Takarazuka Revue

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RPF Fandom
Name(s): Takarazuka Revue (宝塚歌劇団 Takarazuka Kagekidan)
Scope/Focus: members of Takarazuka Revue
Date(s):
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Takarazuka Revue is a Japanese all-female musical theater troupe with an active RPF fandom.

Background

The Takarazuka revue is an all-woman theatre revue company based in Takarazuka, about half an hour from Osaka. It was founded by Kobayashi Ichizou and is run by the Hankyu corporation.

Originally founded in 1913, as a counterpoint to the all-male Kabuki, it put aside the historic associations of actresses with prostitution to follow a code of Pure, Proper and Beautiful. It has gained popularity and at present has five troupes performing a rotation of shows in two main theatres and various other theatres around Japan, as well as the occasional international tour.

Terminology

  • Otokoyaku - Women who play the male roles. Literally translates as 'male role'. They are meant to represent the ideal, perfect man, and the top performers usually have huge, mostly-female fan-bases.
  • Musumeyaku - Women who play the female roles. Literally translates as 'daughter role'. While the Musumeyaku roles used to be traditional, in the last couple of decades, there have been stronger roles for the Musumeyaku.
  • Top Star - The lead Otokoyaku and/or Musumeyaku of each troupe are classed as the Top Stars.
  • Golden Combination - The perfect top star combination is rare. The most famous one is Wao Youka & Hanafusa Mari, who spent 6 years as the Top Combi of Cosmos Troupe.
  • Joukyuusei - Upperclassmen are Siennes who have completed their 7 year basic contract, and have stayed on beyond it.
  • Kakyuusei - Lowerclassmen: The actresses who have been performers in Takarazuka for less than seven years, under the basic contract.
  • OG - Old Girls, also known as the actresses who have retired from Takarazuka. Some continue to perform, others choose not to.
  • Kumichou - The Troupe leader. Each troupe has one, who is the eldest member of the troupe, but not usually the Top Star.

Fandom

Sumire Code

The Sumire Code is an unwritten code of conduct that Takarazuka fans are expected to abide by when they enter the fandom, and the actresses once they join the company. The code is designed to protect the image of the company whose motto is "be pure, be proper, be beautiful" as well as the actresses themselves. For the actresses, it means that they must remain unmarried throughout their tenure with the company and maintain an impeccable public image. They cannot give out personal information about themselves or other company members. In addition, actresses are expected to maintain the appearance of their assigned gender off-stage.

For the fans, the generally guidelines include the following:

  • Respect the actresses' privacy.
  • Do not disturb the actresses if you happen to encounter them outside of the theatre.
  • Do not defame or spread rumors about the actresses.
  • Do not share fan club information online or with anybody outside of the club.
  • Do not do anything that might hurt the company’s revenue stream.

Fandom Within Japan

Outside of Japan

“You may have noticed that we aren’t collectively as open about sharing and subbing as some other fandoms, and asking around publicly for videos is often met with coldness if not hostility. It’s nothing personal; Takarazuka’s parent company just has a noted history of viciously hunting down copyright infringement and snuffing it out (plus, we adore, protect, and support our stars with quite a bit of zeal). That does make it hard for newbies.”[1]

Due to the Sumire Code's objection with hurting the company’s revenue stream through piracy, traditional hard coded fansubbing is not typical within the fandom. However, soft subs (subtitle tracks that are created but are only useable along side an alrady obtained video) are used by some fansub groups as it only gives the subtitle file, with the aim that it is used along side a legally purchased DVD.

RPF

Primarily femslash, some gen.

Further reading

  • Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan by Jennifer Robertson
  • Gender Gymnastics: Performing and Consuming Japan's Takarazuka Revue by Leonie R

Links & Resources

References

  1. ^ Takarazuka for Newbies