It wasn’t too long ago that it was unheard of to find woman actually playing female roles in Japanese theater. Much like Shakespeare, female parts in Noh dramas and Kabuki were always played by men dressed as women, which today would seem kind of strange.
In 1914, however, the trend did a 180 with the establishment of the first ever women only theater group – the Takarazuke Revue.
What made the revue so interesting of course was that the entire cast was made up of women including all the male parts. Those assigned to play male roles would cut their hair short and learn to talk with a more masculine voice.
In 1946 there was a push to allow male members onto the stage with the establishment of the male troupe. But this was opposed by the female members and the troupe was dissolved with the last male member being let go in 1954. There was even a play made around the incident called the Takarazuka Boys.
The Takarazuka Revue was composed of 4 troupes since 1933, Flower (hana), Moon (tsuki), Snow (yuki) and Star (Hoshi). Then on January 1, 1998, the Cosmos (sora) troupe was born, making it a 5 troupe organization.
The theater itself is even special as it contains 5 secrets which enhance every performance.
Takarazuka Revue Posters
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