My project explores the Takarazuka Revue, an all-female theater troupe based in Takarazuka City, Japan, whose cross-dressing actresses are allowed an extraordinary degree of public gender experimentation. The Takarazuka Revue has enjoyed over a century of tremendous popularity among women in particular, and through its celebrity has become a powerful corporate and cultural entity in Japan. Situated at the intersection of a myriad of issues, including modernity, gender identity, sexual politics and the traditional Asian performing arts, the Revue offers a fascinating lens through which to view contemporary Japanese womanhood and has been seldom explored in depth by Western scholars. I will contribute to this limited body of scholarship not only by surveying the Revue’s history, but also by utilizing close analysis of the Revue’s most famous productions, an approach that is unique among extant scholarship.
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
Majors: Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
Future Plans: I have found immense personal and academic fulfillment in my early explorations of the world of Japanese cultural scholarship, and I would very much like to continue down that path. I hope to attend graduate school and earn my MA and PhD in Japanese language or culture, and in particular, I would like to continue the scholarship I have begun here, exploring issues related to feminism and contemporary pop culture in Japan. I would also like to live and work in Japan for a period, perhaps with the JET program, and become more closely involved with Japanese cultural outreach in America.
Hobbies: Writing, reading, watching movies, painting, cooking, sewing, translating
Fun Fact: I have gone indoor skydiving, I love opera, and I will eat anything with coconut in it.
Follow Elizabeth’s research on the W&M Honors Fellowships blog!