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TakarazukaSexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan$
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Jennifer Robertson

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780520211506

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520211506.001.0001

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Ambivalence and Popular Culture

Ambivalence and Popular Culture

(p.25) 1 Ambivalence and Popular Culture

Jennifer Robertson

University of California Press

The Takarazuka Revue is simultaneously a popular and mass-cultural formation, a contested icon of modernity, and a site of struggle over the relationship of sex, gender, and sexuality. This chapter juxtaposes current theoretical approaches to popular and mass culture with the terms and definitions developed and used by Japanese scholars and critics. It examines how people have negotiated the interwoven politics of sexuality and modernity. The chapter draws an analogy between the “excessive semiosis” of popular culture and the practice of cross-dressing in an attempt to clarify the ways in which ambiguity and ambivalence have been used strategically both to contain difference and to parody the artifice of containment, as in gender.

Keywords:   Takarazuka Revue, cultural formation, excessive semiosis, popular culture, cross-dressing

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