One of the annual rituals of Japanese show business took place this morning, as the latest batch of young women graduated from the Takarazuka Music School. From this afternoon the 38 members of the 96th graduating class will officially become members of the professional Takarazuka Theatrical Revue. As members of the Moon Troupe, they will take the stage for the first time from April 16 in a production of “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” Top graduate Norimatsu Ami, who will take the stage name of Yumeka Ami, addressed the ceremony, “Taking the things we learned at music school as nourishment for our hearts, we are leaving the nest to join the Takarazuka Theatrical Revue. The artistic road is long and steep, but we will carry on our quest with even greater devotion as maidens of the theater troupe.”
The school, based in the city of Takarazuka in Hyogo prefecture, is famously competitive with thousands of teenage girls applying for the 40-50 places each year. Those accepted face two years of strict discipline and rigorous training, and the ones left at the end join the professional ranks and perform at theaters across the country.
Takarazuka, All-Female Theater