Everything Started From The Most Famous Frenchman In Japan

The most famous Indian woman in Japan, as I wrote in the past article “Who Cut the Milk?“, is Sujata. On the other hand, the most famous Frenchman in Japan would be Oscar François de Jarjayes, even though he is not male or he is not an existing character.


Oscar François de Jarjayes
Height: 178 cm (5 ft 10)
Weight: 58 kg (127.87 lb / 9 stone 13)
Bust: 87 cm (34 in)
Waist: 63 cm (25 in)
Hip: 90 cm (35 in)
Shoe size: 25 cm (USA 7 / EU 40 / UK 6)
information from Wikipedia


About him, most of you may already know, if you like Japanese Anime/Manga. He was born as a daughter of General François Augustin Regnier de Jarjayes, but he was raised as a man in order to take the place of his father and command the Royal Guards serving at Court after he retires. Oscar was in charge of protecting Marie Antoinette.

Oscar François de Jarjayes is one of the main characters in the manga/anime, “The Rose of Versailles“, (Berusaiyu no bara / ベルサイユのばら), the great work of Riyoko Ikeda.


Marie Antoinette e Oscar
in The Rose of Versailles
photo from Wikipedia

The Manga was serialized in weekly Manga magazine for girls, Margarett from 1972 to 1973. And from 1979 to 1980 the animation version was on the air. In France and Italy this animation is known under a name of “Lady Oscar”.

The story of “The Rose of Versailles” was also played by Takarazuka Revue and made a mega success. Takarazuka Revue is the first acting company which introduced revue to the Japanese, established in 1913, about 100 years ago. The characteristic of this company is that all the performers are unmarried young women called Takarasienne, who graduate from its own high school. Another characteristic is a unique style of makeup. I would rather refrain from putting their photos and videos, so please check the official Website, http://kageki.hankyu.co.jp/ and you can see a short movie in http://kageki.hankyu.co.jp/100th/. You will understand what I mean. You may know Kabuki, Japanese traditional theater, is performed only by men, thus Takarazuka Revue is on the contrary of it, but the unique makeup style is something in common.

“The Rose of Versailles” is a comic of 1970s. But it still boasts overwhelming influential power over Japanese culture. Look at these products!




a facial mask with fragrance of roses


an eyebrow pencil


an eyeliner


nutritional drinks containing collagen for beauty

These are “some” of the products which use the image of “The Rose of Versailles” as a marketing strategy. Of course, there are real roses, too, which were created by the Japanese leading Rose Breeding company, Keisei Rose Nurseries.


Visit the official site of Keisei Rose Garden in Chiba. Unfortunately, it is all written in Japanese but you will see the roses created with inspiration from each character of “The Roses of Versailles”.

If you take a look at the products, you will notice that they are NOT the products for kids, even though, normally, the act of advertising products using a Manga or Anime characters is dedicated for them.

I think it is very influential in the pop culture in Japan, especially in Visual kei music. Some of you may know that there is a magnificent band called “Versailles”, which, sadly broke up went to hiatus in 2012. Maybe the people of Visual Kei bands and their fan would be mad at me but I have to say there should be something in common between “The Rose of Versailles” and VK bands.


a very beautiful male vocalist, Toshiki, my friend, of a Visual Kei band “Pan-d-ra
a photo taken by Val Helcanen, my friend


Observing Japanese culture, I realize that the Japanese have been living on “images” after Meiji Restoration and especially after the World War II. We had been living inside small islands with people with black hair and black eyes. It was quite difficult to find the difference among us, the Japanese. However, after the opening of the door to the world, we met definitely different looking people for the first time, who were taller and who had bigger nose and eyes and more colourful hair than those of the Japanese. As I wrote in the past article “Japan, the country of Ukiyo-e or Kawaii culture?“, most of the characters in the animations have had very big eyes rather than almond-shaped eyes and blond hair since the very start of the TV broadcasting (1953). I would not like to deny anything because this is a culture created in our history. I think I could understand that there were times when the best thing was to amuse ourselves in a make‐believe world rather than to struggle in unpleasant realities which bit.

にほんブログ村 歴史ブログ 日本の伝統・文化へ
にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 英語の日記(和英併記)へ

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  1. Chi より:

    The article is great but I want to say that Versailles haven’t BROKEN they WENT TO HIATUS…

  2. rei_saionji より:

    Thank you Chi. That’s a very good news! Then I will make a correction.

  3. Johnb437 より:

    I am in agreement with pretty much everything that you mentioned entirely! Excellent website document! gaeedefbcccg

  4. rei_saionji より:

    Thank you, Johnb!


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