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Takarazuka: Sexual Politics & Popular Culture in Modern Japan
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Takarazuka: Sexual Politics & Popular Culture in Modern Japan

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  77 ratings  ·  11 reviews
The all-female Takarazuka Revue is world-famous today for its rococo musical productions, including gender-bending love stories, torridly romantic liaisons in foreign settings, and fanatically devoted fans. But that is only a small part of its complicated and complicit performance history. In this sophisticated and historically grounded analysis, anthropologist Jennifer Ro...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 21st 1998 by University of California Press
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Oct 27, 2007 Tosh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Obessive Japanese culture fans
While I was in Osaka a friend of mine had an extra ticket to the Takarazuka Theater. Which by the way, is very hard to come by - due to the fact that it's fan base are all women - from early 20's to middle-aged. And they never ever give up a ticket for a performance with this performance group or school of theater.

Basically what the Takarazuka specializes in doing is sort of a low-rent style of bigger theater broadway pieces or classic narrations - such as 'Gone With The Wind.' The catch is all...more
As a Takarazuka fan and consumer of Japanese pop culture, I highly recommend this text for insight not only to the Revue, but to the role of gender and female sexuality in Japanese culture both past and present.

The research spans the (then) 80 year life of the Takarazuka Revue, and blends in the sociological research seamlessly. I'd say this is a must read for anyone who has an interest in modern Japanese popular culture, especially in regards to the "shoujo" genre. The research on the social a...more
The author definitely cares very much about the subject matter and took great pains to research it thoroughly. The only grouse I have is that the hyped-up expose of the tawdry, shady world of Takarazuka never happened in the book, Or did I miss it?

Takarazuka, from the performance I saw at the Takarazuka Theatre in Hyogo Prefecture a couple of years ago, is a well-oiled entertainment machine with a successful business model that is determined to thrive and profit. The stable of stars ensure the s...more
I loved this book. Meticulously researched, clearly written. The topic is utterly fascinating. Robertson, an anthropologist, writes about the all female Takarazuka review theater in Japan, outlining its history, unpacking the complex gender issues at play in the performances and the institution established, looking at its collusion with the age of Japanese imperialism, and finally a fascinating look at the fan clubs that have been established around it. Anyone interested in world theater, Japane...more
A really great book about the Takarazuka Revue, which is a theatrical company producing all-female musical spectaculars in Japan. This well-researched tome focuses on the psychology of the people who go to see the Revue, and the gender politics which have shaped the Revue's place in the entertainment industry.

Takarazuka provides a scholarly as well as entertaining view of the Revue. I came away knowing much more about the institution as well as Japan. I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest...more
The Takarazuka is an all-female theatrical revue famed for its splendor and its otakuyaku -- women playing male roles, offstage as well as on.

More theory than history. Focused on the immediate pre- and post-war years; not much sense of the current Takarazuka. Despite Robertson's claims that femininity is as learned as a masquerade as masculinity (which I believe), she mostly focuses on the otakuyaku instead of the musumeyaku.

The pictures are great. The androgynous otakuyaku are seriously hot.
Dani Phelps
I read this book, and relied on it heavily for my thesis on Japanese rock music. I made comparisons between the all female theater and otokoyaku with the visual kei males who sometimes played female roles. I also referenced kabuki and onnagata, writing about how all these performers portray the opposite gender, and how the performers use it to cater to their audiences.
I genuinely enjoyed this, despite it being rather dry in places. It definitely reads like a thesis! However, the research had been well done, and thus provides a wonderful overall view of Takarazuka and its place in modern Japan.
Robertson's Takarazuka is easily my favorite non-fiction work to date. I loaned this book to a friend a few years ago and have yet to get it back. I will post a fuller review when I have obtained a new copy.
Nov 11, 2010 Ninja is currently reading it
This is obviously Jennifer Robertson's thesis. And it reads like one. Very dry but I swear I will finish it. It took me 4 years to read Proust's Remembrances, so I think I can do it.;-)
Absolutely fascinating.
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Jennifer Robertson is Professor of Anthropology and the History of Art at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has a non-budgeted appointment as Professor of Women's Studies and is a faculty associate in the Anthropology/History Program. Robertson is a former director and member of the Center for Japanese Studies, and an associate in the Science, Society and Technology Program and Center for...more
More about Jennifer Ellen Robertson...
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