- Deep within Edo Castle was the oh-oku (the inner palace)-the expansive living quarters for the wives and concubines of the Tokugawa Shogun. The entrance was under the tightest security, and the corridors were barred to all men except the Shogun himself. It is said that over 1,000 women lived in the oh-oku to serve the Shogun. For him, life in the oh-oku was like living in paradise.
Oh-oku is the story of the picturesque lives of the women living in the hidden, maze-like inner structure of Edo Castle. Inside, the women wielded their beauty and knowledge: some of them to win the Shogun's love, to obtain political power, or to climb the ladder of the oh-oku hierarchy. Their lives were filled with romance, hatred, anger, envy, tears, and persecution.
The first Oh-oku series aired from June to August 2003, and focused on the last several years of the oh-oku history. It told the story of the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the oh-oku, and the lives of the women who lived through these times.
The second series, Oh-oku - Episode One- aired from October 2004, focused on the birth of the inner palace. The 2nd Shogun Hidetada's wife Oeyo established the oh-oku. It was then enhanced and perfected by Kasuga-no-Tsubone, the nanny of the 3rd Shogun Iemitsu-also known as one of the most influential and powerful women in the oh-oku, and the main character of this drama. The story takes place in the Sengoku Era, also called the Warring States Period.
The third Oh-oku series takes place during the 5th Shogun Tsunayoshi's era. Oh-oku is completely controlled by the Shogun's mother, Keishoin. Giving birth to the Shogun's two children, Tokumatsu and Tsuruhime, Oden-no-kata is Keishoin's favorite concubine. Tsunayoshi's official wife, Nobuko - who came from the famous Takatsukasa Family in Kyoto - has no children yet. Coming from a very noble family, Nobuko always stands against Keishoin and Oden-no-kata, both who come from average households.
More than anything, Shogun Tsunayoshi loves to study. Since a very early age, Keishoin valued studies rather than martial arts and provided her son with plenty of education. Especially passionate about Confucianism, Tsunayoshi was eager to follow the “filial duties" (duties of a child to his parent) written in “The Analects of Confucius". That is why he devoted himself to his mother, and is at her beck and call.
Tsunayoshi has two close advisors that he trusts very much: Narisada Makino and Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa. The story begins when Tsunayoshi one day visits Narisada's residence...