Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan 0th Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0520211506
ISBN-10: 0520211502
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Jennifer Robertson casts the Takarazuka Revue as a hybrid protagonist in her innovative and demystifying analysis of sexual, social, and national order and disorder in twentieth-century Japan."—Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, author of Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America

From the Back Cover

"Jennifer Robertson casts the Takarazuka Revue as a hybrid protagonist in her innovative and demystifying analysis of sexual, social, and national order and disorder in twentieth-century Japan." (Carroll Smith- Rosenberg, author of Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (July 21, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520211502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520211506
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,807,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Captain Cook on June 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Takarazuka Kagekidan (usually referred to in English as the Takarazuka Revue) has almost as many official publications as the Chinese Communist Party. Most of the information available about the famous all-female theatre troupe has been thoroughly blue-pencilled by the revue administration before being disseminated to its leagues of fans. Kobayashi Ichiyo, founder of the Hankyu Railway and the man behind Takarazuka, promoted the revue as wholesome family entertainment. He would do back-flips in his grave if he were to discover that his beloved Takarasiennes were the subject of a book on gender and sexuality. The Hankyu-Toho fortress is hard to penetrate. A recent publication on Godzilla was subtitled "The book that Toho doesn't want you to read." One Takarazuka fan warned Jennifer Robertson during her research, "[The Takarazuka administration] is mean. They have their ways. They could twist your arm the way developers do when they want you to sell land." Undeterred, Prof. Robertson has succeeded not only in demystifying the revue but also in framing it against the background of Japan's turbulent sexual politics.

Interest in the revue in the West has been limited until recently and even then it was Takarazuka's curious sexuality was the focus of attention. When Takarazuka performed in London in 1994, members of the city's gay community filled the houses. A documentary film on the revue from the same year, Dream Girls, directed by Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams, is a homosexual interpretation of the revue that has been shown widely at lesbian and gay film festivals. Robertson's interpretation is not so simplistic, nor is there any of the underlying sarcasm of Dream Girls. Indeed it is obvious that she is a fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lili on April 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i first read this book when I took it out of my college library. I'm a huge fan of the Takarazuka Revue, as well as studying Japanese history and culture. I use this book in almost all my classes, and find it to be a wonderful read in my free time as well. I own two copies; one I've marked up with my notes and one I keep nice. It is an academic work, so some people may find it too heavy, but I think it's great!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Nelson on May 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jennifer Robertson attempts to use the all-female Takarazuka theater revue as a model for the sexual politics and gender relations present in modern Japanese society. Robertson does this by looking at overlapping discussions of sexuality, gender roles, popular culture, Japanese fan culture, and Japanese national identity as these aspects are portrayed by the Takarazuka Revue. Robertson discusses taboo subjects like cross-dressing and lesbianism, and forms of public gender performance in theater and popular culture in order to dismantle cultural stereotypes of Japanese women and men. The important idea that I believe Robertson is trying to express in this ethnography is that gender and sexuality are not monolithic nor are male and female distinct categories. In fact, sexuality and gender are constantly being redefined through history and are therefore more fluid in nature. If you are at all interested in gender relations, alternative gender roles, Japanese culture, or female theater this book will surely entertain and enlighten you.
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6 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
The mere fact that the author puts so much effort into examining sexuality and androgeny in Japan is commendable. The book gives a lot of insight to Sexuality in Japan (mostly 2oth C.) through her analysis of the all-female Takarazuka Revue founded in 1919.
Chapters include (1) Ambivalence and Popular Culture; (2) Staging Androgeny; (3) Performing Empire; (4) Fan Pathology; (5) Writing Fans.
Chapters 1,2 and 3 I thought were particularly well-written and informative. Robertson does a great job examining gender roles and performances that are often very permeable (despite the fact that many people are in delian of this). great book.
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9 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd V. Williams on May 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Someone should really recommend a dictionary in addition to this book.

Words like 'dearth', 'didactically', 'enantiomorph', 'cancan', 'croon', 'corporeal koan', 'cachet', and 'largess', just to name a few, are completely unnecessary. Rewrite this book in ENGLISH and I may just take another look at it.

From the small bit I was able to understand through this screen of nonsense, there is only a minimal amount of real content to be gained. Takarazuka is a fascinating aspect of Japanese culture, and I was greatly disappointed by this book.

The author's first mistake seems to have been to take on too big of a task. The chapters do not connect with each other. And there is a general failure to trace various aspects of the theatre either from or two underlying Japanese cultural ideas.

A simple way to start such an investigation would be to write about which roles the (female) audience identifies with, is it the otokoyaku (men played by women) who caresses the happy blonde haired female? Or do they imagine themselves as the women who are seduced on stage by the otokoyaku? Does it matter which they identify with? Answers to questions even as simple as this one are never addressed in the text.

The whole time I read this book I felt as though the author was just trying to disguise the fact that she really doesn't have anything at all important to say, even after a decade of research.

If you're linguistically inclined, you may want to give it a try. But it doesn't seem likely that there's much of importance here.
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