When I very first came to Japan, a woman told me that she had gone to see a Takarakuza Review show. Of course, I didn’t know what that was, and she explained that Takarazuka are shows in which only women perform. Women play both the male and female roles.
At the time, I thought, “That seems really lesbianish!” I was told, no, no, nothing like that at all.
Now twenty years later, I sort of have the Japanese attitude toward Takarazuka–not lesbianish, just a wonderful show. I think it’s because I no longer live in a country where Bruce Jenner becoming a woman makes huge news. I now live in a country where the Mr. Donuts spokesperson is a famous transvetite and nobody bats an eye. (He/She is named Matsuko Deluxe, in case you are interested.)
Anyway, I was excited when I saw this poster at our local Comu Comu:
A free show! Yes!
I went, and MANY other people were there just like me. Since it was first come first served, they had to turn people away. I am really lucky I got to see the performance.
It was singing, very Broadway/Las Vegasy.
Like Kabuki, an actress either plays a male role or a female role and sticks with that her entire career. I didn’t think there was a lot of attraction between the man and woman on stage–they did not make a lot of eye contact and they did not touch. I am not sure if that was intentional or not.
Takarazuka is incredibly popular, and has a fan base.
At the end, women in the audience gave them presents. The audience was indeed mostly female, but there were men there. It felt like just any sort of play or performance. I mean, honestly, most normal Broadway type shows are mostly female anyway. Watching flamboyant performances (as opposed to something like sumo) tends to be more of a woman thing, I think.
I enjoyed it. I am not going to become one of their devoted fans, but I have to admit that I had been curious about it, and now that curiosity has been satisfied!
One of my favorite blogs (Jlptbootcamp) has a post about Takarazuka.