Over at the Haikasoru blog, Pancha Diaz elaborates more on the James Tiptree Jr.-winning manga Ooku.
Ôoku just won the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and this is exciting for me on a number of levels. It’s always wonderful when a title I work on is nominated for an award, and even more so when it actually wins. That Ooku was the first comic awarded this prize, and that this prize recognizes the exploration of how we understand gender through literature makes me gleam with joy and pride. I am incredibly proud to be a part of the team that brings this excellent story to an English readership, and of the hard work Akemi Wegmüller does in translating Fumi Yoshinaga’s exceptional work. For the curious, we use a variation on Elizabethan English because we feel it is the best way to convey the archaic Japanese Yoshinaga uses in the original.
The premise of Ôoku is simple: three-fourths of the men in Edo Japan are wiped out by a mysterious plague, and when it becomes clear that the disease is not burning itself out anytime soon, the women have to step into all the roles previously assigned to men. Including that of shogun. When we are first introduced to this world in volume, the Redface Pox has been around for over eighty years. Many people no longer remember a Japan plentiful with men.