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In an alternative feudal Japan, a strange disease that only affects males caused a massive population reduction, leaving females to fill the vacant jobs, therefore changing the social structure. Now, 80 years after the initial outbreak with a 1:4 male:female ratio, Japan is a completely matriarchal society. Females hold all important political positions, and males are their consorts. Only the most powerful female--head of Tokugawa shogunate--may keep a harem of handsome and unproductive males, known as "Oooku."

Note: Won an Excellence Prize at the 2006 Japan Media Arts Festival and a special prize at The Japanese Association of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy's fifth annual Sense of Gender Awards in 2005.
Won the Tezuka Osamu Cultural the Grand Prize in 2009 and the 56th Shogakukan Manga Award in Girls' Category in 2011.
Was nominated for the first annual Manga Taishō in 2008.


Related Series

Associated Names
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers
Le Pavillon des hommes (French)
Ooku: The Inner Chamber

Groups Scanlating

Latest Release(s)

Status in Country of Origin
12 Volumes (Ongoing)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter

User Reviews


User Rating
Average: 8.9 / 10.0 (150 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.49 / 10.0
 49% (74 votes)
 22% (33 votes)
 13% (20 votes)
 7% (11 votes)
 3% (4 votes)
 1% (2 votes)
 1% (1 votes)
 1% (1 votes)
 1% (1 votes)
 2% (3 votes)

Last Updated
November 17th 2015, 6:28pm PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)
Melody (Hakusensha)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher
Viz (11 Volumes - Ongoing)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #511 increased(+145)
Monthly Pos #742 increased(+109)
3 Month Pos #897 increased(+105)
6 Month Pos #959 decreased(-40)

List Stats
On 538 reading lists
On 923 wish lists
On 30 unfinished lists
On 299 custom lists

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Forum Posts
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers Gets Live-Action Drama 1408 days, 15 hours, 52 minutes ago
Ōoku: The Inner Chambers Wins Tiptree Award 2078 days, 11 hours, 47 minutes ago

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User Comments [ Order by usefulness ]

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Very cool premise, and thought-inducing manga--but yes, AWFUL translation   
Rating: 8.9 / 10.0
by moonmystery
December 25th, 2014, 11:38pm
this manga inverts the history of patriarchy and instead examines an ancient world where the women rule, and the men have been reduced to prostitutes and trophy "husbands" due to their scarcity. It is quite interesting to see, and this author does a terrific job of covering multiple aspects of such a situation.

However, unfortunately, the English translations are in Old English...and the phrases such as "thee" "thou" and whatnot are inconsistently used. Also, this story still flows without any real direction, and it feels like I'm reading a dramatized version of a history book. There are SO many different characters with names I cannot remember that I have become lost in this manga. There's Mizuno, O-tama, O-man?, Fuke-u? (lol for real), and bunch of random names!!! What's worse is that many of these people have MULTIPLE names!!!! I'm at a lost as to what else to say... It's just too much lol.

But, this is still a pretty cool manga series, and I think I will find the movie version enjoyable as well!! It's called "Lady Shogun and Her Men."

... Last updated on December 25th, 2014, 11:41pm
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Fantastic Story, Terrible Translation   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by Roaku
November 2nd, 2013, 2:23am
I enjoyed the story telling of Ooku very much. Each set of story lines are intricately linked, with the underlying human emotions that come with change and life. The author made the story compelling, exciting, sad, and at the same time wondrous. Please read some of the other commentator's for more details on the elegance of the story.

My only problem, (and its a HUGE one) is the horrible translation. Whatever the translators thought they were "creating" was absolutely abhorrent. If I ever wish to read a Shakespearian play, please I will, but the fact is: we are in an era where we do not speak as they do, so unless we are English majors, the use of olden english is TERRIBLY ANNOYING AND DISPLEASING! If the story, was any less than what it is, I'd have dropped this series entirely, even though its so good? Which IDIOT (in Viz) decided to ruin a good read for everyone? Why must we suffer, because Viz decided it would be interesting to re-live old England (with so much of it made in Scottish/Irish accents) in an otherwise Japanese setting? Its horribly inaccurate, some words are just incomprehensible, there is so much LOSS of understanding, and a waste of time! By the end of it, I had to read each bubble, then mentally translate it to proper English just to get the gist of it. PLEASE for the love of god SOMEONE RE-TRANSLATE THIS BEAUTIFUL STORY WITH PROPER ENGLISH PLEASE I BEG YOU!!!!

--And yes, I understand that Viz wanted to relate the authors original intentions, but let me remind you, Japanese, and some other languages, might not have changed altogether as much as English has. For instance I know that Russian books written some 200 years ago, can be read almost without loss of any meaning. This is NOT the same for the olden English. Almost everything is different, this isn't a factor of just some archaic 'polite speech' this is a matter of rearranging your whole head to cave in for "thooths" "thees" and "thousts"! Viz thought to translate Ooku into the piece of "artwork" they thought they were creating. But, I the reader, don't want to read their 'artwork' but a story which I can understand and comprehend. Why make it so unnecessarily hard for readers? Why do we have to sit with a dictionary, re-writing sentences just to read one manga written in our common era? I see it as unnecessary extra work being flung on me without even asking, for what the translators misguidedly though would increase the 'credibility' of the manga's setting (and don't worry, its a manga for gods-sake, I can understand its setting without having some ridiculous English from a different era and different country thrown in to 'spice' things up, k.thanks.bai :T).

... Last updated on November 2nd, 2013, 2:36am
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Quite interesting   
Rating: N/A
by emkat
August 14th, 2012, 10:59am
It's an interesting take on social dynamics if Japan was a matriarchal society. The old modern English that the translator tries to use is kind of annoying because it's inconsistent and inaccurate though. The overall story is very unique and the art is typical of a josei.
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words could not describe all its wonder.   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by otakuness
January 22nd, 2012, 6:53am
i was perplexed. at first i was turned of with the old english language.. i kinf of imagined shakespheare going on and on in my head with a japanese accent <impossibru LOL> but that thinking was taken over by how fast paced the story telling was... no it wasnt so fast paced that you dont feel for the characters anymore but there wasnt one scenario that doesnt have any relevance to the story. i liked all the characters, how noble they were and i just love all of them.. each have his and her flaws and they are not all perfect shoujo types.. i mean sure they are pretty but.. actually the art wasnt that pretty but it was clean. clean lines every where.

the thing that got me here also is the history and boy was i a sucker for period drams, ive never been to japan but i wish that will someday and yeah gosh.. im not so sure about the accuracy but it seems legit smile) and did i mention the awesome story telling.. im only up to volume 3 and i mean,, i was having goosebumps while reading the last chapter on how it really began i mean.. so awesome.. "in order to understand a story you must first start with the beginning" so awesome. gawd... i really hope that i can have all the published copies of this in english but since online shopping is not an option i can only pray that theyll sell this in a local bookstore biggrin
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As to why it's shoujo: it's a magazine target matter.   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by elianthos
January 12th, 2012, 8:28am
Since this question still pops up a lot: shoujo (and shonen, seinen, josei) is a demographic label in Japan, not a content/genre one: Ooku is published in a shoujo magazine ( = aimed af teen females readers), hence it's shoujo. As simple as that.
Content, art and storytelling can vary wildly within such demographic: Nana by Yazawa Ai is shoujo, published in the older teen-aimed( = still shoujo) magazine Cookie. . Ooku appears to be an older teens/mature shoujo and borderline adult (in terms of readers' age) work, as the magazine hosting it... in this sense is similar to Nana, a shoujo with a crossover demographic appeal; on the brink of adult readers' demographic in Japan, and popular among both adults and teenagers in the Western world. Yet Nana and Ooku, although both of them are shoujo, they are totally different in terms of content, art, genre(s) and 'feel'.
You see? It's a bit like like the Young Adult fiction label for books in the West: you can find any kind of genres and style among such books... it's a 'cointainer' label, not a 'content' one ^^ .
Ok, now that this arguably pedantic intro is over, on to Ooku itself.
This manga is a brilliant, thought-provoking and verisimilar 'what if' about politics and gender dynamics. It has many characters and manages to make them both compelling, multifaceted and fleshed out, their flaws and all. As a Westerner I find the insight into the Imperial court and the period feeling fascinating. As a history and period fiction and essays lover, the subject is just my alley.
Fumi Yoshinaga is a gifted storyteller and her drawing are deceptively simple, yet effective and evocative, regardless of her churning out yaoi, shoujo or seinen titles, but her period pieces are where this evocative yet understated/sober quality of hers shine the most imho. As such, I consider Ooku not only an excellent piece of fiction in manga form, but also her best work to date.

... Last updated on January 12th, 2012, 8:45am
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Rating: N/A
by CiellavonNightmare
December 3rd, 2011, 9:47am
I`ve been waiting forever for the scans but they never come. so i went to the next city just to find a bookstore that has it. i found it, i was so glad I hastily read the first 2 volumes. My reaction? Oh my gosh. pure masterpiece. A wonderful alternative history which actually makes sense. When I saw the `mature` tag at the cover I was even more driven to read it. But there was no explicit sensuality or violence so it`s all good. I can`t wait till I go back there next month to finish the 3-6th volumes!!!
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What a great series   
Rating: N/A
by Tiny Lady Yume
August 13th, 2011, 6:41am
I have to say I really like this work of Fumi Yoshinaga, the art is beautiful and the style mature and elegant. The only thing I don't understand is why it is marked as shoujo because neither the art nor the story are aimed at teenage girls (though I don't doubt there are some who could like it).
I like this series together with All my darling daughters and Flower of life but I'm a bit neutral towards her yaoi works. For most of my yaoi I prefer more or less believable, yet lighter and more romantic tone...
However I bought the books of Ooku available in English and I have to say, worth buying ^_^
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Should be Josei   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by yblees
August 21st, 2010, 12:12am
I've no idea why it's shoujo either. Should be Josei genre imo.
As for the pseudo-old English speech that Viz uses in the translation...
I have no problem with it at all - and how else could you represent archaic dialogue anyway?
Modern English just can't convey how this story is taking place in a historical setting.
I say, suck it up! Anybody who did Shakespeare in high school would be perfectly comfortable with the translation. Viz have already toned it down considerably - probably for the American readers.... ;-P
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Great quality   
Rating: N/A
by Sunaode
June 21st, 2010, 1:51pm
Was annoyed by the old style speech that was used. Usually I am all for it, but in this case I couldn't stomach it for whatever reason.

Good art, good story.
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Hah? Shoujo?   
Rating: 7.5 / 10.0
by yuno19
April 19th, 2010, 8:40pm
Of course the drawing fit the shoujo manga. But the story?
I enjoy this story aside the drawing, 'this is briliant idea' my mind thought so. But shoujo?
Quite a paradox isn't it? Or, misfit?
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