Collective Gender Fictions and the Takarazuka Revue


As a unique all-female musical company founded in 1914, the Takarazuka Revue provides significant insights into Japanese fan culture. In the Revue, otokoyaku (i.e., the women who perform male roles) perform heterosexual love stories on the stage. However, little attention has been paid to the fact that the otokoyaku also wear men’s clothing in their off-stage life and behave like men—at least visually—as if there is no performative distinction between their on- and off-stage lives. Leonie Strickland observes that otokoyaku can usefully be understood by looking at the three spheres in which they perform, that is, in their on-stage, off-stage, and private spheres, and that only in the private sphere do the otokoyaku return to who they are. However, I argue that the relationship between these three spheres is more complex because the gender fictions are not authored by the performers alone. In this paper, I want to propose the concept of “collective gender fictions,” by which I refer to the (pseudo-heterosexual) gender narratives created over time within an imaginary female community that contains predominantly female fans. These collective gender fictions are often invisible and even illegible to those outside the community but have more subversive potential than generally assumed.

Author Information
Maira Miyamoto, Tsuda University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: IICAH2024
Stream: Sexuality

This paper is part of the IICAH2024 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Miyamoto M. (2024) Collective Gender Fictions and the Takarazuka Revue ISSN: 2432-4604 – The IAFOR International Conference on Arts & Humanities – Hawaii 2024 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon