Thursday, November 8, 2007

Kanikakunisai and a Misedashi

Every November 8 there is a geisha festival held in Gion, in honor of the famous geisha patron Yoshii Isamu. This festival is called "Kanikakunisai" in honor of his famous poem about how much he loved Gion. This poem was inscribed on a stone beside the Shirakawa river in Gion, and every year a few maiko and geiko from Gion offer flowers and prayers here.

Of course, being an avid geisha photographer, today Peter headed down to try to get some photographs of the ceremony. Unfortunately the word had got around and there were hundreds of amature photographers and press already staking out the area around the rock, and it was all but impossible to get a picture. You can see one on his Flickr account he took while they were on their way to the ceremony.

After returning from the festival, there was another important event to attend. A new maiko was debuting in the Miyagawa-cho district, and Peter went to get some photos of Kimiaya on her first day as a maiko. The Japanese word for a maiko debut is "misedashi". There were a lot of other photographers there too, because a Misedashi is a very exciting event.

Peter's photos can be seen on his Flickr account here, and a video about the debut is on YouTube here.

On the way home he also ran into another Maiko he knows from Miyagawa-cho named Satoai and asked if she could stop for a picture as well.

You can see the picture he took here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Kabuki and Maiko Debut

Yesterday I went to Kabuki at Zokei University of Art and Design's theater. My friend Nakamura Ganosuke got my wife and I 8th row seats next to the hanamichi. There were at least 15 geiko/maiko from Miyagawa-cho and at least 20 from Gion Kobu. The main act was Sakata Tojuro's "Yoshidaiya", a role that he is very used to doing. Of course it was done to perfection. With the the "kakegoe" the numberous geiko/maiko in attendance, it was a true "kabuki" experience. Also yesterday in Miyagawa-cho, Fukue made her "misedashi" (debut). She was born and raised in Miyagawa-cho, her real name being Shiho. She is 15. Of course running an establishment in Miyagawa-cho, I was obligated to show my congratulations by hiring her (aisatsubana) and offering the congratulatory envelope. Being born in Miyagawa-cho, I have the greatest hopes and expectations that she becomes a top maiko.