Sunday, September 14, 2014

He is she! The all-female Takarazuka Revue Company.

The all-female Takarazuka Revue Company is such a fanatically supported institution that you know it must touch something deep in the Japanese psyche, or at least the female Japanese psyche. Some ninety percent of fans are female and most are under twenty-five. And the stars they adulate the most are the otokoyaku, the actresses who play the male parts.

In Japan's male-dominated society, which only recently has begun to give any more than lip service to equality of the sexes, the otokoyaku represent a vicarious way for young women to live out fantasies of strength and power. But what they really come for is romance, the pure, old-fashioned, fairy-tale variety.