Gestalt Mash have my fifth piece on Fumi Yoshinaga’s excellent Ooku: The Inner Chambers.
The fifth volume (the last one translated to date) of the series slows the pace down after the brisk historical jaunting of the previous volume. Again, the primary concern is the failure of the Shogun to provide the sort of leadership required to steer Japan through troubled times but Yoshinaga subtly shifts the emphasis of the book opening up whole new vistas. Indeed, while the previous volumes have been all about the need for the Japanese ruling elite to reflect the changed demographics of Japanese society, enough time has now passed that we are on (at least) the second generation of female rule. In Yoshinaga’s alternative Edo period Japan, women now have exclusive control over all aspects of society. This changes the power dynamic between the sexes and so presents Japanese culture with another ‘fact’ that it needs to reflect.