Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saotome Taichi: Hakuouki's Prettiest Boy of All

While wandering around the Internet, I ran across this clip from a popular TV show back in 2008 showing a 16-year-old Saotome Taichi 早乙女太一 . Taichi is an "onnagata", a traditional/Kabuki type of male actor who plays female roles. His type of performances, though, are not strictly Kabuki.

This idea of men playing women comes from the fact the first Kabuki female roles way back when were played by women, but their male fans had a nasty habit of starting fights and killing each other over who was the actress's biggest fan. So the government banned women from the stage. (As homosexual behavior was seen as completely normal for centuries, this plan didn't quite work out: fanboys continued to freak out over their male favorites, and the government finally changed the ban from just women to women and adult men.)

Famed SMAP singer Kimutaku, one of the hosts of the TV show, says in a funny moment after the performance, "Wow, I feel a little gay... if this were the Edo period I'd have fallen for you!" I can't blame him, so I went poking around the Internet for other performances and information on Taichi.

It turns out he also takes on more contemporary male roles, and he played Hijikata Toshizo (seen above) in Hakuouki's live stage version back in October 2010.

I know a few of you are Hakuouki fans, so if you haven't seen this clip reel yet, enjoy! (If you're not familiar with the series, Hakuouki started as a girls' dating video game set around 100 years ago, featuring the real-life Shinsengumi group.)

Taichi is the first actor they show individually, wearing a deep purple kimono.

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