?

Log in

No account? Create an account

ekusudei in takarazuka

How To Buy Takarazuka Goods

Lucia gave me the OK to re-post this somewhere, since the TakaWiki is still down and it's so useful I think it's a shame not to have it available. I figured this comm was better than my website, since it gets more traffic. ;)




How To Buy Takarazuka Goods
or
Welcome to A Whole New World of Financial Pain





Introduction

With so many new people coming into the fandom via LJ, YouTube, and the TakaWiki, there is understandably a great deal of curiosity concerning how exactly one goes about building up a Takarazuka collection. We old-timers (listen to me; I've been a fan since April '05!) like to boast about the difficulties involved, and our epic struggles to acquire so-and-so's out-of-print personal book or shinko programme or first post-Zuka album; but the reality is that it's not really all that difficult... once you get used to it!

Now. None of the Japanese online shops that carry Takarazuka merchandise ship directly overseas, due to copyright restrictions and the requests of the Hankyu Company. That leaves us with only four methods of getting Zuka.

1. Live in Japan.

2. Visit Japan.

3. Arrange the universe so that someone who is doing either 1 or 2 owes you favours.

4. Open an account with Crescent Shop

The first three being impractical for many of us, this guide shall concentrate upon the exciting things you can do via the fourth. It may well end up reading like an infomercial for Crescent Shop. For that I make no apologies: Crescent Shop is the only shopping service that will buy items within Japan and ship them out of Japan. They do this efficiently and conscientiously, and for that I am their biggest fan. Masamichi-san, if you're reading this, domo arigato gozaimasu!

(1) [Jen Note]: Lucia is a big fan of Crescent Shop, and so am I and a lot of other people, though there has also been a complaint or two lately. They aren't the only shipping service, but they are one of the most reasonable, reliable, and easiest to use. This is particularly true for auctions. A more comprehensive list of online Takarazuka stores and shipping services can be found at the very bottom of this entry.

Basic Skills

It is a myth that only people who can read Japanese can go Zuka-shopping successfully. Virtually everything in this guide, I worked out by myself in my first few months as a fan, when I didn't have any fan friends to guide me and I didn't speak a single word of Japanese. If I can do it, you can do it. All you need is some idea of what to look for and where; if you're curious about the particulars of any given item and you don't have a more knowledgeable fan friend to ask, write to Crescent Shop. They're very good about helping you to find exactly what you want to buy.

There is, however, some basic Japanese vocabulary that can be very helpful to you. Even if you find the kanji difficult or impossible to recognise, you need to be able to copy and paste these things into search engines.

Troupe Names:

  • 花組 = Flower Troupe

  • 月組 = Moon Troupe

  • 雪組 = Snow Troupe

  • 星組 = Star Troupe

  • 宙組 = Cosmos Troupe



Star Names

  • 轟 悠 = Todoroki Yuu

  • 真飛 聖 = Matobu Sei

  • 瀬奈 じゅん = Sena Jun

  • 水 夏希 = Mizu Natsuki

  • 大和 悠河 = Yamato Yuuga



Types of Shows


  • 宝塚大劇場公演 = Takarazuka Daigekijou Koen (a play performed in the Takarazuka Grand Theatre; most shows fall into this category)

  • 新人公演 = shinjin koen (performed by actresses who have been in Zuka less than seven years)

  • シアター・ドラマシティ = Theater Drama City

  • TCAスペシャル = TCA Special (once a year special featuring the stars of four or all troupes)

  • ディナーショー = dinner show (a small-scale hour-long concert showcasing a particular Takarasienne)



Other Useful Phrases


  • その他公演 = (その他: other/miscellaneous) (公演: performance)

  • コンサート = concert

  • 企画 = special project

  • 退団関連 = related to graduations

  • タイトル = title

  • 出演者 = performer

  • 演出家 = director

  • 曲名 or 楽曲名 = song title

  • 公演名 = name of show

  • 歌手名 = name of singer




The titles of the shows themselves are not so straightforwardly explained, but if you can read the troupe name, the stars' names, and the date, that's usually all you need to look at TakaWiki's performance charts and narrow down its identity to a couple of possibilities. [Jen Note]: With the TW still down, the Back Library at the official site might be the most helpful resource, though it only goes back to 1999 and is incomplete.

And if you still don't know what you're looking at, reverse-engineer it at J-Talk. This is the best of a bad lot of automatic translators, and although you mustn't take its outpourings as gospel, it can be very useful for giving you at least a partial translation from kanji to romanji. Sometimes a couple of syllables is all you need to match up a show's Japanese title with its English or romanji equivalent, or to let you search TakaWiki for an actress's romanji name.

If you're trying to go in the other direction, from romanji to kanji, you may find the WWWJDIC helpful. But enough of that. It's time to talk about the fun part.

Shopping Websites

Quatre Reves

The official Takarazuka goods store is Quatre Reves (which really should have been renamed in 1998, but never mind that). It has branches in Takarazuka and Tokyo as well as online, and it sells everything you've ever wanted with your star's name or logo on it. Pens, scarves, keyrings, little things like that — and photographs, postcards, notecards, notepads, clear files, mousepads, etc. for each new show. They don't keep merchandise around for very long, though, so if a show you love is playing now, now is the time to buy.

The six pale mauve bars down the left-hand side of the main page lead to:


  • Star Goods (for each of the six tops)

  • Troupe Goods (for each of the five troupes)

  • Show Goods (sorted by troupe)

  • Postcards (by star, at the top, and by show further down)

  • Stage Photographs (by show)

  • Takarazuka Hello Kitty



If you see a red bar across the little picture of something, that means it's out of stock. The text ※ネット販売いたしません indicates that something is available in the physical shops, but not over the internet.

The next bars lead you to different Hankyu shops, such as...

TCA Pictures

Takarazuka Video and the TCA Pictures Shop sell all the same things. The one I'm going to tell you about is TCA Pictures, because the interface is a little more user-friendly, and it has much bigger item pictures.

You need to look on the right-hand side on this one. There are six photo buttons, one for each troupe, showing the top star and the troupe symbol: clicking on one of those will take you to a page that shows all the merchandise for that troupe. This is good for browsing, but will lead you into great temptation.

The left-hand panel is full of links you can click to get to lists of merchandise for particular actresses, and, further down, for the other troupes. The right-hand panel is where you'll see the items for sale. All DVDs, CDs, and videos are clearly marked as such: "ライブCD" is the full soundtrack to something, "主題歌CD" is the singles CD, which typically has the two main songs plus karaoke versions, and "PianoSound" is only the piano music. Sometimes you'll see "ビデオ" for video, but DVD is always DVD.

Back on the front page, above the photo buttons, you'll find a series of drop-down menus and a text box underneath. This is for searching. You can copy and paste the kanji name of someone you're looking for, or leave the box blank, and narrow your search in the following ways:


  • By type of merchandise

  • By troupe

  • By year

  • By category of show (shinjin koen, TCA special, etc.)

  • By limiting the results for whatever you type in the box below to titles, actresses, venues, or song names. (Thanks to lokai for that last one.)



In this way it's relatively easy to get, say, all Flower Troupe shows from 2002, or all Moon Troupe shinjin koen, or all shows in which your favourite Senka member performed with Star Troupe.

Hankyu Books

Every official in-print publication concerning the Takarazuka Revue is available through the publisher, Hankyu Books. These fall broadly into three categories.

Magazines


  • 宝塚GRAPH: Takarazuka Graph, which prior to 1998 was spelled in katakana (宝塚グラフ). This is a largeish-format magazine, full of big glossy pictures of Takarasiennes. A typical issue will contain stage photographs for two or more current productions, rehearsal photographs for a show that may not yet have begun playing, lavishly-illustrated interviews and conversations between 'siennes, and, since 1998, several portraits of the covergirl(s) taken by prominent photographer Kishin Shinoyama. The most recent issue is always here, and back issues start here. [Jen Note]: There are charts of GRAPH contents in English here, which I'm updating as I can.


  • 歌劇: Kageki. A smaller magazine, about the same size as a paperback book and the thickness of Vogue in January. Two-thirds of it tend to be devoted to articles, which makes it much less valuable to those of us who can only look at the pictures ([Jen Note]: But if you do read Japanese, they're a treasurehouse of interesting and silly things.). However, the full-page portraits in the front are always nice, especially in January, when they print pictures of all the important 'siennes. Be aware that the covergirl often appears nowhere else in the magazine. The most recent issue is here, and back issues here.


  • Le Cinq (or ル・サンク). This is slightly thinner than a Graph, but with larger pages, and is devoted exclusively to stage photographs of a particular production. There is a Le Cinq for every Grand Theatre show, and for many Theatre Drama City shows etc. that feature prominent actresses. Every so often you'll see one with Bow Hall or shinjin koen pictures in the back, or the full Japanese script of the play in question. The most recent issue is here, and back issues here.


  • Foursome was Le Cinq's predecessor, in the days in which there were only four troupes. It had roughly the same number of pages as Le Cinq, but printed on thinner paper, and they were enormous. Foursomes are thus tricky to ship, but extremely desirable. They are all out of print.



Programmes

The newest, shiniest programmes always have their pictures on this page. At the bottom there are buttons leading to pages on which the programmes are sorted by troupe, by year, and by venue. The venues are, from left to right:


  • Takarazuka Grand Theatre. These programmes contain lovely big portraits of the stars, and smaller ones of everyone else in the troupe, rehearsal photographs, plus a lot of Japanese information and two precious pages of English. (Note: The English pages seem to be a temporary phenomenon. They started in the 80s, stopped for a few years ('99 - '01), and they've stopped again as of 2005-ish -- They now give those pages out as leaflets when you attend the show at the theaters.)


  • Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre. The same as the Takarazuka ones, but often with stage photographs instead of rehearsal pictures. Occasionally the cast will change slightly between Takarazuka and Tokyo, so emphasis may be placed on different actresses.


  • Bow Hall. These ones are only a few pages along, usually with more still shots than rehearsal or performance shots. Worth having only if you're obsessed with the lead actress or, of course, if you read Japanese.


  • Other Theatres. These vary. I've seen some (usually 1,000 yen) that were almost as fun-filled as Grand Theatre programmes, and others (more like 600 yen) that were little more than Bow Hall programmes. In my experience, however, they all at least contain full-page colour portraits of the stars.



Photo Books

Otherwise known as mooks (magazine books). It's impossible to resist them for very long, filled as they are with gorgeous pictures of everyone worth looking at. The ones you are most likely to come across (and to want) are:


  • Personal Books. There have been three series of these lovely little books, released monthly over 2001-02, 2004-05, and 2007. Each glorifies a particular second- or third-ranked otokoyaku over the course of fifty pages of photographs. Although the focus is on off-stage portraits, there are also stage photographs, scrapbook pictures of the 'sienne in question as a child and a young woman, and vital statistics. The pages are larger in the second series, but the photography is better in the first and third. Really, the third is an attempt to recapture the fabulousness of the first!

    Books in the first series included a conversation between the 'sienne and someone older connected in some way with the theatre; the 'siennes in the second series, however, conversed with one another. Thus Mizu Natsuki is in Kiriya Hiromu's book, Oozora Yuuhi is in Sena Jun's, etc. The third series has interviews with current or recently retired top stars.


  • On this page you'll find the Young Star Guides (blue for baby otokoyaku, pink for baby musumeyaku), which focus on rising 'siennes, and the annual revue mooks, which focus on everyone. Besides pictures, these latter volumes also contain short interviews, a few stage pictures, and special features like a timeline of Takarazuka history in the 2004 book, and a tour of the town of Takarazuka in the 2005 one. There is also a mook devoted to the 90th Anniversary Sports Festival, and a special 90th anniversary book containing class lists, show lists, etc. covering the entire span of the revue's history.


  • Below them you'll see troupe-specific books called The Takarazuka (ザ・タカラヅカ). If you have a favourite troupe (and chances are if you don't now you'll end up with one eventually), you need their The Takarazuka book so much I'm finding it hard to put into words. There aren't enough superlatives to describe how much fun they are for the serious fans of a particular kumi. Stage pictures, star pictures, rehearsal pictures, shinjin koen pictures, backstage pictures, conversations, personal messages... it would be easier to list what isn't in these books: their phone numbers. Everything else is here, including birthdays, hometowns, and blood types. There are three series, published in 1997, in 1999-2000, and in 2003-2004; most of the third series remains in print, but the earlier ones are now only available secondhand. [Jen Note]: There's a fourth round about to come out this year!


  • Takarazuka Otome (宝塚おとめ) is the annual directory of all currently active members of the Takarazuka Revue, sorted by troupe, with full-page portraits of the top stars at the end. Their names are also given in romanji, which is why this book is so good to have at one's elbow for identifying gorgeous otokoyaku one can't remember seeing before.


  • Other photo books, most of which focus on a single star. They're fairly self-explanatory. The Kishin books contain all Kishin Shinoyama's photograph for Graph magazine over a particular period; the red one with Wao Youka on the cover is the We Love 'Sienne book, fabled for its dark and interesting photography.



TCA Music

Opening just in the past year is a new branch of the TCA site, TCA Music, where they offer music to purchase over the internet through various distributors, including iTunes Japan. The catch for people living outside of the US is that without a viable Japanese address you can't purchase the music through iTunes. You can through some of the other programs, but they don't all release the music in mp3 form, or in an easily converted format. So your best bet is to buy an iTunes Japan card. Note the "Japan"! A normal one won't do the trick. You can buy them through JBox for a price, but even if you find one through another place, JBox has very helpful instructions on how to use them.

Other Shops, In Brief

Takarazuka-an carries everything. However, their selection of back issues is seldom as extensive as that of Hankyu Books, and their website has far fewer pictures so it's difficult for a novice Zuka shopper to decipher what exactly she's looking at.

Takarazuka.co.jp is the website of an official Takarazuka goods store, and like Takarazuka-an they carry a bit of everything — but I would recommend that you avoid them. Their online catalogue is never up to date, and in the past they have mixed up my orders and taken their own sweet time in sorting out the problems.

Back to Crescent Shop

What, you ask, do I do with all this information and the mile-long shopping list I'm already composing? Easy. You take your list to Crescent Shop, and pay roughly a 20% commission for them to act as your personal shoppers in Japan.

Celga now offers a similar website shopping service, but not having used it myself I can't comment.

Yes, It Really Does Cost This Much

I expect some of the numbers you've been seeing on the sites listed above have had you scratching your head, or perhaps recoiling in horror. Congratulations on acquiring the most expensive hobby in the world that doesn't involve a yacht.

Yes, it really does cost this much. No, you're never going to see Zuka on sale. Yes, 6,300 yen is cheap for a DVD — they are more usually 8,400 or 10,500 or even in rare cases 12,600. All I can say to make you feel better is that they really are worth it. They're not like other DVDs. You'll watch over and over, day in and day out, gazing in slack-jawed wonderment at the beauty before you.

But if you can't afford new merchandise, or if you're a fan of older stars whose books and videos are out of print, there are still...

Auction Sites

You're probably already aware that very few Takarazuka items show up on eBay, and that when they do they're not exactly cheap. ([Jen Note]: This has changed a lot since Takarazuka's sudden popularity in English-speaking countries in the last couple of years. Definitely check eBay first, as this saves you a lot of middleman fees!) The main Japanese auction site, however, Yahoo! Japan, is a positive treasure trove of inexpensive Takarazuka merchandise.

Unless you have a Japanese shipping address, and can read Japanese (in which case, what are you doing reading this?), you can't create your own Y!J account. There are three services that place bids and deal with Japanese sellers on your behalf: Celga, Rinkya, and of course Crescent Shop. I have never dealt with Rinkya, but I am told they have an excellent search function and that their fees are lower for very expensive items, i.e. over $400. Out of the two with whom I have personal experience, Celga and Crescent Shop, Crescent Shop is far superior, for the following reasons:


  • Fees. Crescent Shop's are significantly lower for the sort of relatively inexpensive items Takarazuka fans normally buy. With Celga, you pay $5 for an auction that ends below 1,000 yen, and $10 for an auction that ends between 1,001 and 10,000 yen; with Crescent Shop, you pay 500 yen, which is slightly less than $5, for any auction up to 4,000 yen, and 12.5% thereafter.


  • Shipping. All three auction services consolidate shipping for you to reduce the expense, and now Celga as well as Crescent Shop can put new items and auction wins in the same box, but Crescent Shop still has the edge because they're better packers. The large stack of mooks I bought via Celga literally rattled around in the box; everything from Crescent Shop arrives neatly coccooned in bubble-wrap, items wrapped together according to size, padded so that no harm can possibly come to them.


  • And, the big one... Crescent Shop's new automated system. When you bid with Celga, you fuss about making deposits, waiting for their staff to place your bids manually, waiting for them to email you invoices, waiting their proscribed seventeen days before asking them if your items are in stock... when you bid with Crescent Shop, you PayPal your deposit and are able to begin placing bids yourself, in real time, immediately. And when your items arrive at Crescent Shop, you find out the same day.



All the nuts-and-bolts details of how to order can be found on the websites of the services named above. Finding what you want to buy is just a matter of copying and pasting names and titles into search boxes.

Conclusion

It has been suggested that we Western Takarazuka fans win spiritual bonus points for going to such great lengths in the pursuit of the things we love. Certainly our Zuka is hard-won, and I think we often enjoy it more because of that. Personal books would be a trifle less special if we could just buy them at Borders — and if every Blockbuster had all five versions of Elisabeth, we'd miss the challenge of acquiring them all and the prestige of having done so.

I hope you (whoever you are) find this document useful, and not too long-winded. I have locked this page because I'm quite paranoid about people monkeying about with things I write, but if you have any questions, or suggestions for expanding it, I shall be happy to take them into consideration. Anything that makes the process of acquiring Takarazuka slightly less painful is well worth knowing!

Addendum on Magazines

If you have a local Japanese bookshop, such as Kinokuniya, they will be able to order in subscriptions to Graph, Kageki, and Le Cinq, in all likelihood less expensively than if you ordered them from Japan yourself via Crescent Shop.

For those without this convenience, Sasuga Books offers a very reliable airmail service, and CD Japan a slightly less reliable one. [Jen Note]: I've had subscriptions through both, and I found them pretty comparable.




Shopping Links

Crescent Shop
Celga
Rinkya

TCA Pictures Shop - DVDs, Videos, CDs
Takarazuka Video - DVDs, Videos, CDs
Hankyu Books - mooks, magazines, programmes

Takarazuka.co.jp - the website of one of the official Takarazuka goods stores
Quatre Reves - postcards, stationery, clothing, assorted other things
Rakuten Ichiba - Carries DVDs, often discounted
Takarazuka-an @ Rakuten - New and used Takarazuka goods
Sound of Music (German) - German website that carries several Takarazuka CDs, DVDs and videotapes.
JpopHelp (English) - carries a few Takarazuka CDs.

Footlight (English) - New York-based site that carries a CD of the Takarazuka's recording of "West Side Story" and "Oklahoma!".
NewOSK Official Web Shop Site (Japanese)
YesAsia.com (English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean) - carries a few Takarazuka items, mostly books.
CDJapan (English) - sells Japanese items to Westerners. Doesn't carry any actual Takarazuka items, but does carry CDs of former Takarasiennes such as Makoto Tsubasa and Daichi Mao. Also offers subscriptions to Takarazuka GRAPH and Kageki magazines.

Other Recommendations?

Comments

Just because I'm re-reading this as if I have nothing better to do... I'd like to point out, for the "programs" section, that Grand Theater programs no longer have those "two precious pages of English" (grrr - it seems they stopped after 2005), and that Bow Hall programs DO have color photos. Only a really thin program like for a workshop would only have black and white photos these days.

("These days", ha! I act like I know what I'm talking about. X3)
I was wondering about that when deciding whether or not to be insane and get the Hollywood Lover program, and decided not to on the basis of what was said here. ^_^;
Oh no. T___T Well, uh, it's not as if you've ruined your chances forever... You can still get the Hollywood Lover program... Yeah, looking at my Bow programs, they have color pictures of everyone in the cast (although half of them are stock pictures, just like in a Grand Theater program), usually an extra portrait or two of the main otokoyaku, and a couple of the new ones have a page of rehearsal photos. <3
Ohh, that's exactly what I wanted to know; thank you. ^_^ And I'm quite sure that won't be the last time I order from Crescent, so I'm sure I'll get it eventually. ;)
D'oh. I didn't really reread it very carefully. Thanks, fixed!
Great idea!

If someone has a copy of it, it would probably also be a good idea to post the "Sending Mail/fanletters" page (or whatever it was called).
Yes, with the addresses! <333

But yes, thank you for posting this! I had it bookmarked on my takawiki bookmarks page and used it for links a lot. :)
You're welcome! I was going to link someone to the TakaWiki page when I realized the flaw in my plan..... ^^;
Thanks for posting this :D This is helping a lot with my TakaWiki withdrawal. XD

I'm beginning to forget simple zuka terms and actually starting to focus on actual real life work *ZOMGTHEHORROR*
ZOMG! You need a dose of sequins STAT!! ;D
thank you !!!

maybe someone can post the Sending Mail/fanletters page (ink. adresse) ^^
You're welcome! And that's a good idea....
Oh, Dear Mr. Masamichi (the guy from Crescent Shop, for those who don't know) is my personal hero (and my credit card bill greatest fear XD). Now I have shiny Zuka DVDs and Program Books all thanks to him (and my poor wallet).

You'll watch over and over, day in and day out, gazing in slack-jawed wonderment at the beauty before you.

Ah, I know what you mean...I got my Adieu Marseile/Love Symphony DVD yesterday 8pm and so far, watched it 4 whole times. And I haven't got tired of it ^^
Err, since I don't know where to answer because more than one person asked for it, but if anyone feels like translating them, here are the most basic addresses needed for fanletters:
http://kirakirayuga.fc2web.com/yuga/yuga_letter.html

And Gen's website has the address for Takarazuka itself on it. ^^
The page basically is saying to send out a fan letter DURING the run of the production at each theatre attention to your seito san. I assume you all know the address of each theatre, if not I'll list them later if there's a request.
The basic problem here ARE the addresses of the different theatres. ^^ Not everyone can read japanese so we need romaji versions for those people too. ^^
Okay, Takarazuka theatre and Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre's addresses (as well as how to get there) are on the official HP (English Page)

Grand Takarazuka Theatre
1-1-57 Sakaemachi, Takarazuka-city, Hyogo 665-8558, Japan

Tokyo Takarazuka Theatre
1-1-3 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0006,Japan

Nihon Seinen Kaikan
15 Kasumitake Machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0013 Japan

Theatre Drama City (Umeda Theatre)
19-1 Chaya machi, Kita-ku, Osaka Shi, 530-0013 Japan

Hakataza
2-1 Kawabata machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, 812-8615, Japan

Chunini Theatre
Chunichi Building
4-1-1 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya Shi, 460-0008, Japan
yay~ the wonderful reminder that i need to save up evry single cent is back~~
T-T
Thankyou so much for posting this ^^
I've been rattling my piggybank lately, but there's not much in there. This fandom is hard on the wallet. ;)

You're welcome! I'm so glad Lucia made this guide.
I remember reading something on the Yahoogumi about another service, Club Japan? For those who read either Japanese or Chinese, or have friends who do so. I haven't checked it out yet though...
I spent about half an hour going over it (which isn't very thorough, granted), and didn't see anything about requesting special orders anywhere, even the FAQ. Which makes me feel a little uncomfortable about just emailing them out of the blue over it. They do have a couple of zuka DVDs and CDs listed, though, so obviously they're willing to buy from TCA or someone.
I love you for giving me all this useful information. However, a few months from now, when I'm poor from buying this stuff, I might feel differently. Haha.

Thank you~ ^^
Hahhah, you've found the flaw in having more information.... XD

Glad it's useful, even if you might be cursing me in a few months.
Moon Troupe

January 2019

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com