Archives for : Fumi Yoshinaga

Ooku: The Inner Chamber Volume 9 (manga review)

ItemDescriptionOoku: The Inner Chamber Volume 9

Created by Fumi Yoshinaga

U. S. Distributor: Viz Media

American Release Date: Jan. 21st, 2014

Format: Manga / Paperback / 224 pages

Genre: Historical Edo Period

Age Rating: M for mature Theme

Overall Personal Rating: B+


Yoshimune brought many changes to the inner chambers in her time as shogun, and now even after death she brings another: the men of the Inner Chambers must study Western learning and discover a cure for the Redface Pox. For if Japan can’t increase the male population, it’s only a matter of time before a foreign power discovers their secret and invades!

Will they get past their distrust of westerners and their strange ways in order to discover new proceedures of keeping safe?


As Ooku moves through its series I  am beginning to appreciate with a new reverence for the story telling and viewpoint of how history is made. For volume 9 I was very impressed with the simple way in which the depiction of how ska;l things can make a big difference in the daily lives of people. Throughout history it has been no secret that the Japanese are very nationalistic and have always protected their boarders from outsiders. This volume gives us a very up close and personal view of how a closed society,  such as Japan during the Edo period, deals with new foriegn ideas. The introduction of a blond haired northern European into the inner chambers to instruct the methods of western medicine creates some interesting side effects. Seeing how he is basically left alone and ignored by the rest of the members of the inner chambers is very much a close up of how all people react to someone with foreign looks and foreign ideas. Much has not changed even today in our so called enlightened world.

Of course the writing was still heavy handed with the much undeserved old english translation, but the point was still conveyed non the same. I did enjoy the artist quality of the drawings and layout of the pages. There was also a much smother transition and pacing that I had not felt in prior volumes. I see this as a hopeful sign as we move through the rest of the series. There was also a rather nice amount of friction being woven into this particular arc in the series. I see that there might be some power plays coming and not so much inside the inner chamber but rather in the government itself.

Overall Grade: B+

Ooku now has a solid tradition to play off of and it just might become the story of how soap changed Japan, at least in this series.  It is funny how we seldom think about the little things in life like soap and where it came from. I found that the introduction of this simple household item is playing a huge role in the development of a country trying to find its way into the next phase of life. Ooku is not a series for everyone, but I think those who like to small historical activist and movement this series would be a fun read. Even though Ooku has changed the gender roles it still follows a very normal and typical progression though time and it has now take on the role of teacher rather than just that of being a study of sociology in a fictional format.  I am looking forward to the next volume.