One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Japanese kabuki theatre: = onnagata.
1920s. From Japanese oyama (also as woyama), probably originally short for Oyama ningyō puppet made by, or in the style of, the brothers Jirō and Saburō Oyama, but later also in senses ‘female impersonator’, ‘beautiful woman, prostitute’. With the sense development from ‘doll, puppet’ to ‘beautiful woman’ compare English doll.
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