Episode 40: Farewell Shibata Yukihiro

One of many nice collections of Shibata Yukihiro’s scripts.

Sadly, award-winning playwright and director Shibata Yukihiro passed away on July 19th. We recorded a short episode to honor him.

Do you have any Shibata-sensei shows you particularly enjoy? Or memories of the man? Please share them in the comments!

Links to things mentioned in this Podcast:

Links to shows mentioned in this podcast:

Special #16: “The Flowering of the Musical” (1960s)

The 1960s saw the Takarazuka Revue reach its 50th anniversary. It also saw the first Broadway musicals performed by the Revue, and an influx of all things 60s!

Photos from “70 Years of the Takarazuka Revue” publication (1984)

Sumi Hanayo as the Pineapple Queen in “Splendor of a Thousand Beats” (1961). She is flanked by Nachi Wataru and Uchinoe Noboru.
A photo taken in Takarazuka Familyland to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Takarazuka Revue (1964).
2nd European Tour: Paris, France (1965).
Maho Shibuki and Ohara Masumi in the 3rd Broadway musical of the 1960s: “Carousel” (1969).

Songs Used in This Podcast

All songs from the “Takarazuka Revue – After the War” CD Collection

“Save the Last Dance For Me” (Going Forte) Sumi Hanayo (1961)

“The Takarasienne are Coming” (Cheers to Takarasienne!) Maho Shibuki (1967)

“My Idol” (My Idol) Nachi Wataru (1968)

Links

Glossary

Bambies

shinjin kouen

Episode 38: Farewell Manaki Reika (and Touka Yurino)

Sorry this one is so late coming out! We originally recorded it back at the end of November, which is why some time references may seem a little off. But even late, we wanted to share our love! Join Kitty, Lella, and Jen as they discuss Star Troupe news and then share their love of recently retired Moon Troupe top musumeyaku Manaki Reika (and kumichou Touka Yurino).

(Apologies for the rough sound. One of our tracks wasn’t editable so we had to use our combined track in places which means we couldn’t isolate and remove some of the rougher bits and coughs.)

Actresses/Directors Mentioned in this Episode:

Aizuki Hikaru
Amatsu Otome
Ayahoshi Rion
Chapi (Manaki Reika)
Chinatsu (Houzuki An)
Hanafusa Mari
Jou (Kijou Mitsuru)
Kai-chan (Nanami Hiroki)
Kasugano Yachiyo
Katori Reira
Kouzuki Ruu
Makoto Tsubasa
Masao (Masaki Ryuu)
Mayupon (Kizuki Yuuma)
Mirion (Misaki Rion)
MiyaRuri (Miya Rurika)
Rei (Yuzuka Rei)
Reiko (Tsukishiro Kanato)
Saou Kurama
Seocchi (Seo Yuria)
Shiiran (Ichijou Azusa)
Tamakichi (Tamaki Ryou)
Touka Yurino
Toyoko (Suzumi Shio)
Umi-chan (Umino Mitsuki)

Ikuta Hirokazu
Koike Shuuichirou
Masatsuka Haruhiko
Saitou Yoshimasa
Ueda Keiko
Ueda Kumiko

Shows Mentioned in This Episode:

Click on the “Chapi” link above for all of the shows mentioned from her career linked from her TakaWiki profile!
Also…
Beside the Foggy Elbe / Estrellas
Love Blooms Out on the Murasakino
Man From Algiers

Additional Links:

“Tommy Tune in Japan” article on Sunday Morning show
“Tommy Tune in Japan” video clip from Sunday Morning show
Kitty’s translations about Manaki Reika
Salon de Takarazuka – Place to dress up and get your photo taken for a (steepish) fee (Japanese only)

Glossary:

  • Cafe Break – Takarazuka TV interview show that airs on a Tokyo station
  • Kageki (歌劇) – Lit. “opera”; name of one of the Takarazuka Revue magazines
  • kumichou (組長) – Lit. “group leader”; senior-most member of the troupe with special responsibilities over the troupe
  • mesen (目線) – Lit. “eye line”; making and holding eye contact
  • NHK – Japanese public TV station
  • otsukaresama (お疲れ様) – Lit. “you are tired”; a way of thanking/acknowledging someone’s hard work
  • Ouran Host Club – manga/anime that often references Takarazuka
  • sotsugyou (卒業) – Lit. “graduation”; because Takarazuka actresses are referred to as “students” during their career in the Takarazuka Revue, a way of referring to their retirement from the Revue is to say that they are graduating
  • taidan (退団) – Lit. “leaving the troupe”; retiring from the Takarazuka Revue

Special #15: The Golden Age of Takarazuka (1950s)

Hi all! A short episode continuing the history of the Takarazuka Revue, this time focusing on the 1950s. Please enjoy, and don’t forget to join the conversation on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter! Thanks!

Sources for this podcast episode:

  • 「夢を描いて 華やかに」(Painting Dreams Gloriously: Takarazuka Revue’s 80th Anniversary)  ISBN 4-924333-11-5
  • 「すみれ花歳月を重ねて」(Gathering Up the Years of the Violets: Takarazuka Revue’s 90th Anniversary) ISBN 4-484-04601-6
  • 「虹の橋 渡りつづけて 舞台編」(Continuing Over the Rainbow Bridge  Stage Volume: Takarazuka Revue’s 100th Anniversary) ISBN 978-4484146003
  • 「虹の橋 渡りつづけて 人物編」(Continuing Over the Rainbow Bridge People Volume: Takarazuka Revue’s 100th Anniversary) ISBN 978-4484146010

Songs used in this episode (from 「宝塚歌劇~戦後編~」Takarazuka Revue ~After the War~ album):

  • “What Is Your Name?” (What Is Your Name?) 1954 – Kasugano Yachiyo, Aratama Michiyo
  • “Farewell Song” (The Himeyuri Monument) 1953 – Akashi Teruko, Aratama Michiyo
  • “Today Is a Happy Sunday” (Swing High, Swing Low) 1951 – Koshiji Fubuki, Minami Yuuko, Utashima Utame, Akashi Teruko

Video link:

This is from an 80th anniversary video released by Takarazuka in 1994. The short 3 minute clip features Kasugano Yachiyo appearances from 1950s shows, including “Yu the Beautiful” (1951) and an ad for “A Vast Land of Roses” (1953) The link is on a Chinese vid site.

Images of the 1950s

The Grand Theater in the 1950s had two balconies! (From The Story of Takarazuka, published mid-1950s, personal collection.)

They had a really insane schedule of performances and appearances for the 1956 second Hawaiian tour  (From the Hawaiian Tour Album, personal collection).

The early 1950s marked the beginning of color GRAPH covers. Takarazuka Graph covers of the 1950s regularly featured musumeyaku stars (personal collection).

Urashima Utame (Jan. 1952)

Yachigusa Kaoru (Aug. 1952)

Tsukushi Mari (Nov. 1953)

 

They published small pamphlet programs in English for the 1950s Grand Theater  performances. Here are the covers of several, as well as some bio blurbs of the stars that were inside them. Funny reading. (personal collection)

 

Special #14: Montréal “World of Dreams”!

Here is a very tired but enthusiastic bunch of fans reporting on the latest “World of Dreams” North American tour.

It was so much fun! Thank you to Sakiko, Aube, J. College, and all of the people who made this show possible. Including, of course, the lovely ladies who came back to perform yet again in North America: Mariho Erina, Shihou Nanami, Ayaka Rei, and Tama Mayura. (Tama-san’s parents even came all the way from Japan to see her perform, which is so cool!)

If you went to Montreal or Vancouver for the show, please let us know about your experiences in the comments!

Episode 35: Catching Up on 2018!

Join Carly and Jen as they talk about the shows Carly has seen over the last few months.

Shows Discussed in This Podcast:
Company / Baddy
The Sky Is on the Banks of the Red River / Citrus Breeze -Sunrise-
Another World / Killer Rouge
Arch of Triumph / Gato Bonito!!
Messiah / Beautiful Garden
Senhor Cruzeiro!
Singin’ in the Rain
West Side Story
Hustle Mates!

Links to Things Discussed in this Podcast:
teamLab Borderless
Yayoi Kusama USA traveling exhibit
World of Dreams Takarazuka OG Canadian Tour

Terminology:
chuuzume (中詰め)

Special #12: The War Years (1930s and 1940s)

This was such a fun episode to put together, and I hope some of our listeners enjoy it! Sorry for the long wait, but hopefully we’ll have some more new episodes for you soon!


In the 1920s, otokoyaku (male-role players) had not yet begun to cut their hair short, and instead bound it up out of the way under hats. Performances often consisted of 3-6 different shows, including chorales, ballets, and Japanese and Western folk tale themes. Note the pre-war Japanese writing from right to left. [left] Otokoyaku star Tatsumi Sumiko (active 1920 – 1926, 1927 – 1935). Postcard, year and production unknown. Personal collection. [right] Ono Shinobu (active 1921 – 1933) as Ostap and Akatsuki Ruriko (active 1924 – 1929) as Ivan. Postcard, Ivan the Clever (Snow Troupe, 1928). Personal collection.


Even as early as 1935, Kobayashi Ichizou must have been thinking of how to use his troupe to help spread Japanese culture, as evidenced by this English-language pamphlet for the 1935 Flower Troupe production of Takara Sambaso / Yakko Dojoji / Hanashishuu at the Kyoto Takarazuka Theater. Amatsu Otome (active 1918 – 1980) pictured. Personal collection.


In the 1930s and 1940s, there were several productions set in China and occupied China. In the 1938 From Manchuria to Northern China, the two main characters travel by rail to see the sights, stopping at many cities that their Japanese audience would have known well. [left] Unforgettable Song / Cherry Blossom Girl / From Manchuria to Northern China program cover. Personal collection. [right] A scene in From Manchuria to Northern China, featuring 1930s stars Sonoi Keiko (active 1930 – 1942) as Beppu and Ashihara Kuniko (active 1929 – 1939) as Arima. Postcard, personal collection. Sonoi Keiko passed away in 1945, a victim of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.


Star Kasugano Yashiyo (active 1929 – 2012) in Pinocchio (1942), the last Western show to slip through the censors, since Pinocchio was from allied Italy. Hankyu publication “The Prince of the White Rose” (2013). For more glimpses of Takarazuka star and treasure Kasugano Yachiyo in action, check out this short 3 minute video on YouTube with footage from the 1950s (including Gubijin).


The Takarazuka Music School uniform changed to its current incarnation during the war, becoming more militaristic and reflecting allied German school influences. [left] A photo of three young Takarasienne along the Muko River in Takarazuka from 1932. Umeka Fumiko (active 1928 – 1941), Yashiro Keiko (active 1930 – 1942), and Kasugano Yachiyo. Hankyu publication “The Prince of the White Rose” (2013). [center] At retirement, a uniform version of the green hakama is often still worn. Seal of Roses final night in Takarazuka. Pictured are Mihara Shiho, Emi Kurara, and Shibuki Jun. From March 2004 GRAPH, personal collection. [right] The current TMS uniforms, as seen in an advertisement for the entrance exams in 2015. Pictured are the 101st graduating class. Personal collection.


It didn’t take long for the otokoyaku to be back in civilian suits and the ladies to be symbolically traveling around the world once more. And no doubt the occupational forces were an incentive to bring a lot of the USA into their shows. Note the floor mics, as this was before wireless mics were introduced in the Revue. Lots of lighting was used in Takarazuka productions even then, as Kobayashi Ichizou had been on a Tokyo electricity board of directors and was interested in its applications. Marriage at Rio / Tokyo ・ New York (Moon Troupe – 1949). From October 1949 GRAPH, personal collection.

Other YouTube videos

Edited (w/music) short 2 minute clip of the 1946 “Spring Dance” color footage
Color (silent) footage of the 1946 “Spring Dance” which re-opened the Takarazuka Grand Theater after the war.  (They call it “complete,” but I notice it doesn’t have the rockette fragments. Hm.)
Footage taken by a GI in Takarazuka City in 1948
Parts one & two of a Takarazuka Revue Sky Stage show about the international tours of the 1930s which includes maps and news footage, even if you don’t understand Japanese.

Music used in this episode
“Boogie-Woogie Paris” from Boogie-Woogie Paris (1949), sung by Koshiji Fubuki
“Akai Keshi no Hana” from Gubijin (1951), sung by Tsukushi Mari
“Ano Musume wa Suteki” from Chanson du Paris (1952), sung by Sumi Hanayo, Minakaze Youko, and Akashi Teruko

Movies that may be of interest
Sayonara (1957), where the heroine was based on Takarasienne.
University of Laughs (2004), which depicts the theater censorship of the early 1940s.

Musicals that may be of interest
Love and Youth of Takarazuka, about the Takarazuka actresses during the war years, performed with OGs and available on DVD (Japanese site).
Takarazuka Boys, about the young men who joined the Revue in the 1940s. It’s revived every few years and often stars an OG or two (Japanese site).

Websites that may be of interest
Takarazuka Wiki, for more information on actresses, directors, and performances mentioned in this episode.
Takarazuka Forever, a truly impressive private collection of vintage scanned Takarazuka Revue images.
Old Tokyo: Vintage Postcard Museum, which contains pictures and information on the Revue from the 30s and 40s.
Vintage Takarazuka, a Japanese website with scanned images from programs and record covers, beginning in the 1950s, as well as a lot of interesting info.

Resources
Robertson, J. (1992). Doing and Undoing “Male” and “Female” in Japan: The Takarazuka Revue. In T. S. Lebra (Ed.), Japanese Social Organization (pp. 165-194).
Takarazuka Kageki 90-nenshi: Sumire Hana Toshi o Kasanete (2004). (ISBN 4-484-04601-6)
Takarazuka Kageki 100-nenshi: Niji no Hashi Wataritsuzukete (Ningen-hen) (2014). (ISBN 978-4-484-14601-0)
Yamanashi, M. (2012). A History of the Takarazuka Revue Since 1914: Modernity, Girls’ Culture, Japan Pop.

Special #11: Trivia Quiz!

Aaaand, we’re back with more quiz show goodness! This time we are super excited that we managed to get a lot of the crew together, so please join Anna, Carly, Elin, Jen, Kitty, and Julie and play along at home.

Apologies, there were a lot of technical difficulties, which means that although we recorded this back in April, it’s taken us this long to get it put together, so some of the questions are a bit out of date already. There are also a lot of rough bits in the podcast quality, but we’re so excited that we got everyone together, we hope you’ll enjoy it anyway.

So, bring your A-Game! Then tell us how you did in the comments below. 😀

ETA: Elin and Anna’s drinking game (.pdf). The post they got the original idea from is here.

Episode 34: Senka (専科)

(Correction: Senka really got rid of the sub-categories in the early 80s, not late 60s.)

Links to Things Mentioned In the Podcast:

Actresses Mentioned:

Episode 32: Musumeyaku

Join Jen and Julie for some top star musumeyaku love. Present and past star love, with a bit of talk about musumeyaku fandom. (This was recorded the weekend just before Chapi’s retirement was announced, which is why we don’t mention it at all.)

PS – Okay! Email us with trivia questions for our game at takarazukapodcast@gmail.com.

PPS – This wasn’t mentioned in the podcast, but here is Tsubasa Makoto gushing about getting to be on stage with her former partner Dan Rei again today. I feel like we see a lot of these kinds of posts from OG musumeyaku, but not from OG otokoyaku.

Tsukushi Mari (1953)

Takamiya Sachi (1978)

Haruka Kurara (1983)

Hanafusa Mari (1999)

Links to Things Mentioned In the Podcast:
West Side Story
Makoto Tsubasa’s Koshiji Fubuki Tribute Concert blog post
Red River flier
Valentino

Actresses Mentioned:
Aihara Mika
Aono Yuki (Marimo)
Ayano Kanami
Dan Rei
Hanafusa Mari (O-Hana)
Haruka Kurara
Hizuki Hana (Ume)
Hoshikaze Madoka
Hoshina Yuri
Kisaki Airi
Konno Mahiru
Maaya Kiho
Manaki Reika (Chapi)
Misaki Rion (Mirion)
Nono Sumika
Sakurano Ayane
Senna Ayase
Shirahane Yuri (Tonami)
Toono Asuka
Tsukikage Hitomi (Gun-chan)