Against Japanism
Against Japanism
Jun 28, 2023
The Takarazuka Revue and Capitalist Urban Development w/ The BeruBara Tag Boom
Play • 1 hr 32 min

Alex from the BeruBara Tag Boom joins the show to discuss the history and politics of an all-women musical theater based in Western Japan known as the Takarazuka Revue. 

We discuss the class politics of the Takarazuka Revue, particularly its ties to an Osaka-based private railway corporation called the Hankyu Corporation (now a subsidiary of the Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group), the development of railway infrastructure and the suburbanization of Osaka in the early twentieth century that created the revue’s petty bourgeois or middle class audience base, as well as their children as a pool of future Takarazuka actors.

We discuss the contradiction between the apparent queerness of the Takarazuka Revue and the conservative values it promotes, and the role Takarazua has played and continues to play in the reproduction of Japanese capitalism and imperialism since the revue’s founding in the 1910s, through the rise of fascism in the 1930s and WWII, into the post-war period and the present day, and a correlation between the boom and bust cycle of capitalism on the one hand and the Takarazuka Music School’s enrollment rate and the revue’s overall popularity on the other.

We conclude our discussion by asking whether the Takarazuka Revue is fundamentally a reactionary form of art or a potentially liberatory form of art that can convey revolutionary politics.

Follow Alex on Twitter @NOAHs_Savior

Works Mentioned:

Gender Gymnastics: Performing and Consuming Japan's Takarazuka Revue by Leonie Stickland

A History of the Takarazuka Revue Since 1914 by Makiko Yamanashi

On the Reproduction of Capitalism: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses by Louis Althusser

Intro:  Cielo by Huma Huma

Outro:  Youth Doesn't Need Roses by the Beauty Pair

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