Saturday, August 17, 2013

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: Tokyo Cha Cha!

Okay - here's the deal:  click here, then come right back!

The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious. Camp is playful, anti-serious.
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"

Thanks to the vagaries of YouTube, today's SSCE requires an extra step: our feature is, sadly, victim of the "embedding disabled by request" option, and so you'll have to run over there, experience the madness, and then come back.  See you after the jump.

There.  Wasn't that worth it?

The star is Azumi Yukimura, and the remarkable-looking work from which the number comes is the 1955 hit Janken Musume (So Young, So Bright).  As is common in Japan throughout the '50s and '60s, Miss Yukimura appears to be suffering a bad case of Audrey Hepburn poisoning (I'm particularly taken with her tidy white gloves).  It's a number that's notable also for the relatively rare appearance of a corps of distinctly butch Safety Gals, ones who rather mystifyingly appear to be dressed not so much for a cha-cha as for some sort of Commedia dell'arte production of Johnny Guitar.  It suddenly strikes me that perhaps that Japanese musicals may be an under-experienced part of my movie fandom - it's clearly not all Godzilla and stomped metropolises out Tokyo way.

If you enjoyed that bright moment in East-West cultural exchange, I suggest you head back to YouTube (damn that anti-embedding feature!) and take in another number from Janken Musume, this one starring Miss Hibari Misora.  Ten to one you'll find yourself both enthralled and muttering, hopelessly, to yourself, "I will not make jokes about 'ra vie en lose,' I will not make..."


  1. Ah, the magnificence of the mispronounced Engrish - I love it. And I thought our double album collection of songs by 1920s and 30s Shanghai divas - original and remixed versions - was camp! Jx

  2. "Commedia dell'arte production of Johnny Guitar" says it all!