Posted in Culture, Music

Takarazuka (宝塚歌劇)

Most of us have heard of Kabuki, a traditional Japanese theater performance with only male actors. Contrary to kabuki, the Takarazuka Revue Company is an all-girls musical troupe that perform both Japanese and Western-style musicals. (Just to sidetrack, kabuki is coming to Singapore!) 

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Fine Romance, 1947

Founded in 1913 by Ichizo Kobayashi to attract more people to the hot springs of Takarazuka in Hyogo Prefecture, these performances attracted a huge crowd and gained popularity among ladies, who longed for the “ideal male” portrayed by the otokoyaku (female actress who played the role of the male)

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Each actress will be given the role of a male (otokoyaku) or female (musumeyaku) character.

Only those who have undergone rigorous training are given the opportunity to perform in one of the five troupes: Flower, Moon, Snow, Star, and Cosmos. Senka troupe is reserved for older females who wish to continue performing.

Students of Takarazuka Music School, who will graduate to become performers in The Takarazuka Revue Company.

Since their inception, these girls have performed in countless countries, from Berlin to Taiwan. Together with magnificent stage set-up, extravagant costumes, well-choreographed dances and beautiful voices, the actresses give powerful performances that captured the hearts of the (mostly) female audience.

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Western-related musicals with detailed costumes and props.

To find out more about Takarazuka and its influence on the female audience, please watch “Dream Girls” – a documentary that highlights the gender issues faced by Japanese ladies then and now.

Here’s a short clip.

If you are travelling to Tokyo, why not opt for a Takarazuka performance instead?

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