Ooku ~ Eien ~ Emonnosuke . Tsunayoshi-hen, the followup to the 2010 hit movie, Ooku, that starred Shibasaki Kou and Ninomiya Kazunari, goes back in time from the eight shogun Yoshimune to the story of the fifth shogun Tsunayoshi. Tsunayoshi’s reign corresponded with the Genroku era in the Edo period, a time which marked a reinassance in Japanese culture, and the set of Ooku ~ Eien recreates the splendour of this golden age with magnificent backdrops and gorgeous costumes.
In a fictional world where the roles of men and women have been reversed because of a mysterious epidemic that has led to a drastic decline in the population of males, it is the destiny of the female shogun Tsunayoshi played by Kanno Miho to carry on the Tokugawa lineage. Consumed by insecurity and loneliness, she continuously seeks love from the 3,000 handsome men that surround her.
However, the inner palace is worlds apart from paradise. Among the crush of males is the darkly charismatic Emonnosuke. Sakai Masato stars as Emonnosuke who bears a striking resemblance to the third shogun Iemitsu’s beloved Arikoto. Originally a poor court noble, Emonnosuke has risen through the ranks of the inner palace to hold the position of the inner palace’s general supervisor. A man who lives for power more than love, he maneuvers in secret and gets close to Tsunayoshi in an attempt to use her to fulfil his ambition.
Emonnosuke systematically takes advantage of Tsunayoshi but his ambition will not be fulfilled so quickly. Tsunayoshi is made to bed countless men in order to conceive an heir without even mourning the death of her dead daughter. Her anguished cries calling herself a “vile woman” is beyond Emonnosuke’s imagining and he struggles with his ambition. Then, there is scheme of Tsunayoshi’s doting father Keishoin, played by Nishida Toshiyuki, which fans the flames of male jealousy and amplifies tragic, beautiful love.
Other cast members in the movie which debuts on 22 December include Ono Machiko, Emoto Tasuku, Kaname Jun, Ichige Yoshie, Yuki Saori, Kudo Kankuro, Enoki Takaaki, Kiriyama Ren, Ryusei Ryo, Mitsushima Shinnosuke, Kaku Tomoharu, Nagae Yuki, Miura Takahiro.
But before that, TBS’ upcoming Ooku ~ Tanjou ~ Arikoto . Iemitsu-hen, the drama counterpart to Ooku ~ Eien, will depict the untold story of the birth of an inner palace with the gender roles reversed during the reign of the third shogun Iemitsu, and the pure love of a man and woman ripped apart in that process. Would it be an entertaining romp of palace intrigue, factions, male preening and fawning with good acting? What happens when what was once a patriachal society is suddenly turned on its head and women, particularly those of the nobility, who are used to being submissive, dependent and powerless have traditionally male roles and responsibilities, thrust on them in order to keep society functioning? How much would the gender roles change?