Tuesday, April 10, 2007
More Enka by Hibari Misora
More interesting information to report on this icon of Japanese culture:
There isn't much written information to substantiate it but there is a suggestion that Hibari Misora was actually a lesbian. References to previous film roles and her general appearance from the 1950s and onward seem to indicate that this is a strong possibility. Many of the roles that Hibari Misora played were male characters or female characters disguised as male. It became a typecast for her roles to depict some type of "gender bending."
This could be a reflection of her sexuality or it could merely be a cultural phenomenon.
The type of performances that depict sex role reversal were commonplace in the Kabuki Theatre as it was originally an all-female theatre that eventually allowed men into the troupe to play the roles of women. The theatre was restricted by the Tokugawa government due to suggestions of prostitution and the men were forced to shave their bangs so that they would not so easily pass for women. The kabuki theatre was quite popular with the samurai as it seemed to tap into an already existing current of "comrade love" that existed within that set of social mores. "Comrade love" was promoted to increase a soldier's strength and devotion and knowing this, it becomes easy to see how this manifestation came into being.
It's also interesting to note that Hibari Misora was only married for two years and then divorced, never to remarry.
Here's an EP of some more of her songs.