Why would anyone get obsessed by the Takarazuka all-female theatre?

… particularly the otokoyaku who play the male roles.

“Recent Anglophone scholarship has addressed this issue at length through one specific focus- that of sexuality. Two opposing opinions emerge- that the main attraction of Takarazuka for its fans is sexual… (Robertson 1998b, 145) or that it is ‘a-sexual and a-gendered’ (Nakamura and Matsuo 2003, 59)…”

“The Takarazuka otokoyaku’s portrayal of masculinity is different from that of a typical man, sometimes seeming sexless or gender-neutral, sometimes deliberately seductive and erotic.” Gender Gymnastics pg9

Being both at the same time seems not only possible but also particularly East Asian, with most all-female J-pop and K-pop groups somehow both sexy and sexless. The real appeal lies in this, though, I reckon:

“For many women, Takarazuka is also a place of respite from a boring, unpleasant or unfulfilling everyday existence as a female in Japanese society.” pg 7

making it similar to the reki-jo (history girl) phenomenon more recently.

3 Comments

  1. crella said,

    September 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    “boring, unpleasant or unfulfilling everyday existence as a female in Japanese society.”

    Are the lives of everyday western women exciting, pleasant and fulfilling? Western press/books always amuse me in that they imagine Japanese women as utterly miserable.

  2. crella said,

    September 11, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    As for Takarazuka I have NO clue as to why it’s so popular. I’ve been too many times (taking guests of DH’s university), I’ve never ever understood the appeal.

  3. alexcase said,

    September 12, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Good points both!


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