Book

Takarazuka

Jennifer Robertson

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780520211506
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920125 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520211506.001.0001
Takarazuka

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The all-female Takarazuka Revue is world-famous today for its rococo musical productions, including gender-bending love stories, torridly romantic liaisons in foreign settings, and fanatically devoted fans. But that is only a small part of its complicated and complicit performance history. This historically grounded analysis draws from over a decade of fieldwork and archival research to explore how the Revue illuminates discourses of sexual politics, nationalism, imperialism, and popular culture in twentieth-century Japan. The Revue was founded in 1913 as a novel counterpart to the all-male Kabuki theater. Tracing the contradictory meanings of Takarazuka productions over time, with special attention to the World War II period, this book illuminates the intricate web of relationships among managers, directors, actors, fans, and social critics, whose clashes and compromises textured the theater and the wider society in colorful and complex ways. Using Takarazuka as a key to understanding the “logic” of everyday life in Japan and placing the Revue squarely in its own social, historical, and cultural context, it challenges both the stereotypes of “the Japanese” and the Eurocentric notions of gender performance and sexuality.

Keywords: Takarazuka Revue; love stories; romantic liaisons; sexual politics; nationalism; imperialism; popular culture; twentieth-century Japan; Kabuki theater; Japanese

Book.  320 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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