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For other uses, see Ōoku (disambiguation).
Ōoku by Hashimoto chikanobu
Chiyoda Ōoku Hanami (1894). Moku-hanga by Toyohara Chikanobu in the Ukiyo-e style. Women of the Chiyoda Ōoku enjoy cherry blossoms at a Hanami

The Ōoku (大奥 great interior?) refers to the harem of Edo Castle, the section where the women connected to the reigning Shogun resided. Similar areas in the castles of powerful Daimyo were also referred to by this term.[1]

This included the shōgun's mother, wife, and concubines. Rumored to house several thousand women, including maids and servants at one point, the Ōoku was, as much as any other part of Edo Castle, a focal point of political intrigue for the Tokugawa shogunate.

There were no male adults admitted onto the floor of the Ōoku without the Shōgun. The corridor through which the Shōgun entered was called Osuzu Rōka (御鈴廊下?) "passage of the bells", derived from the ringing of the bells to announce the entrance of the Shōgun. This corridor was the only route which connected the Ōoku to rest of Edo Castle, and it was usually locked.

Later, a second corridor was built as the escape route against disasters such as fires or earthquakes.

A lady in the rank of an Otoshiyori (御年寄?) or Jōrō Otoshiyori (上臈御年寄?) held the reins of power in the Ōoku, and she attained the influence equivalent to a Rōjū in Edo Castle.

The Ōoku was built inside the Edo Castle in 1607 by Tokugawa Hidetada. He passed a special law for the Ōoku to completely separate it from the outside world. Therefore, noblewomen living in the Ōoku couldn't leave the castle without permission and No women of Ooku can has a relationship with Man and the Man in Ooku just a shogun and his child. This system lasted for nearly 200 years.

There is two famous personal ladyship of woman in Ooku Number one is dejima who was personal ladyship of gekkoin,the mother of seventh shogun of tokugawa shogunate.dejima was expelled from Ooku at 1714 because She has relationship with a man named shinggoro

Number two is ikushima the personal ladyship of tenshoin,she out from Ooku at 1858 and stay with Ooku until her dead,she was buried at satsuma

Ooku is last otoshiyori or the senior ladyship of Ooku was takiyama after the new government took Edo castle She move to kawaguchi city in saitama prefecture and buried in shakujo-ji temple

In popular culture[edit]

There are many popular portrayals of the Ōoku.[2] Recent ones include the Japanese television drama Ōoku: Hana no Ran, Atsuhime (NHK Taiga drama), Oh! Oku (2006 film), Ōoku: The Inner Chambers (Japanese manga), Masami Okui best album: Ōoku (2008) and Ōoku (2010 film).


  1. ^ The Satsuma Domain employed this term
  2. ^ ja:大奥に関する作品の一覧

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of ōoku at Wiktionary

Coordinates: 35°41′18″N 139°45′16″E / 35.688324°N 139.754389°E / 35.688324; 139.754389