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Archive for the ‘Ôoku’ Category

Ôoku: Cross-Dressing in a Matriarchy

Part 5 here.

We’ve already discussed several speculative fiction pieces with cross-dressing characters in them. Yet, where a piece like BeruBara focuses on alternate history by adding in a few fictional characters to actual historic events, the world portrayed by Yoshinaga Fumi in Ôoku (大奥) is an alternate history in which most of the historical figures’ genders have been swapped. The author’s use of speculative fiction serves to illustrate contemporary issues of gender and sexism by showing them to us through a tilted mirror. How does cross-dressing function in a gender-swapped world?

Content: this section contains mild spoilers for the manga series Ôoku, and some spoilers specific to the plots of the Iemitsu (vol. 2-4) and the Ieshige-Ieharu arcs (vol. 8-10). The spoilers are primarily events that occur in the first volumes of each story arc (vol. 2 and vol. 8). (Keep in mind that because this is historical fiction, general information about said historical figures will contain some spoilers.) Some discussion of misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, and domestic violence. All images safe for work.

Ooku, Vol. 2, p. 117.

Iemitsu and Arikoto. Ooku, Vol. 2, p. 117.

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New to Ôoku? Start here. Introduction to this arc here.

Major spoilers for the Iemitsu (vol 2-4) and Tsunayoshi arcs (vol. 4-6), including the drama and the Ôoku: Eien film. Warnings: the plot of this story arc contains sexual assault and abuse, dubious consent, murder, the death of a child, and back-stabbing, and is generally NSFW.

Vol. 5, p. 16.

Tsunayoshi plays a game with her daughter Matsu-hime. Vol. 5, p. 16.

Hideous Beauty

One aspect of Tsunayoshi’s character that I found fascinating was her relationship to beauty ideals. (more…)

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First of all, many thanks to the audience member who attended Kathryn‘s and my Sakuracon panel “Cross-dressing for Fun and Profit in Anime and Manga”! You were all great, and we enjoyed your questions and feedback. We’re planning on publishing a version of our presentation on our blogs (and hopefully elsewhere if we’re lucky) complete with images and hyperlinks, so stay tuned.

Hiraga Gennai, or "Flail Hard with a Vengeance, a novel by me" (Vol. 10, p. 104)

Hiraga Gennai, though (Vol. 10, p. 104)

Although we ended up having to rush through the section on Ôoku, there seemed to be a lot of interest in the series. I realized when I was writing down information on Ôoku for a lovely con-goer who approached us afterward to chat about the series and Hiraga Gennai that I really, really needed to better organize my Ôoku posts instead of sending people to the category, which is starting to get rather large.  (more…)

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Introduction here. Spoilers for the Iemitsu (vol 2-4) and Tsunayoshi arcs (vol. 4-6), including the drama and the Ôoku: Eien film. Warnings: the plot of this story arc contains sexual assault and abuse, dubious consent, suicide, murder, and all the back-stabbing. I’ve kept the mostly images PG-13 (there’s a little gore in one) but the content is not safe for work.

"I'm not like the former Shogun, who agreed to anything." Vol. 183.

“I’m not like the former Shogun, who agreed to anything.” Vol. 183.

Brought to you by the Bechdel test

Let’s start with the most obvious point: Tsunayoshi can be a morally reprehensible woman precisely because the Ôoku has equal gender representation, both in her story arc and the work at large. (more…)

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Spoilers for the Iemitsu (vol 2-4) and  Tsunayoshi arcs (vol. 4-5), including the drama and the Ôoku: Eien film.

I have been thinking about this post for three years.

Vol. 4, p. 123. "Bored! Bored! Bored!" and sick of all her concubines.

Vol. 4, p. 123. “Bored! Bored! Bored!” and sick of all her concubines.

Initially, when I finished reading the Iemitsu-Arikoto story arc (see here for manga and here for drama recaps), I was emotionally raw. (more…)

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Ooku, Vol. 8, p. 188. Yoshimune and Hisamichi

Vol. 8, p. 188. Yoshimune and Hisamichi

I know most of my readers are familiar with Yoshinaga Fumi’s Ôoku, but in case you’re new here or would like to recommend the manga to a friend, I wrote a guest post over on Have You Nerd? introducing the English-version of the manga.

In 1716, Tokugawa Yoshimune, the great-granddaughter of the first Tokugawa shogun, become shogun herself, despite being the third daughter of a branch family and having a low-ranking concubine as a father. During her reign as Shogun, Yoshimune enacted a number of reforms, though she maintained Japan’s closed-country status for fear of a foreign invasion if anyone learned that the country was actually run by women.

Not the version of Japanese history you learned in school? Then get thee to a purveyor of fine manga, for you have much to study.

Full article: “History Lessons from the Tokugawa Matriarchy: Ôoku: The Inner Chambers” on Have You Nerd?

If you’d like to read my more in-depth analyses of the Japanese version, check out my Ôoku masterpost here on the blog.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you enjoy the final tragic episode of Ôoku: Tanjô, a.k.a. a preponderance of nope. This recap contains (major) spoilers for the drama and the manga. Episode 9 recap here; manga analysis hereÔoku category (film, manga, and drama) here.

Aired Dec. 14, 2012 on TBS.

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Finally reunited with my manga and it feels so good!

Aired Dec. 7, 2012, on TBS.

This recap contains spoilers for the drama and the manga. Episode 8 recap here; manga analysis hereÔoku category (film, manga, and drama) here.

In this episode of Things I Started Recapping a Year Ago Ôoku:

After Iemitsu gives her speech about being the Shogun and a woman, her audience bows. When they raise their heads again, the camera pans around the room to show not just Terutsuna smiling at her, but many of the other young heirs who appear to be girls dressed as boys.

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Aired Nov. 30, 2012, on TBS.

This recap contains spoilers for the drama and the manga. Episode 7 recap here; manga analysis hereÔoku category (film, manga, and drama) here.  I am probably never going to recap a show episode-by-episode again…. お待たせしました!

Image via TBS.

Image via TBS.

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First of all, a bit of (old?) news from the entertainment world: Kanno Miho, who played Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi in the film Ôoku: Eien, and Sakai Masato, who played Arikoto in the drama and Emonosuke in the film, registered their marriage on 2 April. おめでとうございます!May your work in excellent gender-based dramas lead to you happiness. (Sources: Oricon, Tokyo Hive)

Source: Oricon

Source: Oricon

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