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Multilayered Performers: The Takarazuka Revue as Media

  • Sonoko Azuma
Chapter
Part of the East Asian Popular Culture book series (EAPC)

Abstract

The Takarazuka Revue represents a distinct Japanese theatrical tradition, with close associations with shōjo culture since its inception in the early twentieth century. This chapter analyzes the structure of the Revue, focusing on its all-female performers, the “Takarasiennes,” the world they inhabit, and also fans’ actual and imaginary involvement with these “Takarasiennes” and their onstage and offstage existences. Shōjo-ness reveals itself not only in the themes of Takarazuka performances. The performers themselves embody multiple roles simultaneously, such as performing a character in a play while also performing the character type of, for example, otokoyaku (impersonator of male roles) who plays that very character. This multilayered- ness encourages fans’ imaginative participation in a shōjo fantasy world that both fans and performers create together. By having male roles performed by female otokoyaku stars, shōjo values are expressed and affirmed. The Takarazuka itself can be further conceptualized as a timeless girls’ school jointly maintained by both performers and fans, in which shōjo aesthetics and longings find expression.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonoko Azuma
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of SociologyKyoto Sangyo UniversityKyotoJapan

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