Geisha with a white cat, 1905 by Blue_Ruin1 on Flickr

“Our house has a cat… and we always play with him before the ozashiki [party rooms] start… A lot of okiya [geisha houses] keep dogs or cats. Since we live together we become like a family, and I guess the pets become kind of like substitute children – it sometimes seems as if they are more important than the maiko [apprentices] and geiko [geisha]!”

From “A geisha’s journey: my life as a Kyoto apprentice” by Komomo, first published in 2008, page 70.

Geisha Koyakko 1920s (by Blue Ruin1)

Koyakko (小奴) was a talented dancer in the Shinbashi geisha district of Tokyo. After the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 she succeeded to the professional name of Hanayagi Sumi (花柳寿美) and went on to modernize traditional dance-drama. A motion picture was later made of her career.

A Geisha and her Cat - Vintage Japanese postcard (1926)

A Geisha and her Cat - Vintage Japanese postcard (1926)