Secrets of the "distant chambers" of the shogun, or How the conception of the Japanese rulers took place

Secrets of the "distant chambers" of the shogun, or How the conception of the Japanese rulers took place

Categories: Asia | Culture | History

Although in In the Middle Ages, Japan was headed by the emperor, since the 12th century, the actual power in the country belonged to military dictators — shoguns. They were representatives of one of the powerful clans who led the army during wars and the suppression of riots. At the same time, the military commander possessed no less, and sometimes even more, fullness of power than the monarch. The title of shogun was inherited from father to son. It is quite obvious that the ruler did not want his family to lose power, and because of this, the intimate life of the shoguns was complicated to the point of absurdity.

Secrets of the "distant chambers" of the shogun, or How the conception of the Japanese rulers took place

The shogun dynasties ruled for centuries, so it was important for the head of the family to leave a successor. But even the slightest doubt about the legitimacy of the offspring's birth could cast doubt on its legitimacy. Issues related to the succession of the shogunate led to strife and bloody internecine strife. To avoid trouble, the intimate life of the ruler was written in a strict framework.

Secrets of the "distant chambers" of the shogun, or How the conception of the Japanese rulers took place

It's amazing, but the shogun, who had the right to command hundreds of thousands of lives, could not control himself in bed. Any sexual contact he had was planned, limited, and even documented. For the intimate joys of the ruler, special rooms were attached to the shogun's palace, called Oo-oku or "distant chambers".

The wing of the palace, reserved for the sexual life of the shogun, had an impressive area. But it was not at all a platform for voluptuous experiments. The bedroom itself, where the owner of the castle made love, was very tiny. On the rest of the square there was a whole office serving this very personal process. But let's not intrigue you and get right to the point. How did sex happen between the shogun and his wife or concubines?

The shogun informed about his desire to indulge in passionate love in advance, at least a couple of hours in advance. He called a woman called o-togi-bodzu, who was responsible for organizational issues in sex. The ruler told her the time and voiced the name of the woman with whom he intended to spend the night.

The employee immediately went to the lucky girl to tell her important news. She took the woman out of her room and took her to the "distant chambers". There she was undressed in a special office, carefully examined and then dressed in special white clothes. Such attention to the body was connected not only with hygiene and health considerations. The inspection was supposed to prevent the concubine from bringing weapons or poison into the bedroom.

Secrets of the "distant chambers" of the shogun, or How the conception of the Japanese rulers took place

The vigilant o-togi-bodzu and her assistants even took pins out of the concubine's hairstyle. Instead, she was given a comb. After everything was ready, the woman was escorted to the next room adjacent to the bedroom. There naulozhnits... were undressed and examined again, the comb was removed from the hairstyle and could even be replaced. Other people have already done this. As you guessed, this was necessary in order to exclude an internal conspiracy.

Only after that, the woman entered the bedroom, where she was waiting for the shogun's arrival. By the way, he might not have come at all, because state affairs are always more important than intimate pleasures. If everything worked out, then the ruler finally retired with his chosen one. Although no, I can't call it solitude. Together with the shogun and the woman in the cramped bedroom of Oo-oku was the organizer of o-togi-bodzu and her two assistants.

Three employees of the "distant chambers" were located on couches to the right and left of the shogun's bed, or sat at his feet with their backs turned. This was not necessary at all to protect the ruler if the woman decided to strangle him with her hands.  In this case, just a meter from the bed, loyal samurai bodyguards crowded behind the partition on the veranda.

Secrets of the "distant chambers" of the shogun, or How the conception of the Japanese rulers took place

O-togi-bodzu and her henchmen listened attentively to what the couple was talking about. They had to stop the woman's attempts to persuade the shogun to make her child an heir. The probability of such a development was extremely unlikely. But, nevertheless, in the "distant chambers" they liked to be safe. Who knows how the shogun, thawed after sex, will behave? What if he recklessly gives a word that he will regret and that will affect the history of the empire?

But why would so many women be needed if only one would be enough? The fact is that in the shogun's palace, no one trusted each other and it was customary to be safe. Therefore, there were three observers, one of whom, called o-tyro, was not just a servant. This position went to a concubine, once especially beloved by the shogun, to whom he later cooled down.

Secrets of the "distant chambers" of the shogun, or How the conception of the Japanese rulers took place

Nothing could be more reliable —the o-Tyros usually hated the favorites who took their place. It was impossible to find a more vigilant guardian of the dynasty. Any attempt to appeal to the shogun with a personal request was stopped immediately.

As we have already said, the Oo-oku sleeping complex consisted of many rooms. The master's bedroom itself occupied barely a tenth of it.

Secrets of the "distant chambers" of the shogun, or How the conception of the Japanese rulers took place

The main thoroughfare of the "distant chambers" was the "Osuzu corridor", marked on the diagram with the letter A. The shogun got into it through the door B, on which hung a bell. If he called, it could only mean that the owner was approaching. All other employees entered these rooms through another door.

The central corridor was duplicated. There was another one exactly under it, for emergency evacuation. It could be accessed by an inconspicuous staircase. The shogun's bedroom itself, on-jodan, is marked with the letter C. As we said, its area is not impressive. The letter D shows "room 20 tatami", a kind of hall. The letter E indicates the "porch on the entrance side", or Irikawa-en. It was there, separated from the bedroom by a light partition, that the shogun's vassals and bodyguards crowded.

Secrets of the "distant chambers" of the shogun, or How the conception of the Japanese rulers took place

It remains to add that when the shogun met in the bedroom with his wife, the control was not so tight. But the spouses were still not left alone. Similar rules were in effect until the mid-19th century, when the shogunate was abolished. It is quite clear that the sex life of the most powerful man in Japan was not too cloudless. But we should not forget that people of this rank do not belong entirely to themselves. Sex and the possible conception of a child were then part of politics and had to be reckoned with.

In Japan, until the 20th century, strange orders related to sex generally reigned. It is not surprising that now the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun are so burned out by all sorts of deviations.

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