For Today’s Japan photo, we will take a break from the castle visit and take a look at the graduation ceremony of prestigious Takarazuka Music School, which was held on 01 Mar 2010.
This photo was taken off Manichi Japan and here’s the excerpt:
Graduates of the prestigious Takarazuka Music School pose for photographs holding bouquets of flowers during their graduation ceremony on Monday, March 1, 2010. A total of 38 graduates who learned singing and dancing in a two-year course appeared in the ceremony wearing black crested kimonos and hakama outfits. Their debut performance, “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” will be staged at the Takarazuka Grand Theater in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, on April 16. (Mainichi)
One of the notable graduates from Takarazuka Revue would be Japanese actress Yuki Amami (天海 祐希), whom I’m a big fan of. Here’s more details of the Takarazuka Revue 宝塚歌劇団 taken off Wikipedia:
The Takarazuka Revue (宝塚歌劇団) is a Japanese all-female musical theater troupe based in the city of Takarazuka, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. Women play all roles in lavish, Broadway-style productions of Western-style musicals, and sometimes stories adapted from shōjo manga and Japanese folktales.
Part of the novelty of Takarazuka is that all the parts are played by women, based on the original model of Kabuki before 1629 when women were banned from the theatre in Japan. The women who play male parts are referred to as otokoyaku (literally “male role”) and those who play female parts are called musumeyaku (literally “daughter’s role”). The costume, set designs and lighting are lavish, the performances melodramatic. Side pathways extend the already wide proscenium, accommodating elaborate processions and choreography.
Before becoming a member of the troupe, a young woman must train for two years in the Takarazuka Music School, one of the most competitive of its kind in the world. Each year, thousands from all over Japan audition. The between 40 and 50 who are accepted are trained in music, dance, and acting, and are given seven-year contracts. The school is famous for its strict discipline and its custom of having first-year students clean the premises each morning.
The first year, all women are trained together and are divided by the faculty and the current troupe members into otokoyaku and musumeyaku at the end of the year. Those playing otokoyaku cut their hair short, take on a more masculine role in the classroom, and speak in the masculine form.
The company has five main troupes: Hana, Tsuki, Yuki, Hoshi, and Sora (Flower, Moon, Snow, Star, and the Cosmos), and Senka (Superior Members), a collection for senior actresses no longer part of a regular troupe who still wish to maintain their association with the revue and perform from time to time. Flower and Moon are the original troupes, founded in 1921. Snow Troupe began in 1924. Star Troupe was founded in 1931, disbanded in 1939, and reestablished in 1948. Founded in 1998, Cosmos is the newest troupe.