Sutezo: Ōoku: The Inner Chambers character explained 

Sutezo, a man who looks just like Arikoto, is brought to the Edo Castle to take Arikoto’s place and produce an heir with Iemitsu. In Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Sutezo is voiced by Jun Fukuyama.

When Arikoto and Iemitsu fail to have a child even after being together for a year, Lady Kasuga decides to bring a new concubine for Iemitsu. She manages to find a man who looks exactly like Arikoto.

Sutezo is the youngest and the only surviving son of his parents. He spends his days sleeping around with women. By doing that, he makes more money than his family business, and so he does not help his father with the business.

He refuses to listen to his father, as he believes that with the decline in the male population, men are no longer required to work. They should be kept inside their houses, where they will be safe from the disease, and treasured. 

So when he gets the chance to live at the Ōoku for the rest of his life, he eagerly accepts Lady Kasuga’s offer, not understanding that spending one’s whole life within those four walls can be suffocating. 

- Advertisement -

The father of the future shogun

Sutezo is just 18, and he is always happy. He talks a lot and does not worry too much. He is also one of the people who cannot help but be impressed by Arikoto, who is kind to Sutezo and offers to provide him with guidance, even though Sutezo is brought there to take his place.

Soon, Iemitsu gives birth to Sutezo’s daughter, Princess Chiyo, who will go on to become the fourth shogun. Like all her concubines, Iemitsu gives Sutezo a new name, O-Raku, and acknowledges him as Princess Chiyo’s father.

This makes Sutezo think that he will be the top-ranking official at the Ōoku one day. While celebrating, he falls and injures himself. As a result, he gets partially paralyzed, which means that he can no longer perform his duties at the Ōoku. 

After that, no one other than Arikoto bothers to visit Sutezo, not even Iemitsu. Despite being the father of the shogun’s daughter, he is easily forgotten by everyone.

During the last epidemic of Iemitsu’s reign, the servant hired for Sutezo catches red-face smallpox, and Sutezo also contracts the disease. Again, it is Arikoto who looks after him, without caring for his own life.

Ōoku The Inner Chambers Sutezo
Arikoto tends to Sutezo

Sutezo cannot understand why Arikoto would go to such lengths for a man he should hate. He thanks Arikoto for being kind to him and passes away, wishing to see his daughter’s face one last time.

Although Iemitsu orders for him to be buried with respect, she feels no sadness, as she lost interest in Sutezo’s life a long time ago. In the end, like most men at the Ōoku, Sutezo was also replaceable.

Sutezo never gets to be the top-ranking official at the Ōoku or even a father to his daughter. It is Arikoto, the man who looked after him during his last days, who goes on to become the Senior Chamberlain and guide Sutezo’s daughter as a father.

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