Takarazuka Gekijo (Theater), Tokyo
“Takarazuka, one of the most popular pleasure resorts in the district, is on a clear stream of the River Muko and is reached from Osaka or Kobe in 33 min. by the Hankyu Electric Railway. A motor-bus is also available, 43 min.
“The mineral spring, which has been known since 1546, is cool, but is heated for bathing. The great attraction of Takarazuka, however, is the Recreation and Opera House, containing three theaters, public and private baths, dining rooms, gymnasium, library, zoological and botanical gardens, and other features. The opera house is one of the largest of its kind in the world, having accommodations for 4,000 people. In it are performed musical renderings of Japanese and other fairy tales, foreign operas, etc., by a company of girl players [the Takarazuka Revue].
“The Takarazuka Hotel (54 rooms; room ¥4 up; breakfast a la carte, lunch ¥2, dinner ¥2.50), managed by the Hankyu Railway Co., a few minutes walk from the terminus, provides good accommodations for a week-end, and for amusements there are an 18-hole golf links of the Takarazuka Country Club, 1 m. from the hotel, and the Takarazuka Kaikan.”
– Japan: The Official Guide, Japanese Government Railways, 1941
“Takarazuka is noted for its mineral springs which are efficacious in all kinds of diseases, especially in gout and rheumatism. The world famous ‘Tansan’, a good drinking water, is the principal product of this place. The place is situated along the Mukogawa. The celebrated temple called Kiyoshi Kojin stands on a hill 1 m. east of the station.”
– A Guide-Book for Tourists in Japan, Kihin Kai (Welcome Society), 1906
“[Takarazuka] can be reached within one hour by electric car from Kobe. Being a clear and transparent carbonic-acid spring, it is very good for nervous problems, diseases of digestive organs, hysterics, etc.
“The resort consists of two sections. The new spring comprising a pleasure ground under the control of the Hanshin Electric Express Company, is run on a large scale. The bath-buildings and amusement hall occupy an area of about 2,000 tsubo, containing the Paradise, a Reception Hall, and a theatre.
“The old spring face the new one across the Muko River, and commands a very fine view of the neighbourhood. One mile further along the river brings one to the Wilkinson Tansan Spring. A well accommodated European style hotel is in the course of completion.”
– Glimpses of the East, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, Vol. 1926-1927
“The Takarazuka Revue was among the modern theaters that marked the return of females to a major public stage after being banned from Kabuki performances in 1629 by the Confucian-oriented Tokugawa Shogunate. At the time the Revue was founded, actresses (joyu) were still publicly denounced as ‘defiled women’ who led profligate lives. It seems that Kobayashi founded the Takarazuka Music Academy not only to train students in the Western and Japanese theatrical arts, but also to reassure parents that their daughters were under the constant supervision of academy officials whose responsibility it was to prevent the young women from falling into a decadent lifestyle.”
– Japanese Social Organization, by Takie Sugiyama Lebra, 1992
“The Takarazuka Revue was one component of Kobayashi’s capitalist project to develop a mass theater that would facilitate the shaping of girls and women into seasoned consumers … For the first forty years of its existence, Takarazuka audiences were fairly evenly divided between females and males, although Kobayashi strategized ways of attracting women, and married women especially, to the nascent theater and amusement park.
“… In his efforts to capture the interest and loyalty of female customers, Kobayashi went so far as to lower the floors of Hankyu trains to make boarding and existing less awkward. He also staged a contest in which women nominated and voted on a color for Hankyu trains (‘Fujin muki no shinshiki densha‘ 1923). The winning color was the deep maroon that distinguishes the trains today.
“Apart from consolidating a female clientele, his motive was to nurture among theater-going women a bewitching stage presence of their own: ever woman could be a well-coifed star, so long as she shone on the home stage (‘Nippon gekijonai biyoin‘ 1937).”
– Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan, by Jennifer Robertson, 1998