Like a Butterfly
Ôoku: The Inner Chambers, volume 1
By Fumi Yoshinaga
2009’s Ôoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 1 is the first tankōbon in Fumi Yoshinaga’s long-running alternate history manga series. Volumes 1 and 2 shared the 2009 Tiptree Award with Greer Gilman’s Cloud & Ashes.
Eighty years ago, the Red Pox swept across Japan. Men were peculiarly vulnerable to the disease; even now, there are four women for every man. Too precious to risk, men are kept safely sequestered from danger. Occupations once the monopoly of men are now the realm of women.
Good looking Yunoshin shares his seed generously with the poor women of his town, but social barriers prevent him from marrying O‑Nobu, the one woman he loves. Rather than spend his life living near the beloved he cannot have, he applies for a position in the Ôoku, the Shogun’s harem.
Yunoshin vanishes into the inner chambers, never to walk the streets of his hometown again.