In this version of the story, a tragedy occurred during Japan’s feudal times, when a strange plague devastated the islands of the archipelago, killing most of the men and boys in its path.
More than eight decades passed by, and the population began to stabilize again, however, the role of men in society was completely transformed. Starting with the fact that women took power.
The institution of marriage collapsed, and it was not uncommon to see families prostituting their male children in exchange for money or a better social position.
Women who longed to become mothers did not hesitate to go to a special district where they could pay large sums of money for the services of the man of their liking.
Couple relationships ended up reserved for noble samurai, wealthy merchants or village leaders.
In terms of power, the powerful position of the shogun also ended up being passed down to women. And thanks to her position, she had access to the greatest luxury of her time, men.
Within the shogun’s castle, a palace known as Oooku was built, in which three thousand handsome men were arranged for the sovereign’s entertainment.
During the seventh shogun’s reign, Yunoshin wastes no time training with his sword, dreaming that one day he would do something with his life. O-Nobu, his childhood friend likes him, but she knows that Yunoshin doesn’t hesitate to offer his body to women who can’t afford to pay for a man.
Despite this, O-Nobu understands that everything Yunoshin does could be considered noble and kind.
And although Yunoshin has feelings for O-Nobu, he knows that their relationship cannot become a reality. He is from a poor family, and she is the heiress of a rich merchant.
So, when Yunoshin’s mother offers him to another woman in marriage, he thanks her for taking care of him and tells her that he has long sought a relative’s recommendation to enter the famous Oooku, a group of men working for the shogun.
Saying goodbye to O-Nobu, Yunoshin does not hesitate to kiss her, and ask her to be happy. And even though she loves him too, she lets him go without a word.
At the Oooku, Yunoshin soon blends in and starts working, and his frank way of being annoys more than one, who immediately confronts him, and even try to abuse him at night.
However, Yunoshin doesn’t allow it, and even threatens to kill them if they try to touch him again.
In the midst of so many men, he learns that abuse is constant, and that those in the highest rank usually do it without hesitation.
From then on, Yunoshin begins to get noticed, and even the highest ranking man in charge listens rumors about him. One day, while he observes a sword showdown, he invites him to participate, and he surprisingly defeats the best.
Immediately, Yunoshin is promoted in the hierarchy and is sent to serve directly under the new shogun, Yoshimune, who does not tolerate the waste and ostentatious traditions of her predecessors.
Immediately, Yoshimune begins firing those who disobey her, and as she sets his eye on the Oooku, she begins to worry about the costs, as well as having so many beautiful men wasted in such an unproductive lockdown.
One day, Yoshimune observes with interest the simple clothes that Yunoshin wears, and decides that he will accompany her that night. Then, Yoshimune discovers that since it is her first encounter with a man, tradition indicates that Yunoshin will be beheaded the next day.
Despite this, Yunoshin agrees and asks that his family is properly repaid. At night, Yoshimune learns more about the young man’s life, who even confesses his love for O-Nobu.
Yoshimune decides to take control of the government, spares Yunoshin’s life, forces him to change his name, and orders him to become a merchant, giving him the chance to marry O-Nobu.
Furthermore, she reforms the Oooku, and in his first meeting with them, she dismisses the most beautiful men and orders them to start a new life outside the palace.
Also known as Oooku: The Inner Chambers, is a manga series written and illustrated by Fumi Yoshinaga, serialized in Hakusensha’s manga magazine Melody from June 2004 to December 2020. It was adapted into two live-action films in 2010 and 2012. A 10-episode Japanese TV drama series in 2012 and another TV drama in January 2023. An anime ONA by Studio Deen premiered on Netflix in June 29, 2023.