|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Ancient strippers still spreading their butterfly wings at prestigious university
Shukan Asahi 7/21 By Ryann Connell
From the land of panty vending machines and a thriving business in soiled knickers comes the news that a museum run by Japan's most prestigious private university has a collection of female stripper's undies dating back more than half a century, according to Shukan Asahi (7/21).
The Tsubouchi Memorial Theater Museum Waseda University, named in memory of the man who first translated Shakespeare into Japanese, contains over 70,000 items related to the stage in Japan.
And among those treasures are some real goldmines, even though they're not on view to the public.
These "treasures" are a set of skids, all covered in glittering decorations, dyed into flamboyant colors and shaped with distinctive wings that gave the undies the nickname of "butterflies."
They date back to the early 1950s, when they were worn by a stripper called Yumi Lees, who performed at a club called the Bijin-za.
Strip shows in Japan began in 1947 with a woman called Miharu Kai, who performed topless at the Teito-za in Shinjuku.
"She was supposed to be a katsujinga, or a 'living picture' like the French call a tableau vivant.
At least that was the excuse given to keep the cops away," a spokesman for the museum tells Shukan Asahi.
"She would sit in a swing hanging from a rope attached to the ceiling and go back and forth above the crowd while they gazed up her dress.
The model wasn't supposed to move an inch."
Eventually, the models did begin to move, though, and Japanese stripping was born.
The strippers all referred to their performances as "art," but the police had a different idea, arresting many of them, presumably for indecent exposure.
Waseda's museum has four pairs of "butterfly" undies within its inventory.
Members of the Asakusa-za strip club donated them for posterity back in 1953.
"There was a big ceremony held to mark the donation of the undies," one of the ceremony's surviving participants tells Shukan Asahi.
"The operator of the Asakusa-za turned up and so did a handful of strippers from the club.
They ceremoniously handed over the butterfly undies in a corner of the first floor of the museum."
Shukan Asahi notes that the museum's strip corner remains intact, replete with posters and other paraphernalia of the time, proving, perhaps that the strippers claims decades ago that their performances were "artistic" were indeed true, despite whatever the cops of the time believed. (By Ryann Connell)
July 18, 2006