‘House Of The Owl’ Episodes 1-5 Recap & Ending Explained: Who Is Sarah Lawrence?

House of the Owl is a Japanese political drama that revolves around Ryuutaro Ougami, the nation’s top fixer, and his troubled family, each member grappling with their own set of issues. The series delves into the bureaucratic intricacies of Japanese society and how a small group of individuals strive to maintain their grip on power, a phenomenon prevalent across borders. They say blood is thicker than water, but for Ryuutaro Ougami, his own kin proves to be a source of turmoil for this morally complicated man. As a ‘fixer,’ Ryuutaro wields significant influence behind the scenes, with politicians of all ranks, including the Prime Minister, seeking his counsel to resolve their scandals and controversies. His role is akin to that of a retainer in a modern-day shogunate, a shadowy figure who holds considerable sway over those in power. To the general public, Ryuutaro remains largely an enigma, yet those at the upper echelons of the government rely heavily on his expertise to make their problems disappear discreetly, avoiding potential political fallout. 


Furthermore, through the portrayal of Ryuutaro’s youngest son, Ryu Ougami, the show offers a commentary on those seeking reform from within a corrupt system. Despite their privileged backgrounds, these characters make it their mission to help others. The series explores how a select few, motivated by a desire for change, navigate the complexities of a flawed system, often finding themselves embroiled in the very issues they seek to address.

Spoiler Alert


Who are the Ougamis? 

The Ougami family is an elite family living in Tokyo, with Ryuutaro Ougami, ‘the Owl,’ serving as the head. Initially, all the Ougami siblings seem to be well off in their lives, but as the series unfolds, it reveals the problems they have been facing. On a funny note, House of the Owl feels like a political Japanese version of The Royal Tenenbaums. Moreover, all of the characters in this drama have some kind of uncanny association with the biblical cardinal sins. 

Ichiro Ougami is the eldest son of Ryuutaro, who has had an unhappy married life. His neglect of his wife was further intensified when he fell for his mistress, Nami. Ichiro’s wife, Saho, suspects him of cheating on her but has no other choice but to remain in this marriage. It is also revealed that Nami is using Ichiro in a plot to get rid of Ryuutaro. After Ichiro receives a scolding from his father about taking care of his wife, Ichiro, for a short time, ditches Nami and tries to repair his relationship with his wife. Nevertheless, Ichiro ends up becoming more obsessed with his mistress, who no longer wants to associate with him. 


Yumiko Ougami is Ryuutaro and Kyoko’s second child, married to Kageyama Masahiro, a stock broker. Compared to her brother Ichiro, Yumiko is in a happy marriage with two kids, but things take a significant turn when her husband loses all their savings on an inaccurate Bitcoin prediction. Encouraged to do so by his friend, Masahiro went all in, hoping that the money would grow, but instead, the currency ended up crashing. As a result, he also lost his job but kept all of it a secret from his wife. Yumiko finds out about their bankruptcy after she finds out that all her accounts have gone nil. 

One of the protagonists is Ryu Ougami, the third son, who is the only righteous family member among the lot. He is fairly aware of who his father is and doesn’t accept the morally ambiguous things his father does to ‘protect’ the nation. As a result, years ago, he moved to Boston to attend university and to stay away from his father’s influence. Upon his return, Ryu starts working for a non-profit organization working for the betterment of senior citizens in Japan. Despite there not being enough money in the profession, Ryu is proud of the honest work he does. 


The youngest child of the Ougami family is Risako, a 25-year-old girl who wants to become an idol in the Japanese entertainment industry. Risako is quite naive and doesn’t know better about the exploitative nature of the industry she wishes to work in. Fragments of the bitter truth are revealed when she is finally selected as an idol by an agency. The regulations that come with being an idol seem more like they’re turning Risako into a slave. Moreover, Risako only wanted to become an idol and sing her own songs. Risako is dating Koji Sero and fears that her father will never accept him. 

Why did Takeuchi’s wife pay the journalist?

At the beginning of House of the Owl series, Manabu Takeuchi, the son of Hajime Takeuchi, passed away under mysterious circumstances. The real reason for his death has never been revealed to the public, but the truth was that he was killed in a brawl that he instigated in an intoxicated state. After receiving a huge amount of money from Takeuchi’s wife, a journalist plans to reveal the truth about this incident, but to stop him, Ryuutaro threatens him. Takeuchi was a candidate for the next Prime Minister and feared that the truth about his son’s death would tarnish his own image. Later, Ryuutaro goes to Takeuchi’s wife, who comes clean about paying off the journalist. She believed that it was because of Takeuchi’s negligence and abusive behavior that their son had died. She felt that a person like Takeuchi should never be leading the people of the country. Ryuutaro even orders his men to kill Manabu’s murderer in prison to tie up loose ends. 


What is the global bill?

The Global Bill is a piece of legislation aimed at opening up Japan’s markets to foreign investment. Introduced by Prime Minister Watanabe, it is a legacy project inherited from her father that she is determined to see through. However, the bill faces significant backlash from Japanese citizens who fear that an influx of foreign corporate powers could challenge the nation’s self-sufficiency and dissolve its cultural identity. Additionally, there are concerns that the Global Bill could jeopardize the livelihoods and land rights of Japanese farmers, a contentious issue that has long been a source of heated debate within the country’s political landscape. Prime Minister Watanabe finds herself in a precarious position, with her approval ratings at an all-time low and an increasing likelihood of being replaced after the upcoming election. She views the Global Bill as a last-ditch effort to secure her legacy, claiming that it will ultimately bring more economic prosperity to Japan. However, her opposition sees more nefarious motives at play. They argue that the true intent behind the Global Bill is to bring in money through private investment channels that would primarily benefit the already wealthy elite and further aggravate economic inequality within Japanese society.

Why does Watanabe request help from Ryuutaro?

Prime Minister Watanabe was adamant about passing the Global Bill, which Takeuchi was in support of too; however, for it to be passed by the parliament, Watanabe needed a majority vote. Takeuchi is an opportunistic man, and he knows that the bill would ultimately make him rich, which is why he and Watanabe support each other. However, so far, the majority of votes are owned by Maruyama, who seems to be quite neutral about the idea of the bill, but his party members might be against it altogether.


When Takeuchi tries to convince him about the future prospects of this bill, Maruyama seems quite unfazed, which is why Watanabe asks for Ryuutaro’s help. Ryuutaro, unaware of Watanabe and Takeuchi’s real intentions, helps find leverage against Maruyama. Ryuutaro gets Maruyama’s brother arrested for sexual assault even though there is no evidence, but the tactic works as Maruyama joins forces with Watanabe and votes for the approval of the bill. 

Who is Sarah Lawrence?

Sarah Lawrence is an American journalist investigating the death of Manabu Takeuchi. She suspects foul play in his death and that the person incarcerated for the murder was actually framed. Murata Max, a conspiracy theorist whom she associates with for her investigation, tells her that Manabu’s murderer was killed on purpose to cover up a bigger conspiracy. He implies that it might even be possible that Takeuchi himself had his son killed to protect his reputation so that he could become the Prime Minister. Moreover, with his son’s death, Takeuchi rose up the ranks in his party, even receiving sympathy from people. 


In order to find out more about The Owl, Ryuutaro, Sarah runs into his son, Ryu Ougami, who drops her phone and offers to have it repaired. Though it was not a chance encounter, Sarah does end up developing feelings for Ryuu because of his genuine nature to help other people. Sarah was taken by surprise to know that the son of a man like Ryuutaro could turn out like this. Despite being from different cultures, they find uncanny similarities with each other. Eventually, Sarah and Ryuu even start dating, which reaches Ryuutaro’s ears. The Owl tries to warn his son that she might be dating him to learn more about him, but Ryuu is adamant about dating her. 

Who is the loan shark?

Taka, the loan shark, is first seen when Ichiro approaches him for a loan of five hundred million yen for his restaurant. However, when the restaurant needs more work, he borrows another sum of a hundred million from Taka. Taka, on the other hand, has set eyes even on Yumiko and her family. He wants to eliminate Ryuutaro for reasons that have not been revealed yet, but it is quite obvious that Ryuutaro has wronged a lot of people for his self-righteous purpose. Moreover, Ichiro’s mistress, Nami, is actually working for Taka. 


What can we expect in the next episode?

It hasn’t yet been revealed what Ryuutaro Ougami is currently planning, but he will reveal a surprise in the next episode. Takeuchi might finally make his moves against Saijou to make him withdraw from the election. As for the Global Bill, it is now confirmed that the bill is going to pass, which would ultimately affect millions of lives in the country. Considering the international effects this bill would have, one might even wonder if global powers are at play here.

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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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