Info/images of the Takarazuka Revue, Japanese all-female theatre troupes that perform musicals.

Hanafusa Mari

Pronouce: hah-nah-fuu-sah, mah-ree

Meaning: cluster of flowers,

Nickname: Hana

Debut: 1991

Troupe: Cosmos (Soragumi)

Where to begin? Mari is the best musumeyaku and one of the best performers that Takarazuka's ever seen. Being an exceptional actress, she can convincingly play characters completely unlike herself! She has such a wide range in acting, and makes you believe each role is a real person. She can be an innocent young girl; an aging, world-weary empress; a haughty noblewoman; a gypsy wrought with emotion. I love how she can cry, even more than once in a single show, and it feels real. Mari is a stunning dancer! Flexibility and discipline allows her to master difficult poses and fluid moves. Her singing is second only to Aya.

Izumo Aya

Pronouce: ee-zuu-moh, ah-yah

Meaning: ancient kuni, twill

Nickname: Taki

Debut: 1983

Troupe: Cosmos (Soragumi)

Aya has a glorious voice. She always sounds very pretty. Perhaps my favorite of her songs is Silent Night sung in English in "Action!". She added a lot of notes to make it more difficult, her pronunciation was fantastic, and most importantly, it sounded very lovely and powerful. I also like Aya's personality, her comic acting, and her incomparably strong Sophie in "Elisabeth"!

Tsukikage Hitomi

Pronouce: tsuu-kee-kah-geh, hee-too-mee

Meaning: moonlight, eye's pupil

Nickname: Gun

Debut: 1990

Troupe: Snow (Yukigumi)

Hitomi has immense acting talent, mastering serious theatrical drama as well as vibrantly dancing as exuberant characters. Hitomi makes a perfect pair with Todoroki Yuu, as both are amazing at realism in their musical roles. They can weave trauma and sadness for emotional impact, as well as play comedy to humorous effect. Her voice is also one of the better among musumeyaku.

Shiraki Ayaka

Pronouce: shee-rah-kee, ah-yah-kah

Meaning: white castle,

Nickname: Ayaka

Debut to Retirement: 1988-1997

Troupe: Star (Hoshigumi)

Ayaka can sing quite well and her acting is fabulous. I always enjoy watching her in musical roles. She was dignified as Elisabeth, intriguing in "Futari dake ga Waru", and especially hilarious in "Action!" as a bubblehead rich girl who switched bodies with a conceited rock singer - Ayaka acted like a guy really well. Her dynamic personality allows her to speak up with her ideas.

Hanase Mizuka

Pronouce: hoh-nah-seh, mee-zuu-kah

Meaning: flowers among shallows,

Nickname: Akane, Aa-chan

Debut: 1995

Troupe: Moon (Tsukigumi)

Mizuka was the real star of "Juuni Ya" as a cross-dressing girl.... she was interesting, engaging, and someone to root for. She doesn't have an aggravatingly high singing style: rather, a pretty-sounding voice, and I've never heard her hit a flat note once. She has acting talent and singing talent which make her one to watch.

Asano Kayo

Pronouce: ah-sah-noh, kah-yoh

Meaning: of flax, beautiful world

Nickname: Yoshiko

Debut to Retirement: 1988-1995

Troupe: Moon (Tsukigumi)

Kayo is a charming actress who captivates with her earnest happy face. She breathes life into her characters and draws my attention when she dances. Kayo cannot sing very well, her voice is somewhat husky, but she pulls out her emotion anyway, and her acting is what you center on when watching her. She provides a happy-go-lucky atmosphere as well as can be dramatic.

Saijou Mie

Pronouce: sah-ee-joh-uu, mee-eh

Meaning: western line, three blessings

Nickname: Mie, Hideki, Shijimi

Debut to Retirement: 1996-2001

Troupe: Moon (Tsukigumi)

Mie is a fantastic actress whose spirited performance really benefits a musical. She has outshined the top musumeyaku in a show more than once; it is really a pity for us that she never reached top star. Her dancing is good (I haven't seen this enough to report on it). Suffice to say, Mie is an asset to the company, standing out in a cast with her acting skill and singing.

Dan Rei

Pronouce: dahn, reh-ee

Meaning: spindle tree,

Nickname: Dan, Mayumi

Debut: 1992

Troupe: Senka

Rei is purely likeable. I'm not quite sure what makes her so, as she doesn't sing very well and her dancing is simply fine, but her acting is really superb. She portrays characters so they are people you care about, such as in "LUNA" and "Rasen no Orphe". It's clear that she really enjoyed working with Tsubasa Makoto as a top star pair, and it comes across in her performances.

Kazahana Mai

Pronouce: kah-zah-hah-nah, mah-ee

Meaning: floral breeze, dance

Nickname: Yuuko

Debut to Retirement: 1990-1999

Troupe: Moon (Tsukigumi)

Mai is a quite an excellent dancer, and her voice is pleasant to the ear. She has first-class diction on the notes. I haven't seen her in a musical yet (with exception of "Cesare Borgia", in which one can't see the acting talent of any cast member due to poor characterization), so I'm looking forward to watching more of her.

Minashiro Hikari

Pronouce: mee-nah-shee-roh, hee-kah-ree

Meaning: southern castle,

Nickname: Akiyo

Debut: 1993

Troupe: Cosmos (Soragumi)

Hikari is captivating - her character stood out to me among the cast in "TEMPEST", making me care and feel for her. She employed emotions and attitude. This is one actress who could already be an entirely capable top star. Her singing voice is refreshing and she acts genuinely.

Takarazuka Kagekidan names, images, references, etc. © copyright by Takarazuka Revue Company, Hankyu Corporation, and associated parties. This website is intended for promotional and informational purposes only.
Analysis © copyright January 2001 by Stephanie M. Taylor
Update © copyright January 2002 by Stephanie M. Taylor
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