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Takarazuka: The Interplay Between All-female Musicals and Girls’ Culture in Japan


Time & Location

March 23, 8pm EDT



For our second episode of a special “Girls’ culture series”, we will focus on the Takarazuka Revue, a popular Japanese all-female theater group founded in the early 20th century. The melodramatic fantasies of feminine women and crossdressing-masculine women is a cultural phenomenon that has been interplayed with Shojo manga and anime: the Revue has inspired titles like Princess Knight, Sailor Moon, and Revolutionary Girl Utena, while it adapted classic shojo manga like The Rose of Versailles for the stage. This phenomenon has also influenced even wider aspects of Japanese pop culture such as idol culture and the Boys’ Love genre.

Come join our panel discussion with four Takarazuka experts: Leonie Stickland, Nobuko Anan, Daniela Mageanu and Zuzanna Baraniak-Hirata. They will delve into the company’s history, its distinctive world and fandom, as well as its mutual relationship with Shojo culture, while exploring its impact on empowering Japanese girls and women in a society with a rigid conception of gender roles.





The discussion will be followed by a live Q&A. Now is your chance to ask the experts your questions about the Takarazuka Revue! Please ask your question when you register. Live commentary will also be enabled on the YouTube stream, so you can participate in the Q&A session live as well.

This is a FREE event. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email.



Dr. Leonie Stickland:

Leonie Stickland is Lecturer in Japanese language and Japanese studies at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. Her research interests include gender, sexuality and ageing in the East Asian context. She is also a former in-house translator and voice actor for Takarazuka, producing English-language audio dramatizations of its productions. Using exclusive interviews, historical records, autobiographies, and years of close-hand observations, her book, Gender Gymnastics: Performing and Consuming Japan’s Takarazuka Revue (Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press, 2008), extensively explores the motivations, attitudes and experiences of performers and their fans.
Official Website

Dr. Nobuko Anan:

Nobuko Anan is Professor in the Department of Foreign Language Studies at Kansai University, Japan. She researches and teaches on Japanese theatre/performance, visual arts, and experimental and popular culture. In her monograph Contemporary Japanese Women’s Theatre and Visual Arts: Performing Girls’ Aesthetics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), she explores what she calls Japanese “girls’ aesthetics,” where Japanese women reject stereotypical adult womanhood by performing as “girls” in theatre, manga, film, and installation arts from the modern to the contemporary period.
Official Website

Daniela Mageanu:

Daniela Mageanu received her M.A in Japanese Studies from University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Her Master’s thesis, “The aesthetics of Takarazuka: a case study on Erizabēto – ai to shi no rondo,” examined the performance aesthetic of the theatre through the case study of Elisabeth – The Rondo of Love and Death, and analysed how it influences the adaptation of pieces which fall outside this style. Currently she lives in Takarazuka, Japan and is continuing her research on performance aesthetics, adaptations to the stage, and the relationship between Takarazuka and shōjo culture. Her interests include Japanese theatre, Japanese popular culture and the impact of theatrical performances on spectators from a psychological perspective, focusing specifically on its role in the processing and releasing of trauma.

Zuzanna Baraniak-Hirata:

Zuzanna Baraniak-Hirata is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at Ochanomizu University, Japan, and Adjunct Instructor at the Saitama University and the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo. Her research project is an ethnographic study of Takarazuka’s fan culture in the Kansai region where she explores the relationship between Revue’s marketing strategies, formation of fan networks and urban space. Her research interests include gender studies, Japanese theatre and Japanese popular culture. Her recent articles include “Takarazuka within Pop-culture: Representation of the Takarazuka Revue after The Rose of Versailles” (in Japanese) and “Bending Gender in Japanese Arts: Queering Girls’ Culture, Takarazuka Revue and Boys’ Love Manga” (co-authored with Agata Włodarczyk).
Official Website



Previous Session

Shojo Manga: The Power and Influence of Girls’ Comics

Watch all the episodes on YouTube.


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