Tomu Ranju

Last updated
Tomu Ranju
Native name
Mayu Sakamoto (阪本真由)
Born (1975-08-12) 12 August 1975 (age 44)
Years active1996–present
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Website tomu-ranju.jp
ameblo.jp/ranjunokai/

Tomu Ranju(born 12 August 1975) is a Japanese actress/singer most widely recognized as Takarazuka Revue Flower Troupe's otokoyaku (男役 Takarazuka actresses who play male roles) top star from 2011 to 2014. Ranju is considered one of the best singers the revue has had in the recent years, and was selected to record songs for many of Takazuka's albums, both while she was with the revue and after she "graduated" from Takarazuka Revue.

Takarazuka Revue Japanese all-female theatre troupe

The Takarazuka Revue is a Japanese all-female musical theater troupe based in Takarazuka, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. Women play all roles in lavish, Broadway-style productions of Western-style musicals, and sometimes stories adapted from shōjo manga and Japanese folktales. The company is a division of the Hankyu Railway company; all members of the troupe are employed by the company.

Contents

After her "graduation", Ranju began to actively pursue a career on stage, focusing mainly on musicals; but she can also been seen on television, playing supporting roles and as co-host of the monthly TV show "Takarazuka Dream Tours".

Early life

Tomu Ranju was born Mayu Sakamoto (阪本真由) in Nishinomiya, Hyogo, a city in the same prefecture as the city where the Takarazuka Revue is based and got its name from.

Nishinomiya Core city in Kansai, Japan

Nishinomiya is a city located in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, between the cities of Amagasaki and Ashiya. On April 1, 2005, the city of Nishinomiya celebrated its 80th anniversary. It is best known as the home of Kōshien Stadium, where the Hanshin Tigers baseball team plays home games and where Japan's annual high school baseball championship is held. It is also the location of Kwansei Gakuin University, a private university founded by American missionaries in the nineteenth century. Nishinomiya is an important commercial and shipping city in the Kansai region with the third largest population in Hyōgo Prefecture.

Sakamoto started to take ballet classes at the invitation of her friends while she was in elementary school, and has been dancing ever since. In eighth grade she heard about the revue for the first time and became interested. On her off days she would take morning trains to Takarazuka to line up for same-day tickets for shows. She was particularly fascinated by Mizuki Oura's (大浦みずき) performances - who was famous for her dance skills, and also a Flower Troupe otokoyaku top star.

Takarazuka, Hyōgo Special city in Kansai, Japan

Takarazuka is a city located in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. As of October 1, 2016, the city has an estimated population of 225,228 and a population density of 2,200 persons per km2. The total area is 101.89 km2.

Sakamoto continue to go to Takarazuka performances, but it wasn't until she was in high school that she decided to try out for the extremely competitive entrance exam of the Takarazuka Music School, known for low acceptance percentage.

In 1994, a year for record low acceptance percentage of only 2%, [1] Sakamoto was admitted to the Takarazuka Music School with the highest score. Throughout her 2 years at the music school, she maintained the status as No. 1 pupil (all Takarazuka students and actresses are considered "pupil" until they leave the revue, regardless of their seniority, popularity and stature).

Takarazuka Revue Career

In 1996 Sakamoto graduated as top of her class, and successfully joined the revue. By tradition, pupil would have already decided on her stage name (subject to revue approval), and switch to be addressed by it now. Sakamoto began to be billed as Tomu Ranju. The stage name was suggested by her teacher and family. The first name "tomu" was going to be written in kanji as "人夢", which means giving people dreams; but the kanji was considered too complicated, so it was changed to Hiragana form "とむ". The last name "蘭寿" is the kanji form of "l'ange", French for "angel". [2] Following Takarazuka customs, she also has couple of nicknames (given by fellow Takarazuka actresses and fans): Tomu (とむ), Mayu (まゆ), Rantomu (らんとむ).

Ranju debuted in Can-Can, after that she was assigned to Flower Troupe. In addition to minor roles in regular revue productions, she was also cast for minor roles in novice productions and dinner shows.

In 2001 she began to be cast for lead roles in novice productions. In 2002, she won her first lead role in the revue's Bow Hall production of Tsuki no Hokage, sharing the lead role of Jiroukichi with Ayabuki Mao. In the same year, Ranju won the Newcomer of the Year award.

In 2005 Ranju won the Best Effort of the Year award. In 2006, she had her own first dinner show Sensation!, further fortifying her rising popularity and singing skills. In the same year, she was reassigned to Cosmos Troupe as third lead otokoyaku. In 2007, as Yūga Yamato was promoted to Cosmos top star, Ranju was promoted to second lead.

Yūga Yamato Japanese actress

Yūga Yamato is a former otokoyaku for Cosmos Troupe of Takarazuka Revue. She joined the company in 1995 and became the top star in February 2007 upon the resignation of Kei Takashiro, which made her the first otokoyaku to be top in her class. She resigned from the company in July, 2009, and is currently pursuing a stage career.

In February 2009, Ranju was cast in the lead role for another Bow Hall production Phoenix Wright (逆転裁判 -蘇る真実), based on the Capcom legal thriller video game Ace Attorney . The production was so well-received that the revue presented a sequel, Phoenix Wright 2 (逆転裁判2 -蘇る真実、再び・・・) just six months later. These 2 productions greatly boosted and attested to Ranju's popularity and her talent, leading to her first Takarazuka concert "R"ising!! in 2010.

In 2011, as Sei Matobu retired, Ranju was re-assigned back to Flower Troupe as the next otokoyaku top star. She debuted as top star in the Takarazuka production of Phantom .

During her 3 years as top star, it was considered that Ranju did well to carry on the tradition of Flower Troupe as "otokoyaku treasure" and "Flower Troupe of Dance". Retired top star Kazuho So was second lead under Ranju before being re-assigned to Snow Troupe as top star, and retired Cosmos top star Manato Asaka was third/fourth lead under Ranju before her re-assignment to Cosmos as second lead.

On October 8, 2013, Ranju announced in a press conference that she will retire in 2014. Her farewell production was The Love of the Last Tycoon / Takarazuka Dazzling Dreams, a musical/show based on The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald. On May 11, 2014, after the last performance of The Love of the Last Tycoon / Takarazuka Dazzling Dreams, Tomu Ranju officially retired and became an "OG" (old girls, referring to retired Takarazuka actresses).

Career After Takarazuka Revue

Like most graduated Takaruzuka actresses, Ranju chose to continue on with her career using her Takarazuka stage name.

Ranju's post-Takarazuka activities are focused on musical, dinner shows and concerts, but there are also television drama supporting roles and variety show appearances . Her relationship with Takarazuka Revue remains close, and was chosen to participate in 2 of its centennial celebration events: recording Reijin, an album with other otokoyaku OGs; and singing in the celebration concert of the post-mortem 90th birthday of Fubuki Koshiji, a Takarazuka OG from the 1940s with legendary stature in Japanese entertainment history.

Theater

Ranju's first non-Takarazuka appearance is the musical "ifi", a show focuses on showcasing various dance styles. She had a busy 2015 - 2016, balancing 2 stage productions while participating in various Takarazuka 100th anniversary special performances, leading roles in "The Love Bugs" and "Sister Act".

TV

As one of the "Sentinel Tops" (the 5 troupe otokoyaku tops), Ranju made numerous TV talk show and variety show appearances. She also did some narrating jobs for Sky Stage (Takarazuka's own TV channel) programs.

Ranju's first TV drama appearance was a supporting role in Netflix's first Japanese production Atelier, playing an influential Vouge-ish magazine editor. She will next be seen in ja:私 結婚できないんじゃなくて、しないんです (literally translated to "It's Not that I Can't Get Married, But I Don't Want To"), a TV drama about the "lost dogs", attempting to understand why successful and beautiful women prefer to stay single. Ranju plays one of the female lead character's friends, a successful financial adviser who's over 40, happily single, and has a younger boyfriend.

In March 2016, Ranju co-hosted pilot for "Takarazuka Dream Tours" with veteran entertainment show host Shinsuke Kasai (who is an avid Takarazuka fan). The pilot was picked up by Fuji Television, and in June it became a monthly show. The show is shot 100% on location, interviewing the special guest while she's doing an activity she's always wanted to do but haven't had the chance. All special guests are Takarazuka OGs, many top star OGs have appeared in the show, including Ranju's top musumeyaku (娘役, Takarazuka actresses who play female roles) Ranno Hana, Jun Sena, Sei Matobu, Kazuho So, Natsuki Mizu.

After she got married in 2016, Ranju announced that she will be taking a break from acting. Her last public appearance was attending the premier of Ocean's Eight in Japan, as she played Danny Ocean in Takarazuka's musical version of Ocean's 11.

Personal life

During her Takarazuka years, following the "Sumire Code" (a set of rules that was established to enhance and protect Takarazuka actresses, so they would appear to be fairy-like, beautiful, mystical idols), only generic "revue-approved" information about Ranju was officially available. Ranju is one of the OGs who likes her privacy, and continued to adopt this attitude towards sharing information about her private life after she graduated. Her blog on Ameba is the only official social media that the public is aware of, and it's maintained by herself.

On September 28, 2016, Ranju posted a blog announcing that she has just gotten married. [3] Initially no information was available on her husband. But in 2017, with the announcement that Shuzo Matsuoka's eldest daughter was accepted to enter Takarazuka Music School, it was revealed that Ranju's husband is a cousin-by-marriage to Shuzo Matsuoka - making her a member of the Kobayashi family that founded Takarazuka Revue (Shuzo Matsuoka is a direct decedent of Ichizō Kobayashi) [4]

Takarazuka Revue

Flower Troupe 1996 - 2006

Cosmos Troupe 2006 - 2011

Flower Troupe 2011 - 2014 as top star

Stage

TV

Drama2015: Atelier as Chiga Nagai

2016: 私 結婚できないんじゃなくて、しないんです, as Bokai Yamamoto

Other Programs

2015: SMAP×SMAP All Star Sports Competition [13]

2016: Takarazuka Dream Tours

Albums

Related Research Articles

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References

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  8. http://reijin-concert.com/news.cgi/view/22
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