A true story of love and treachery in the greatest harem
the world has ever known.

THE WOMEN OF THE INNER PALACE, the movie, brings to climactic finale three hugely popular mini-series of the same name about the tumultuous lives of the wives and concubines within the veiled, inner corridors of the Shogunate court. The series aired on Fuji Television Network between 2003 and 2005.
Directed by Toru Hayashi, the film delves into what is arguably the most celebrated romance scandal to ever take place in the expansive halls of Edo Castle. Set during the short reign of child Shogun Ietsugu Tokugawa, who assumed rule at the age of four, the plot revolves around a legendary power struggle between the young shogun's natural mother - concubine to the previous Shogun - and his official wife, who must watch her stake in the bloodline fade.


The year is Seitoku 2 (1712), and Japan has a new ruler. But Ietsugu, the 7th Tokugawa shogun, is only four years old. The power vacuum this creates has Edo Castle roiling in political intrigue and personal positioning of all kinds. One of Ietsugu's first acts is to employ a Noh actor, Akifusa Manabe, as his aide-de-camp, which naturally doesn't sit well with senior shogunal councilors. In the Oh-Oku inner palace, the woman who stands to lose the most influence and prestige is the deceased Shogun's wife, Ten'ei-in, for she is not Ietsugu's biological mother. That distinction goes to a beautiful young concubine, Gekkoin, whose usurpation of the Shogunate bloodline has earned her the animosity of Ten'ei-in and her following.

Fortunately, Gekkoin finds an ally in the recently promoted head matron of the inner palace, Ejima, a sagacious women of humble birth who takes pity on Gekkoin and endeavors to protect her from the storm of resentment that is brewing against her. When Ten'ei-in gets wind of a rumor of a secret romance between Gekkoin and Manabe, Gekkoin's only true ally before Ejima, the wheels of conspiracy are set in motion. While Ejima views Gekkoin's affair with Manabe as a terrible error in judgment, she vows to keep the romance a secret. But Ten'ei-in is already in league with disgruntled councilors to bring down Gekkoin and the infant ruler.

Ten'ei-in finds the leverage she's been looking for in Ejima. At a Kabuki play performance, Ejima finds herself reunited and subsequently enamored with a Kabuki actor, Goro Ikushima, who is not only strikingly handsome but proves himself chivalrous as well. Ejima and Ikushima strike up a forbidden romance of their own that burns so strongly, Ejima begins to grow careless. The palace erupts in scandal, largely orchestrated by Ten'ei-in, who is now in a position to force Ejima into a fateful choice between betraying Gekkoin and keeping the love of her life. The stage has been set for a tragic finale of Shakespearean proportions.

The Battle Lines Have Been Drawnc Around Two Love Affairs



  • Yukie Nakama
  • Hidetoshi Nishijima
  • Haruka Igawa
  • Mitsuhiro Oikawa
  • Kaoru Sugita
  • Machiko Washio
  • Kaori Yamaguchi
  • Maki Kubota
  • Yuki Matsushita
  • Reiko Takashima


  • Executive Producers : Chihiro Kameyama, Sunao Sakagami
  • Planned by : Toru Ota, Kenji Shimizu, Chiharu Nakasone
  • Producers : Kenichiro Hobara, Osamu Tezuka
  • Co Producers : Yasushi Ogawa, Kaoru Matsuzaki, Noriko Koyanagi
  • Director : Toru Hayashi
  • Screenwriter : Taeko Asano
  • Music : Katsunori Ishida

Filmed at Toei Kyoto Studio@ Production: Fuji Television Network, Toei, FNS, Toei Video

(C)2006 @Fuji Television Network, Toei, FNS, Toei Video. All Rights Reserved.