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Ethnicity And Gender In The Wartime Japanese Revue Theatre

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the affective, aesthetic and cultural dimensions of Japanese colonialism that have previously been neglected relative to the more bureaucratic, military and political dimensions of that expansionist project. Specifically, drawing on several of the author's earlier publications, it examines the relationship, primarily during the 1930s and 1940s, between colonial anthropology and the revue theatre in Japan, focusing in particular on the representation on stage of the various peoples and cultures subjected to Japanese domination. The theatre discussed in the chapter is the all-female Takarazuka Revue, founded in 1913. Takarazuka playwrights were especially keen on incorporating ethnographic details into wartime revues for the purpose of providing the public with 'culturally authentic', spectacular 'infotainment'. The Revue's patriarchal management, strict vertical social organization, and emphasis on hierarchy determined by age, sex and gender was confluent with the social agenda of the wartime state.

Keywords: colonial anthropology; Japanese colonialism; Japanese revue theatre; Takarazuka; Takarazuka Revue



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