By Deanna Timmons
What is Takarazuka?
Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku are the most well-known Japanese theater genres. However, another popular theater genre is Takarazuka. Takarazuka is a Japanese musical theater genre that features an all-female cast, which means female performers play both the female (musumeyaku) and male roles (otokoyaku). The performers don either role by changing their hairstyles, mannerisms, and both singing and speaking voices for a performance.
This is in direct contrast to Kabuki, which has an all-male cast that dons both female (onnagata) and male roles (otoko) to portray their stories. Although the founder of Kabuki, Izumo no Okuni, was a woman, women were banned from performing in 1629 and are still barred from playing Kabuki roles even today.
In 1913, the first Takarazuka group was founded in the city of Takarazuka in Hyogo prefecture and opened the door to the many women wanting to perform on stage. This musical theater type is famous in Japan for its ornately detailed costumes, expressive makeup, and its flowy and fast-paced dancing styles that take from both traditional Japanese and Western dance styles. The stories behind the musicals take inspiration from Japanese folktales and shoujo manga (comics aimed at young girls), as well as famous stories in Western culture.
Takarazuka performance tickets often sell out fast, but at Huis Ten Bosch these performances are available throughout the day at the Muse Hall and are free of charge with a One Day Passport.
Kageki The Revue
Huis Ten Bosch has its own Takarazuka performing group called Kageki The Revue which performs both at the theme park and at events throughout Japan. The group is broken down into different teams that are composed of different members and a team leader. The official teams are Blue Rose, Team Flower, Team Heart, Team Shine, Team Wing, and Team Happiness. Each team practices for their team’s performance which is scheduled throughout the season. This means that Kageki The Revue has a large variety of show themes year-round such as Shougatsu, Tanabata, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas. No matter the time of year, you can witness an entertaining performance.
Huis Ten Bosch Kageki Academy
Kageki The Revue is unique because it chooses its members primarily from its academy: Huis Ten Bosch Kageki Academy. This academy takes talented young women and trains them to be performers under the guidance of talented staff. With training in Takarazuka performance, classical and popular vocals, and ballet and modern dance, these young women are set up for a bright future. After years of training, the young performers can set their sights on joining Kageki The Revue or other Takarazuka performance groups throughout Japan. The next time you visit Huis Ten Bosch, drop by the Muse Hall for a spectacular Takarazuka performance by Kageki The Revue.