A hundred years of Japanese glamour – the Takarazuka Revue

I originally wrote this post about the 100th anniversary of the Takarazuka Revue on my website, franpickering.com, but then I thought I’d share it here on Sequins and Cherry Blossom too. It comes from my recent trip to Japan when I went back to Takarazuka, which was the setting for The Cherry Blossom Murder, the first book in my Josie Clark in Japan mystery series.

Fran Pickering

Takarazuka Revue It’s the Takarazuka Revue’s one hundredth anniversary this year, so I absolutely had to go back to the little town in the mountains outside Osaka where it all began and see the anniversary production of their most famous show, The Rose of Versailles. It was a trip down memory lane for me – it’s several years since I was last there, and I was excited to be back.

Takarazuka The view down the Flower Path towards the theatre complex

Seeing a show at the Takarazuka Revue is the most amazing experience and I definitely recommend you try it if you ever get the chance. The theatre is massive – it seats 2,000 and the stage is twice the size of the stage at the London Coliseum.

Takarazuka The audience arriving for the 11 am show

The entrance to the theatre complex The entrance to the theatre complex

There are four hundred actresses in total – about seventy…

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Book Review – Sayonara by James A Michener

SayonaraThis year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of Sayonara, bestselling author James A Michener’s towering novel of racial prejudice and its tragic consequences in Korean War era Japan. The hero is an American ace fighter pilot; the heroine, a top star at the Takarazuka Revue. And since it’s also Takarazuka’s 100th anniversary this year, I thought this was a good time to tell you about one of my favourite books. Continue reading

How Japanese is The Mikado?

The Mikado - Savoy Theatre 1885You know The Mikado – it’s the comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, with the ‘little list’ of things that won’t be missed that gets rewritten to satirise whatever politicians are in power every time a new production appears. I ask because the English National Opera has six performances coming up at the end of the month, from 21st to 31st January.

Their highly successful Jonathan Miller production sets the whole thing in a 1930’s seaside hotel in Britain. Which makes a lot of sense, as much of the enjoyment in the Mikado comes from poking fun at British customs and institutions. But how Japanese is The Mikado?
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