Takarazuka – Dream Girls

[EDITOR’S NOTE: If the video doesn’t play… here’s the link.]

I came across this video of the Takarazuka, an all-female troupe who are known for their singing and dancing talent in Japan. They are nationally recognized and admired by their dominantly female fans.  One interesting aspect of fandom surrounding the troupe is the fact that the women who portray male leads are worshipped by their female fans to a much greater degree than women who portray females. Though the actors are women, they personify the “ultimate man”–romantic, understanding, etc..  Seeing the video, made me wonder about whether or not a troupe like this one would receive the same acceptance and/or fandom in the west.  Could the fandom by Japanese women be a result of the male-centered society/culture they live in?  In addition, another interesting point to consider is whether or not the acceptance of cross-dressing in Japan is reflective of a more tolerant society-Japanese anime and manga (comics) deal with cross-dressing, homosexual, and serious adult themes on a regular basis. Also, could the fandom expressed by so many Japanese housewives be a camouflage for something else? —perhaps, dissatisfaction with their status in society?

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