Most of us have heard of Kabuki, a traditional Japanese theater performance with only male actors. Contrary to kabuki, the Takarazuka Revue Company is an all-girls musical troupe that perform both Japanese and Western-style musicals. (Just to sidetrack, kabuki is coming to Singapore!) 

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Fine Romance, 1947

Founded in 1913 by Ichizo Kobayashi to attract more people to the hot springs of Takarazuka in Hyogo Prefecture, these performances attracted a huge crowd and gained popularity among ladies, who longed for the “ideal male” portrayed by the otokoyaku (female actress who played the role of the male)

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Each actress will play the role of a male (otokoyaku) or female (musumeyaku) character. | Photo source

Only those who have undergone rigorous training in the renowned Takarazuka Music School are given the opportunity to perform in one of the five troupes: Flower, Moon, Snow, Star, and Cosmos. Senka troupe is reserved for older females who wish to continue performing.

Students will graduate to become performers in The Takarazuka Revue Company. | Image source: Takarazuka Music School

Here’s a peek into their daily schedule:

Image source: Takarazuka Music School

Since their inception, these girls have performed in countless countries, from Berlin to Taiwan. Together with magnificent stage set-up, extravagant costumes, well-choreographed dances and beautiful voices, the actresses give powerful performances that captured the hearts of the (mostly) female audience.

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Western-related musicals with detailed costumes and props

To find out more about Takarazuka and its influence on the female audience, please watch “Dream Girls” – a documentary that highlights the gender issues faced by Japanese ladies then and now.

Here’s a short clip.

If you are travelling to Tokyo, why not opt for a Takarazuka performance instead?

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