geisha make up


This spring coordinate owned by Ninben okiya (Gion Kobu) is for senior maiko, and has been worn by Mamahana and Mamesome.

The mild green kimono has cherry blossom motifs that are pink, purple and yellow. The flower blooms at the end of March to mid April in kyoto, so it’s ideal to wear then.

It’s no secret that the star of this coordinate is the maneki neko obi. Maneki neko, or beckoning cats, have different meanings depending on their color, and the ones on this obi are modeled after the japanese bob-tail breed, meaning they welcome good luck, wealth and prosperity.
There are two different maneki neko on the obi. One wearing a bell for protection and inviting customers with its raised left paw. The other with a coin for wealth and inviting money and good business with its raised right paw.

While the obiage Mamehana and Mamesome wore are different, they both had cherry blossom motifs.

Pictures by Rick Osuna, Onihide, abbey j, kagen33takataka0211 and Teruhide Tomori

taureangyal  asked:

Hello. Please, can you tell about the "mizuage"? I've searched for the information on many websites, on some it was said, that in the past many geikos had it, on others it was said, that it was sort of "illegal" ritual for Geikos, so only few had. What about Mineko Iwasaki? When did that ritual begin? Was it for real or no? Looking forward!!! P.S. I love your page!!!*-*

I’m sorry that I took so long to answer, I wanted to include everything that I know (missmyloko has talked about this topic on her blog just a few days ago, so I wanted to add that as well) and construct it so that it’s easy to follow and not completely mixed up, like some of my longer asks ^^. So take a seat, this is going to be a long one ^^.

The word mizuage (水揚げ, “Raising Waters”) has several meanings. The first is that it’s the name of the ceremony during which a junior Maiko is promoted to a senior Maiko. The most visible differences between a junior and a senior Maiko is that a junior Maiko wears the wareshinobu hairstyle and a senior Maiko the ofuku hairstyle; the junior Maiko also wears a visibly more red collar than a senior Maiko; that of a senior Maiko is almost white, only a small part at the neck is still red.

During this ceremony, the top-knot of the respective Maiko’s wareshinobu hairstyle is ritually cut open and small presents are handed out to ochaya she frequents, close clients, or okiya her okiya may have close relationships with. It’s like a little party to celebrate the promotion of the girl. Afterwards, the girl will wear the ofuku hairstyle as her everday-hairstyle.

However, mizuage was also the name of a ceremony during which Oiran, high-class courtesans in old Japan, and Yuujo, ordinary prostitues, were ritually deflowered in exchange for a large amount of money paid by the highest bidder. It’s not clear why the names for the two ceremonies are the same, but it’s probably because the quarters of Geisha, Oiran and Yuujo were close together and they were all part of the karyukai, the flower and willow world.

Additionally, and this is likely where the word originally came from, fishermen use the word mizuage to talk about how much fish they caught a day, and the word mizuage is also used by Geisha to talk about their monthly earnings. As you can see, this is starting to get confusing.

Now, many people belive that Geisha also had a mizuage-ceremony in the sexual way; i.e. being deflowered by a man in exchange for a lot of money. This belief is also used time and time again to give reasons for Geisha being high-class prostitutes, which is still what most people in the west think Geisha are, if they know them at all. That is wrong, simply put. If you want to know about why Geisha have the reputation of being prostitutes in the west, do not hesitate to answer, I’ll gladly answer you.

However, this belief is also supported by both the novel and the movie Memoirs of a Geisha, sadly the most popular piece of fiction, and pretty much all modern literature, to been written on Geisha. In that book and corresponding movie, the main character, a Maiko and later Geiko in Gion Kobu, is ritually deflowered by a client for the largest amount of money anyone has paid for a mizuage in decades. This portrayal of mizuage in context of Geisha is plain wrong and extremely misleading and disrespectful, as is the rest of the book, and I’d highly recommend anyone who is new to Geisha to not read until they have gathered some further knowledge.

Arthur Golden, the author of the novel, talked to famous retired Geiko Mineko Iwasaki of Gion Kobu and used things she told him about her life as a Geisha in his book. However, he completely distorted things and even plain made up things that fit better into the imagination of what Geisha are by western people. For example, Mineko Iwasaki referred to her monthly earnings as mizuage, but he wrote into his book that the “sexual kind” of mizuage aso took place in Kyoto (and even happened to her, as he claimed his main character was greatly influenced and modelled after her), specifically in Gion Kobu, which is plain wrong. He also credited her in his novel, although she explicitly asked him not to. As a result of the public now knowing that she had consulted with Golden and people thinking that she herself made these horrible false claims, she received death threats and her old district Gion Kobu broke off all relations with her, and it took years to clear up the situation and rekindle her broken relationships.

But here we get to a point where it gets really complicated, as things are rarely simple in the karyukai: In the past, some Geisha did have sex with their clients. That is because, before WWII, in some Geisha-districts across Japan, it was legal to become “double-registrated” as a Geisha and a prostitute, a Yuujo. These women would entertain their clients with music, dance, games and conversation, like all Geisha do, but would then, unlike other Geisha, go on to have sexual relations with some of them.

Double-registration was especially common in poorer parts of Japan, where the respective Geisha had to also become prostitutes to make a living. Especially affected were Onsen-Geisha, which is what the Geisha working in hot spring resorts (Onsen) are called. First of all, there just are a lot of them, Onsen-Geisha made and make up the majority of Geisha, and also, aside from popular Onsen-towns like Beppu and Atami, many Onsen-towns lacked a steady stream of visitors and enough merchants (the main supporters of Geisha before WWII) to support Geisha. They were simply forced to make money through other means as well.

Many double-registrated Geisha also had a sexual mizuage, because it meant making a large amount of money at once. It was usually used to pay off a big part or all of the debt they had with their okiya for their accumulated training and living-expenses.

If you’re interested in learning more about double-registration, I’d recommend the book “Autobiography of a Geisha” by Sayo Masuda, who worked as a double-registrated Geisha before and through WWII.

Now, I want to emphasize, because they have a very bad reputation, that Onsen-Geisha were and are not prostitutes; the majority of them were just regular Geisha, like their sisters in the big cities, and even those who did work as prostitutes were still well-trained artists; the fact that they also were prostitutes does not undermine their artistic accomplishments. And double-registration did occur in other parts of the country as well, of course.

Double-registration occured in what many (Ex-)Geisha themselves, including Mineko Iwasaki, call “lower-class districts”, meaning that most prestigious and well-known districts were never affected by it. Overall, double-registration never affected the vast majority of Geisha, and double-registrated Geisha were even looked down upon by their fellow Geisha-sisters in more well-off hanamachi.

Then, there’s also something missmyloko mentioned in her dicussion about mizuage and Liza Dalby’s book “Geisha” on her blog a few days ago. For her famous book “Geisha”, Liza Dalby interviewed several older Geiko working in the Pontocho-hanamachi of Kyoto, one of the most high-class hanamachi in the entire country, who said that their mizuage was, indeed, of sexual nature.

Missmyloko pointed out that they may not have been talking about their actual mizuage-ceremony, but about something different. She said that the rules in Pontocho possibly stated that a Geiko couldn’t be a virgin, as Geiko are considered mature women, which may have intailed, at that time, that they should have had some sexual experience. In that case, there would have been a more experienced man found to “help the girl out”, i.e. deflower her, not too long before her Erikae. Since this ritual wouldn’t have been performed for pleasure on both sides and there was no money or goods exchanged, it wouldn’t have been prostitution. It would have basically been a rite of passage, and wouldn’t have been illogical by customs and mindsets at the time (not only in Japan, by the way). However, since it wasn’t specified and since most or all women interviewed by Dalby are dead by now, there is no way to find out the truth.

I hope I covered everything and did so correctly. If you have any follow-up questions, don’t hesitate to ask me ^^.

NEO S/S 2016

PHOTO: Alek Živković
MUA: Sanja Orlandić Sretković
HAIR : Dacha Hair
MODEL: Marijana Stracenski

This collection was heavily inspired by traditional Maiko, Geisha and Oiran hairstyles named “shimada” as well as “obi” belts, and cultural heritage of the forerunner of modern technology and minimal design, Japan. Handmade jewelry and accessories in my collection are a vital yet individual parts that if taken of can change the visual identity of the individual garment, the whole collection as well as being a show-off of my designing ideas, is an innovational strive of mine to make a fashion product that can be reused unlike today’s fashion makes us believe!

anonymous asked:

1/2 There was this post going around on tumblr a while ago about how a mother let her daughter dress up in a kimono, wear geisha type make up and, have a "japanese tea party" A lot of eople called it cultural appropriation, and someone who claimed they were a japanese person in/from japan said there was nothing wrong with what they were doing, that the only reason people were freaking out was because the little girl was white,

2/2 and that the only racist person was a commenter who said it was cultural appropriation. That they were being racist because the girl and her family were white. And while I can’t speak for people in Japan and how they feel, something just felt off about it to me.

Well first of all, I’m not Japanese so I can’t speak for anyone but here are a few things:

  • You can’t be racist towards white people.
  • Just because one Japanese person is not offended by something does not mean they get to speak for every Japanese person who may take offense to it. And some of these “Asian” or “POC” bloggers are just white people hiding behind some anime icon with racist “aesthetics” pretending to be non-white.
  • Anyone can culturally appropriate from anyone, it’s not a white versus People of Color thing. However, there’s a difference when white people culturally appropriate from People of Color because it’s often influenced by racism, colonialism, and other oppressive forces.

Angry Asian Guy

gion-lady’s .:Geiko and Maiko Video Documentary Masterpost!:.

Here are some great informational videos and mini-docs on Kyoto Maiko and Geiko! Enjoy!

  1. Seasoning the Seasons: The Enigmatic Entertainers of Gion (28 min)
  2. BBC Geisha Girl (Geiko Kikuyu’s Story)
  3. NHK Japanology+Plus: Geiko and Maiko
  4. Hello-Nippon: Maiko + Asobi games
  5. A Day in the Life of a Geisha ft. Geiko Miehina!
  6. Kyoto, Miyagawa-Cho Mini-Doc ft. Maiko Fukunae!
  7. Full 30 min. footage of a Maiko painting her face
  8. 2011 Gion Odori: Maple Dance footage
  9. Japanology+Plus: Through the Eyes of a Geisha (Tokyo Geisha)
  10. 2015 143rd Miyako Odori footage
  11. Real Geisha, Real Women Documentary ft. Geiko Miehina (53 min)
  12. Beautiful 1935 Footage of Geiko dressing and make-up!
  13. Geisha vs. Oiran: What’s the Difference?
  14. Maiko of Kamichishiken ft. Katsue and Katsuya
  15. Core Kyoto: History of Geisha mini-doc (28 min)
  16. Geisha Entertainment at the Hatanaka Restaurant in Kyoto (24 min)
  17. The Arts of Kyoto (more about traditional experiences in Kyoto)
  18. 2014 Maiko Korin and Geiko Miehina perform Hagikikyou
  19. Geisha, Flowers of Kyoto (beautiful footage of Maiko and Geiko throughout Kyoto!)
  20. Differences Between Geiko and Maiko ft. Geiko Miehina!
  21. Konpira, Fune Fune! Geisha Asobi Games ft. Geiko Miehina!
  22. Beautiful Kyoto: Being a Maiko ft. Maiko Fukunae!
  23. Gion Matsuri in HD
  24. Experience Japan with Yuka: How to Meet a Geiko!

Please take most of these videos with a grain of salt; many of them are translated from Japanese to English, and some of them no doubt mistranslate what the Geiko say. Use these videos as a springboard for learning more! There’s a lot of ins and outs in this subject, and it’s tricky to find authentic and accurate information about Geisha. Always think critically and have fun!

Follow @gion-lady for more Geiko and Maiko!


Got bored and wanted to use my cool markers on the Lady! With progress shown!^w^ the colored pictures are her normally and my attempt at making geisha make-up for her.
I’m thinking about maybe drawing her dancing for the guests at some point too. Dancing to, you know, lure them into a false sense of security before they die!XD

NEO S/S 2016

PHOTO: Alek Živković
MUA: Sanja Orlandić Sretković
HAIR : Dacha Hair
MODEL: Marijana Stracenski

This collection was heavily inspired by traditional Maiko, Geisha and Oiran hairstyles named “shimada” as well as “obi” belts, and cultural heritage of the forerunner of modern technology and minimal design, Japan. Handmade jewelry and accessories in my collection are a vital yet individual parts that if taken of can change the visual identity of the individual garment, the whole collection as well as being a show-off of my designing ideas, is an innovational strive of mine to make a fashion product that can be reused unlike today’s fashion makes us believe!


This coordinate is owned by Shibata okiya (Gion Kobu) and is for senior maiko.

It’s uncommon to see a black kimono that is not kuromonstuki (formal crested kimono), but I think the dark color is a nice contrast to the bright orange lining. Despite its simple color sheme, the kimono has a lot going on.
It has turf, pine, mountain, rocks, crysthanamum, bellflower and other Autumn and Winter motifs. The motifs of the kimono are made using a tie-dyeing technique called shibori, that is very difficult to master, and is therefore very expensive. This particular kind of shibori is called kanako, or fawn spots, and is very common.

The obi is a pale yellow with gold, white and green maple leaves, that compliment the kanzashi very well.

Watch her dance Gion Kouta or Roku-dan kushi in this coordinate.

Pictures by Onihide