Places, Images, Times & Transformations


All-female troupes specializing in musical extravaganzas; organized by the entertainment tycoon and politician Kobayashi Ichizō in 1913 as the principal attraction for his Takarazuka resort area near Osaka. Today, these troupes remain a unique fixture of Japanese popular culture. Takarazuka is a manifestation of the Japanese fascination with the androgynous performer. The major stars are "beauties in men's clothing" who perform the male roles. Spectacular production numbers are the rule in these gaudy performances. Landmark Takarazuka shows during the last half century have included Kaze to tomo ni sarinu (1952, Gone with the Wind) and Berusaiya no bara (1974, The Rose of Versailles). (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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