Gyokuei: Ōoku: The Inner Chambers character explained

In Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Gyokuei is determined to follow Arikoto for life, even if that means serving at the Ōoku. Gyokuei’s character is voiced by Yuki Kaji.

Years ago, Arikoto saved the life of a child, Gyokuei, who had lost his parents and was starving on the streets. Arikoto showed him affection when no one else dared come near him, and that earned him a devoted follower for life.

Gyokuei’s one true path

Even though Gyokuei is a monk like Arikoto, he believes that it was not the Buddha who saved him, but Arikoto. He thinks of Arikoto as the reincarnation of the Buddha, who was born into this world for the purpose of saving more people like him.

Arikoto saves Gyokuei’s life one more time when Lady Kasuga threatens to get him killed if Arikoto does not break his vows. Gyokuei begs him not to give in, but Arikoto agrees to do as Lady Kasuga says to save Gyokuei.

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Lady Kasuga threatens to get Gyokuei killed

Arikoto has no choice but to stay at the Ōoku, but Gyokuei can return to Kyoto and continue living his life as a monk. However, Gyokuei, who had only become a monk to stay by Arikoto’s side, chooses to live at the Ōoku with Arikoto, as he believes that there is only one true path for him, and that is following Arikoto. 

Gyokuei takes care of Arikoto, serves him, and even gets angry on his behalf. Later, when Arikoto and Iemitsu fail to produce an heir and Sutezo gets paralyzed, Arikoto asks Gyokuei to have a child with Iemitsu. 

Gyokuei, who is named O-Tama by Iemitsu, does not like her much, but he understands how hard it must have been for Arikoto to ask him to take his place, so he keeps his own feelings aside for Arikoto’s sake and agrees. 

Gyokuei then makes it his personal mission to get Iemitsu pregnant before her other concubine, as he does not want to let Arikoto down. Gyokuei, who will only ever serve Arikoto, and Iemitsu, who will only ever love Arikoto, finally find common ground.

A samurai at heart

Although Gyokuei is Arikoto’s most devoted follower, he is very different from him in many ways. Unlike Arikoto, he refuses to accept his circumstances with a smile. Instead, he is ready to fight those who wish to harm him or Arikoto. 

When Gyokuei goes to fight the other Grooms of the Bedchamber for tormenting Arikoto, he is sexually and physically assaulted by them. Even though he is very young, he refuses to let anyone see that he is hurt and promises to kill them.

To keep that promise, Gyokuei kills the cat that Iemitsu had given Arikoto and frames the man who hurt him. The man is then forced to kill himself. Arikoto knows that it was Gyokuei’s doing, but he does not punish him, as he understands what Gyokuei has gone through.

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Gyokuei gets his revenge

Arikoto had once told Gyokuei that he thinks more like a samurai than a monk, and Arikoto was not wrong. Gyokuei adapts to life at the Ōoku faster and better than Arikoto. He becomes the best swordsman there.

Gyokuei is brave enough to talk boldly and frankly to even the shogun. Despite living at the Ōoku for so long, he continues being suspicious of people when Arikoto is concerned. 

When Gyokuei was young, a monk had chased him and told him that he will become the father of a ruler in the future, and Gyokuei does father one of Iemitsu’s daughters.

After Iemitsu’s death, Arikoto fulfills Iemitsu’s wishes and guides her daughter like a father once she becomes the shogun. On the other hand, Gyokuei, after serving Arikoto all his life, takes his vows again and becomes a monk, whose Buddhist name is Keisho-in.

Also Read: Arikoto: Ōoku: The Inner Chambers character explained

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