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The "Lonely Planet Tokyo" iPhone app describes female sword fighting as a bygone form of male entertainment:

Surprisingly, striptease almost failed to catch on due to the popularity of a rival form of risqué entertainment, namely female sword fighting (to modern ears, the idea of scantily clad jousting females might sound a bit strange, but at the time it was the height of erotic entertainment).

Is there a Japanese term that refers to this phenomenon, as opposed to legitimate fighters who just happen to be female?

I tried googling and had no luck, but I heard from "worst jobs in history" that it was a form of entertainment in the United Kingdom.

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Link? Is this specific to Japanese culture? Otherwise I'm not sure you'll get a good answer. – Amanda S Jul 23 '11 at 10:00
@Amanda S: It's from an iPhone app, rather than the internet. If you use Google with "lonely planet female sword fighting" (no quotes), you come across a result from Google Books, though. – Andrew Grimm Jul 23 '11 at 10:21

Perhaps 女剣劇? It was apparently popular in the early Showa period; does that correspond to "at the time" in the part you quote?

(How I found this: I figured that it would probably be a word for sword-fighting with "female" attached as a modifier, so that the first two characters had a good chance of being "女剣". When I searched for that combination, I found 女剣劇.)

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