Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective


TakarazukaTakarazuka is an all-female theatre group which performs lavishly-staged, Western-style musical shows.

Because all of the performers are women, it provides an interesting counterpart to kabuki, Japan’s all-male theatre tradition. Just as the onnagata (female roles are coveted by kabuki actors, lead male roles are the most prestigious in takarazuka.

Started in 1924 as a gimmick to draw new customers, it struck a chord with young women, and its popularity has skyrocketed.

The longest-running show is ‘The Rose of Versailles’, about a woman who poses as a male guard to protect Marie Antoinette.

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