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Takarazuka, Oscar

lord_breetai in takarazuka


I'm really interested in Kagekidan and Takarazuka... although I've never had a chance to see any (not counting the Teikoku but I mean real Kagekidans)... someone showed me this community... So if someone could help me get ahold of some Takarazuka DVDs or just welcome me on my next step down the path to becoming a Kagekidan nut... that's cool. *waves* Kagekidan theater rocks!!!


Yes I am a Sakura Taisen fan and that's how I found out about Kagekidan theater... infact it was only cause I was planning on going to Japan next August and was looking for a "geninuine" Kagekidan to check out during that time that I found out about Takarazuka... I know it's not the only one out there but it was the only one I found info on... Still from what I hear its the best and the greatest one... so yeah, I'll have to get a show from that... Cool.
Takarazuka is definitely the best and most popular. The only other one that I know of is called "OSK" (I have no idea what that stands for...) From what I understand their performances cost less to attend than the Takarazuka's, but they're also lower budget too. I've never seen an OSK performance so I don't have much experience with them. *^^*
Hey, somebody said "OSK"? (^^) It stands for Osaka Shouchiku Kagekidan. They are forced to disband in 2003 when Kintetsu cut off support to them, but 1/3 of the last OSK members managed to reform themselves into New OSK. They are performing their annual performance at Takefu's flower festival right now. I just went to it last weekend.

It is true, that their tickets costs less, but it still costs 8000yen or so for big theater performance. On the other hand, small theater performance is around 1500-5000yen, depending on the type of the hall they are using.

I've heard

of other Kagekidan's... And my Japanese friend has told me there are more... some even older then Takarazuka... In the City Hunter movie there was a Shinjuku Kagekidan... not sure if that's a real one or not... I also belive there was a Kagekidan troupe mentioned in Megazone (and everything in Megazone was supposed to be true to life).

and of course I'll catch the Kayou Show in August... thats one of the the big reasons I wanted to go in August... I'm not missing that at all. And I love the Kayou shows... especially Kaijin Bessou (which is probably the closest to true Kagekidan they've gotten and the final number between Sakura and Maria... Yum!)

I have no doubt that I'll love Kagekidan theater... I just need a chance to try it out.
Actually, ST is based on SKD (Shouchiku Kageki-dan, found in 1928, disbanded in 1996), according to Hiroi Ouji's interview. I believe Hiro has mixed SKD with Takarazuka as ST was developed.
Whoops, sorry. In the interview, it basically said that Hiroi had gone and seen the shows at Kokusai Gekijyou (demolished in 1982) of Asakusa where SKD performed their biggest show. He said Teikoku Gekijyou of ST is Kokusai Gekijyou. Also, his aunt is one of the 16 girls who are the very first members of SKD.

You can find some pictures of SKD on those site.
(Site by former SKD member. You have to scroll all the way down till you see small photos. Click them and you can get more and larger photos.)
(A cafe right by now-gone Kokusai Gekijyou.)

SKD does not have troupe like Takarazuka. It is a kind of long story. First, an entertainment giant Shochiku decided to have their own Kagekidan in 1922 and founded OSK under advise of Mr.Kobayashi, the founder of Takarazuka. Then, OSK had a Tokyo performance, and it was a huge success. Shochiku decided to have a Tokyo branch of their Kagekidan. Instead of becoming OSK Tokyo troupe, the branch becomes independent Kagekidan, which is SKD. Kintetsu, a railroad company became joined owner of OSK later, and Shochiku eventually let go of OSK, but kept SKD.

Both OSK and SKD had put their emphasis on revue. It was known as "Takarazuka of acting and/or singing, OSK and SKD of dancing" and all three of them are competing for popularity until revue is no longer favorite past time for Japanese. All three Kagekidan (Actually four, if you include Nichigeki Dancing Team, a revue company with both male and female members.) struggle for survival when "Takarazuka had luck to find Berubara, OSK and SKD (and NDT) had not."

Right now, former SKD members formed two small group, STAS and Baraety SKD with goal to revive SKD in future.

Sorry this gets really long, but I just cannot stop my hands typing when it came to revue in Japan. I always wish I was born in time when four Kagekidan were competing at their very best...
I thought ST's Kagekidan was modeled after Takarazuka until that interview comes out, too. Oh, do you want full translation of the interview?

BTW, SKD and OSK's theme song is "Sakura Saku Kuni (The Land Where Cherry Flowers Bloom)" and their flower is sakura. And there are character named Sumire in ST, the flower of Takarazuka. I assume Hiroi got the idea from SKD and modeled the organization of the Kagekidan after Takarazuka.

Well, there are more than Berubara on why Takarazuka survived the hard time. (Of course, Berubara had a lot of role in this turnout.)

Having plays as their routine performance was not much help to their ticket sales when the competition is against T.V., which is easier and cheaper source entertainment. Still having know-how on making musicals and plays led to the success of Berubara, the most popular shojo manga in those days.

Even after the smash hit of Berubara, Takarazuka is still infamous as one of two prodigal children of Hankyu Corporation. (Another one was Hankyu Braves, a baseball team.) Before his death, Kobayash Ichizo had ordered keep both Takarazuka and Braves at any cost. Mr.Kobayashi considered he has obligation to enrich cultural aspect of Japan and Kagekidan and baseball is something he valued beyond profit. Despite of words of late Kobayashi, in 1988, Hankyu was forced to make a decision to kick out its prodigal daughter or son because of financial difficulty. Hankyu decide to kick out son, Hankyu Braves and kept Takarazuka. Company named Olix bought the baseball team, and the team is now Olix Bluewaves.

SKD and OSK are not lucky enough to have man with vision like Mr. Kobayashi to support them. They are founded as a branch of show business company, so when profit from them goes down, their importance within the company diminishes. Also, being founded as sister Kagekidan become their weakness. Even after OSK became fully Kintetsu owned, both SKD and OSK never dare to invade each other's territory. This is really bad move because gaining fans from many areas as possible is key to the survival. (And Berubara made Takarazuka more than well known all over Japan.) After SKD got disbanded, OSK at last start their not-so-eager try to gain fans in Tokyo area, only it was too late. Kintetsu was totally crippled by the burst of economic bubble. Kintetsu struggled several years but they kept making wrong decisions. Not only that, they never was serious about running OSK. Can you believe they let OSK fan club members to watch an hour-long show or musical for 400yen in theater with capacity for about 1000 people? OSK was steadily regaining popularity, but Kintetsu could not support them any longer. Kintetsu cut off OSK in 2003. Not only that, Kintetsu can no longer hold onto their baseball team, Kintetsu Buffalos, by themselves and announced its merger to no other than Olix Bluewaves in 2004!! I just cannot understand Kintetsu's nerve.

OSK learned a heard lesson, and now they are running New OSK with support from many small sponsors instead of one large sponsor. They currently have 23 varsity members, 8 reserve members, and 11 trainees.
*^^* AJ already pointed out our Spread-the-Love offer... we're expecting some additional shows to come in this week so you'll have even more to choose from if you want to wait a couple of days.

Other than that, the best (and pretty much only) place to get videos/DVDs right now is Yahoo!Japan. You can use a bidding service like Rinkya.com or Celga.com to purchase things there, but beware the fees! Takarazuka fandom is extremely expensive. New videos off the shelf cost about $100 for a LOCAL fan; you can sometimes get them cheaper on Yahoo Japan but when you count all the fees and shipping it comes out to about the same. ^~
Moon Troupe

January 2019



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