söndag 19 februari 2012


Takarazuka is a kind of lavish musical theater performed exlusivley by (and in 90% of the time for) women. They put on productions of Western musicals, stories adapted from shōjo manga and Japanese folktales.
It's acted a great influence on the shōjo genre, originaly inspiering works such as "Princess Knight", "Revolutionary Girl Utena" and "The Rose of Versailles" wich is also arguably Takarazuka's best known musical.

The male roles are played by actresses called otoko-yaku, who one Takarazuka instructor described to be "more suave, more affectionate, more courageous, more charming, more handsome and fascinating than a real male."

The otoko-yaku do everything that real men don't do: they tango, say sweet things, show understanding and kindness and never tire of expressing their undying love in the practiced baritones. Shinja Ueda, the president of the Takarazuka, told the Japan Times,
"The performances have an abundance of lines and acting that women want to hear and see from men, however unrealistic...but women are too embarrassed to say."
Explaining the mainly young female fanbase of the productions usualy takes one out of two routes, the one that seems to prevail in the west is that women are drawn to its inherent lesbian overtones. Lesbian themes occur in every Takarazuka performance, simply by virtue of the fact that women play every role.
The second theory is that women find escapism in the actresses performing free and empowered male parts. The subversion of stereotypical gender roles is something that's particurlarly appealing in a society like Japan with notoriously rigid conception of what is male and what is female.
For me personaly I think it's a lot simpler, it's about having something that's just for girls, by girls. Just like with Lolita fashion it's something generally doesn't really involve or appeal to men and it enables you to completley rejecting the notion that it's a man's world for just a moment. I don't really mind all the things I do for and with guys but that's probably due to the fact that I also have my escapism. I like "having my own thing".

7 kommentarer:

Alexandriaweb sa...

The costumes are so pretty :)

Makiko Nishiwaki sa...

Uah.Thank you for this articule.I think that kind of theatre is really intresting.I would someday watch one perfomance.Maybe I will find something on yt with english sub. ^ ^

By the way now I remembered in one chapter of Ouran High School Host Club manga was a one perfomance simillar to this :3

Josephine Valentine sa...

Makiko Nishiwaki: Glad you like it! There are a couple of snippets of subbed performances up if you struggle with Japanese and I belive the Rose of Versailes one is availeble in it's entierty.

Yes that's right, I was reading up on the apperance of it in "pop culture" and Ouran was on the list! I haven't read it all myself but maybe I should.

Colin Tougas sa...

I used to see ads for these plays in Osaka all the time, might be nice to see when I go back. I think they were doing Beauty and the Beast when I was there.

Josephine Valentine sa...

Colin Tougas: I think they're great and well worth your money and a visit, just like anything in Japan the standard is increadebly high wich makes it a true treat in showmanship. Or showwomanship I suppose.

Djungelsoda sa...

Varifrån kommer det andra klippet i inlägget..? Blev helt kär i låten och framförandet och skulle vilja se och höra mer :O

Josephine Valentine sa...

Djungelsoda: Det är ursprungligen en europeisk musikal som heter Elisabeth (エリザベート på Japanska)de har gjort många uppsättningar av den (sista klippet är från samma musikal men ett annat år) men jag gillar den från 2005, finns på piratebay http://thepiratebay.se/torrent/4461568/Elisabeth_(Takarazuka_-_Moon_Troupe_-)_2005