Find Out the Only Surviving First Leader of the Takarazuka Revue, Who Cried in the Shower Because of Her Frustration | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Find Out the Only Surviving First Leader of the Takarazuka Revue, Who Cried in the Shower Because of Her Frustration

The Second Careers of the Eternal Fairies of Takarazuka Revue: The University of Tokyo of the East and Takarazuka of the West

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In March 2002, Omine left the Takarazuka Revue with “Castel Mirage/Dancing Spirit! Omine left the Takarazuka Revue in March 2002. She had decided to quit as a “group leader” from the time she was appointed as the first leader of the Sorugumi troupe.

Did you know that each troupe in the Takarazuka Revue has a “group leader” in addition to the top stars? It is said that the group leader is like a branch office manager in a general company. Each of the five troupes (Hana, Tsuki, Yuki, Hoshi, and Sora) has its own group leader. Of course, it is extremely difficult to be both a performer and a group leader at the same time. In a sense, taking on the role of a group leader means giving up the path to becoming a star.

Of the five groups, Sorugumi is the youngest. Ms. Omine joined the troupe as a 68th term student and was assigned to the Tsuki troupe, becoming its first leader in 1998 when the troupe was newly established, and serving as the troupe leader until she left the troupe in 2002.

When I was offered the position, I turned it down because I thought I couldn’t do it, but it didn’t happen. Then, I decided that since I was going to take on the job, I would do it for the sake of the troupe, while at the same time carrying on the traditions, in a sense creating an atmosphere in which everyone, even young people, could focus on the stage in a lively and enjoyable way without being bound by traditions. I was determined to work for the good of the troupe. The work as a troupe leader was very hard, but now I am glad that I was able to serve as the first head of the space troupe.

I vent my frustrations at discos.

Omine’s mother was also a Takarazienne. Moved by a performance of “The Review” by the Snow Troupe, which she saw during the summer vacation of her first year of junior high school, she applied to Takarazuka Music School in her third year of junior high school. With the support of her family, she passed the entrance exam for Takarazuka Music School on the first try. Omine has been a member of the Tsuki class since the debut of Mao Daichi and Hitomi Kuroki as the top performers. Needless to say, being able to witness the golden years of Takarazuka at the side of these two actresses had a great impact on Omine’s life after joining the company.

After joining the company, from the first to the fifth year, the cast and the order in the dressing room changed according to the results of the examinations held once every two years. When I first joined the troupe, I was number two in my grade and received a good role, and things seemed to be going very well. However, he experienced a setback at the next exam.

I had just received a good role in a performance around the time of the exam,” he said. In the newcomer’s performance, I was the star of the show. In the Bow Hall performance, I was given the role of a bad government official as the youngest member of the company. Because I was young, I couldn’t produce a thick voice. …… director told me not to say my lines until I could produce my voice. I had to do my best for the exam, but because I put more effort into the performance, my grade on the exam dropped from number 2 to number 12.

While his peers around him were getting better and better roles, Omine was given roles where he had no lines and had to do nothing more than stand there.

I wasn’t satisfied with the results of the exam, so I sulked about raising the ranking of the girl I wanted to make a …… star. I wondered what I was missing. I used to vent these doubts at discos. In the old days, you could dance freely to the music at discos. It was my Grecian period (laughs). That lasted for about a year.

Not wanting to go on like this, Omine stopped and thought, “The good things about the people above me in the pecking order, and vice versa, must be my shortcomings,” and began going to lessons every day. From 9:30 a.m., she took lessons in ballet, jazz dance, singing, drama, and Japanese dance from one end to the other, and always positioned herself in the center of the first row.

Gradually, the director, who had seen her attending the lessons, began to recognize her, and she began to receive many supporting roles. Unlike leading roles, he liked the interesting aspect of supporting roles, where he could make suggestions relatively freely, and he felt he had found his place.

I’m thinking of having him take on the role of a group leader.”

In August 1997, Mr. Omine was suddenly summoned to the chairman’s office. He was told that the executive director was calling him. He put his hand on his chest to see if he had done something wrong, but he could not think of anything. The executive director said, “Have you heard the rumor that a new group is forming?” . At that moment, Omine realized that she was going to be transferred there. But the conversation did not end there. The executive director continued. I’m going to ask you to be the head of the new group,” the executive director continued.

Hearing this, Omine refused, saying that he would never be able to unite people from so many different groups. However, he had already told the newspaper reporter that the head of the clan was Mayu Omine, and there was nothing to stop him from appearing in the evening edition the next day. In other words, the option of refusing was not prepared for him; he was 34 years old.

In addition to Ms. Asato Sagatsuki, 65 members of the Sorugumi were gathered equally from other troupes. Naturally, the faces and names of the members of the other groups did not match, and of course he did not know the order in which they had performed.

I was determined to fulfill my role as a leader and leave the group with the leader’s sign on my back,” said Omine. The first thing I did was to memorize faces, names, and nicknames. To do this, I bought two copies of “Takarazuka Otome,” the name book of the entire Takarazuka Revue, cut them out, and made a handmade “Sorogumi Otome. I color-coded them according to their classmates, starting with the most senior students, and then arranged them according to their grades. This is the order in which the dormitory rooms and dressing rooms are arranged, so we had to make sure that the order was clear. When I meet them for the first time, I call them by their nicknames. They are surprised but happy to see me, so I think that helps to shorten the distance between us. I did my best to create a cheerful and energetic Sorugumi.

In the dormitory, Mr. Omine dared to take a room across from the laundry room and opened it up so that the underclassmen could relax while they did their laundry. By doing so, he was able to create an environment in which the underclassmen felt free to discuss their problems with him.

Omine purchased two copies of “Takarazuka Otome,” a name book of the entire Takarazuka Revue, in order to match the faces and names of the children who had joined the newly formed troupe. She cut out photos and made her own copy of “Sorogumi Otome” (photo by Koki Nagahama).
The “Sorogumi Otome,” which Omine made by herself, is color-coded in several colors. They were color-coded according to their classmates, starting with the most senior students, and were arranged in consideration of their grade order as well. The order in which rooms are assigned in the dormitories and dressing rooms is determined by this order, so it is necessary to keep track of the order at all times.

The reality is that taking on the role of a group leader = putting yourself on the back burner.

The work of a group leader is quite busy. From attending the regular group leader meetings held in the company’s conference room, to always being the first to arrive backstage and make preparations, to giving stage greetings on the first day of performances, at the final performance, and at private performances, to asking injured or sick performers to take a day off and arranging for understudies, to assigning dorm rooms, requesting the purchase of a broken washing machine, and consulting with underclassmen about their problems, the work of the group leader is quite busy. He also does everything from helping to find a dorm room or purchase a broken washing machine, to consulting with underclassmen on any problems they may have. Naturally, this puts a lid on his performance as a performer. If the top stars are the front billboards, the group leaders are the back billboards, so to speak. When the troupe told him that he had to cut back on the number of scenes he appeared in because of the hard work involved in being the head of a troupe, he said he had very mixed feelings.

He said, “I have to take care of myself later. I also had to make rules for the space troupe, so I asked two members from each of the other troupes I had belonged to to meet every day after rehearsals. The rule that male actors, in particular, were not allowed to sit in costume was adopted by the Hoshigumi and the Tsukinigumi, and was also adopted by the Space Troupe in order for the audience to see the show in the best possible light. There were all kinds of little jobs, but it was all for the success of the company.

Sometimes he had to take on the role of the hated. There were many painful experiences. One day, one of the underclassmen asked for advice. He said that a staff member’s behavior during a performance made it difficult for him to concentrate on the play. Omine, who believed that it was the role of the group leader to deliver the best possible performance to the audience, asked the staff to be considerate of the situation. Then, for the next few days, he was ignored by all the staff. It was a very difficult situation to work in.

Even now, I don’t believe that the junior members lied to me, but if things continue like this, it will be a problem for everyone in the company. I felt I had no choice but to break down, so I went to apologize. After that, I was no longer ignored, but I was so frustrated with …… that I cried in the shower.

In addition to her performing activities, Ms. Omine now works as a communication advisor, offering lessons called “Kumicho-san’s Terakoya Method,” which combines the aesthetics of Takarazuka and communication techniques. He also conducts seminars for business people to improve their performance skills and lectures on how to speak.

He says, “It is common in both Takarazuka and the business world that subordinates follow their superiors by watching their backs, but in order to do so, they need to make an effort to create a back that they can show. Subordinates grow up by watching their bosses’ backs, and that in itself is rare today. Instead of showing them a back that gives up from the beginning and says, “I’m going to go to …… anyway,” we need to show them an attitude that will not waver. If even one person will follow you, it is worth continuing that attitude. When I talk about this, many businessmen who listen to my speeches nod their heads.”

When Mr. Omine assumed the position of group leader, some of the upperclassmen found him uninteresting, but when he left the troupe, those upperclassmen said to him, “You did a good job. The communication and leadership skills he mastered in the unique world of the Takarazuka Revue Company will benefit many people throughout the ages and in all fields.

In 2001, he played Prince Claudio di Stefano in “Castel Mirage -The Mirage That Won’t Go Away
June 1999, playing the role of Dancaile in “Fierce Passion – Jose and Carmen
After leaving the company, Omine speaks in front of a large audience at a lecture meeting.
Photo by Koki Nagahama
Photo by Koki Nagahama

◆Details of the live performance on March 20

◆Mayu Omine official site

  • Interview and text by Natsuka Uegami

    (Natsuka Uegami is a writer and beauty planner. She is a mom writer with a unique background, having performed as an actress in Yoshimoto Shinkigeki at Lumine the Yoshimoto. She has written articles on beauty, travel, and interviews for many magazines and websites. She is also involved in product development for cosmetics and other products, and appears on a live TV shopping program. Her hobby is watching Taiwanese TV dramas, and she is fluent in Chinese (HSK level 5). She dreams of a two-location life in Taiwan.

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