During the reign of the third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, an infectious disease called red smallpox spreads only among young men, causing the population of males in the country to plummet to one-fourth that of the population of females. Iemitsu himself passes away suddenly of this illness too. Fearing that the Tokugawa bloodline would be cut off, Iemitsu’s wet nurse Kasuga no Tsubone sends for a young girl whom Iemitsu sired outside Edo Castle, makes her dress as a boy and secretly brings her up as the shogun within the castle’s inner palace. When the girl is 13, she is violated by a bodyguard who is later beheaded. After that, the girl will not open her heart to anyone. When she turns 16 as Tokugawa Iemitsu, Kasuga no Tsubone forcibly detains the monk Madenokoji Arikoto who has come to Edo from Kyoto and presses him to return to secular life. Together with his disciple Gyokuei, Arikoto is made to serve in the inner palace as Iemitsu’s attendant. In an audience with Iemitsu, Arikoto is astonished to realise that the shogun is a female.
on October 23, 2012