambers / 大奥, #2)
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 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)
  • Ôoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 11

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