Over a history spanning more than a century, the Takarazuka Revue has distinguished itself as one of the world's few all-female theater companies. The curtain rose back in 1914, during Japan's Taisho Era. The theater's founder was Ichizo Kobayashi, the man who contributed to the growth of the Hankyu Railway, opened the Hankyu Department Store as Japan's first department store built inside a train terminal, and worked hard to help found the Toho Group. The creator of an all-female theater company, whose cast members play men and women of all ages, also espoused a motto for the Takarazuka Revue: "modesty, fairness, and grace." This refers to the basics of performing arts—the singing, dancing, and acting that create brilliant fantasies on the stage—as well as a desire for each Takarasienne to have etiquette and a good sense of proper manners, and to not forget their dignity as individual women and members of society.
The Takarazuka Revue's members presently comprise five troupes—Flower, Moon, Snow, Star, and Cosmos—and the Senka, or "Superior Members." Each troupe has about 80 members who are called Takarasienne. Only graduates of the rigorous two-year curriculum at the Takarazuka Music School are allowed to join the Takarazuka Revue. After their first appearance at Takarazuka Grand Theater, they are assigned into each troupe. The male roles are called "otoko yaku" and the female roles "musume yaku." Part of the especially unique allure of the Takarazuka Revue is how the women playing otoko yaku seem to be more impressive on stage than real men.
The Takarazuka Revue's diverse performances range from original productions to adaptations of comic books, novels, television dramas, and even video games spanning a wide array of genres, as well as performances based on classical Japanese literature delivered in traditional costumes. Meanwhile, the work of a Takarasienne extends beyond the stage to concerts, dinner shows, and other performances where they must employ the dancing and singing skills acquired through arduous training. Concerts and dinner shows are always a huge hit because they offer audiences the opportunity to see the Takarasienne perform something different from the regular theatrical shows.