Photo/IllutrationNew enrollees in the Takarazuka Music School’s 106th year attend the entrance ceremony at the school in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, on April 17. (Yoshinori Mizuno)

  • Photo/Illustraion

TAKARAZUKA, Hyogo Prefecture--After surviving a highly competitive entrance exam, 40 newly admitted students of the famed Takarazuka Music School took the stage for the first time at their entrance ceremony held at the school here on April 17.

The two-year school, southwest of Osaka, is a prerequisite training program to join the Takarazuka Revue, a popular female-only musical theater group, which dates back more than a century.

The ratio of applicants to spots at the school was 24.1 for the troupe's 106th year.

At the ceremony, as the names of the newbies in gray uniforms were called out one by one, the students responded in a loud voice and stood up.

“I look forward to seeing you grow,” school Principal Koichi Kobayashi said in his welcoming speech.

Marina Kimura of Suita, Osaka Prefecture, representing the new students, spoke at the ceremony.

“We are here to pledge to devote our lives for the endless pursuit of the art of the theater to become fine performers while observing the (company's) motto of ‘modesty, fairness and grace,’” Kimura said.

The students will be trained in theatrical performances, including singing and dancing, for two years, and are then expected to join the renowned theater troupe.