The Takarazuka Revue’s post-war tours of Hawai’i: Exploring Japanese female agency and the restrictions placed upon it | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Modern Popular Culture in Middle-Class Japan
  • ISSN: 2051-7084
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7092

Abstract

In 1955, the HJJCC (Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce) invited the performers of an all-female Japanese theatre called the Takarazuka Revue to participate in the Annual Japanese American Beauty Queen Contest. The intention of the HJJCC was to present the performers, all women born and raised in Japan, in a way that showcased their Japanese oriental beauty. In this article I focus on this post-war Hawaiian tour and will consider how the female performers saw it as an opportunity to reject the rigid gender roles that were a persistent feature of the patriarchal system in Japan. Both the performers and the Japanese female fans of the Revue had hoped the tour would become a means of promoting broader perceptions of Japanese women’s identities. However, in reality, both the female performers and their fans continued to face societal restrictions and opposition to their efforts to move beyond established gender roles. By considering their vision of female agency, the resistance it met and the viewpoints expressed by the performers and their female fans, I argue that this post-war tour of Hawai’i enabled many Japanese women to reimagine and redefine their own identities as modern women living in post-war Japan.

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2022-09-01
2024-02-28
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