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!
October 21st, 2017: Maiko Koume (小梅) of Kaden (花傳) in Miyagawa Cho is now wearing the sakkō hairstyle! Like many who came before her, she is wearing Kaden’s signature Takarabune (宝船) sakkō kanzashi. Her erikae is expected on November 9th ^^
November 16th, 2017: A new minarai has made her surprise debut out of Miyagawa Cho! Her geimei is 君萌, which is pronounced as either Kimichō or Kimimomo, and she is from Toshikimi (利きみ). Her onesan is Kimihiro (君ひろ), which will make her the first imōto of the Toshikimi atotori. Her misedashi is scheduled for December ^^
October 7th, 2017: The second Komaya minarai has made her debut! Her geimei is Toshinana (とし七菜), which matches her twin minarai sister Toshinami (とし菜実), although Komaya does do this often with their girls. Her misedashi will be in November ^^
Another entry in the new series, this time we’re looking at an interesting query.
Hi missmyloko, On my instagram account I have seen many photos of maiko dancing in simple houmongi kimono and no oshiroi makeup. I am wondering, are there times when maiko can dance publicly or privately without the whole “look”? And are there events were the general public can see this?
So, let’s start by looking at the images they’re referring to:
Starting with Mikako (実佳子) of Nishimura (西村) in Gion Kobu, we can see that she’s not wearing a houmongi at all. She’s wearing a komon, which is what she should be wearing as this image was taken during dance practice. You can tell that she’s practicing because she’s using the practice fans that I’ve spoken about earlier.
Secondly, looking at Umehina (梅ひな) of Umeno (梅乃) in Kamishichiken, we can see that she’s dancing in a room with a traditional folding screen. She was asked to dress semi-formally in what appears to be a tsukesage (It’s quite hard to tell from the angles given) for what seems to be a casual photo shoot. This is becoming quite common among photographers as maiko are allowed to be more relaxed and, well, themselves. Here Umehina was likely allowed to perform her favorite dances and the photographer happily took pictures. A tsukesage is just below a houmongi in formality and sits in the middle of the kimono formality scale. It is considered appropriate wear for inside a place of gathering, like an ochaya or house.
Thirdly, this image of Toshimomo (とし桃) of Komaya (駒屋) in Miyagawa Cho bucks the trend of the others. This image was taken at the Miyagawa Cho Beer Garden, which is a public event where people can pay to drink beer, mingle with maiko and geiko, and watch them perform. Since this is a casual event maiko and geiko dress in yukata, as this also allows them to stay cool in the summer heat.
Lastly we have the geigi Ponta (ぽん太) of Kanazawa. Like Toshimomo she is wearing a yukata, which denotes that this image was taken at an informal event, likely for the public as well. Even during the summer maiko and geiko do not wear yukata to ozashiki as this is seen as far too informal.
October 5th, 2017: One of the two Komaya minarai has been spotted for the first time! Unlike many of her recent okiya sisters she is a member of the Toshi- naming line and her geimei is Toshinami (とし菜実), although her onesan is still unknown. Her misedashi, along with the other Komaya minarai’s,will be in November.
July 11th, 2017: Senior maiko Toshiemi (とし恵美) of Komaya (駒屋) in Miyagawa Cho walks towards her first nightly engagement while wearing the Katsuyama (勝山) hairstyle. Senior maiko in all five kagai will wear the Katsuyama style from July 10th - 25th. All maiko, regardless of seniority, will wear a special kanzashi whose design changes each year exclusively for the Gion Festival. 2017′s design includes uchiwa (団扇 - round fans) with butterflies (蝶), multicolored clematis (鉄線), and pearl dew drops (真珠露).
June 2017: Maiko Toshisumi (とし純) of Komaya (駒屋) in Miyagawa Cho wears the yakko shimada hair style prior to sakkō in preparation for her erikae. Her erikae will take place towards the end of the month ^^