Monday, November 3, 2008

Geisha Questions

I am collecting questions about and for geisha from geisha fans.

If you have a question you are curious about or if you have a question you would like to ask a geisha please leave it in the comments!

Every effort will be made to answer your question(s).

Please feel free to pass this around, the more questions the better!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Singapore TV Show Shooting

Last week Peter was involved with shooting a television show for Singapore TV, about Japanese dance.

The host of the show, Belinda, studied the kind of dance that maiko and geiko study, with the help of a dance teacher and Miehina.

We do not have information of the name of the TV show or when it will be screened yet, but we will try to update when we know. I hope anyone in Singapore will enjoy it!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tengukai with Taikomochi

Peter belongs to a gourmet group called the "Tengukai" which is a group of Japanese professionals who are all accomplished in the arts or specialists of Japanese culture who enjoy good food and drink. Every month or so they get together, perform their various arts for each other, as well as hire maiko, geiko etc....

On May 31st they invited a "taikomochi" or "hokan" (male geisha) from the Asakusa district in Tokyo to join the festivities. Sakuragawa Shichiko is one of four remaining taikomochi in Tokyo. Here are a few pictures of the group and then evening.

Impersonating a courtesan and name sticker.

Shichiko-san having a laugh with Tengukai members.

Shichiko-san with Peter and Tengukai members.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tokyo Azuma Odori

The Azuma Odori has been held in the Shimbashi Embujo Theater since 1923. It is one of the public's only chances to see the geisha of Shimbashi, Tokyo in action. This is an event that happens anually, usually at the end of May, and is usually attended by geisha representing all the districts in Tokyo, and many made the trip from Kyoto, including the top names from Gion Kobu and Miyagawa-cho. Peter was asked by a Kamishichiken tea house owner to take her to see the dances last Sautrday, so they went for the day. Because photos were prohibited, we're posting the cover of the pamphlet and some pictures inside that were taken but another photographer (these are not Peter's photos).

The cover.

Geisha performing a dance called "Ume no Sakae" (The Prosperity of Plum Blossoms)

Geisha performing in the roles of Oiran (highest class of Tokyo cortesan) and Shinzo (apprentices to the Oiran).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Busy April

April is the busiest tourist season of the year in Japan, not just for international visitors, but for domestic travellers. I've been working all kinds of crazy hours this month, so I'm sorry for not updating much!

Today I am posting pictures of some of the maiko who entertained at my company's parties this month. If you are interested in having a private geiko or maiko party with me interpreting, please visit the VIP Services section of my Hanagumo website for details.

Tsuruha, the first maiko from Okinawa, who now works in the Gion Kobu district.

Kimiyuu - Portrait
Kimiyuu from the Miyagawa-cho district.

More photos are on my Flickr Photo Page.

Friday, April 11, 2008


As you may have seen in our video about Yasuha's Erikae, on special occasions there are posters put outside houses. These posters are called "mokuroku", and are for wishing a maiko/geiko luck on misedashi (debut as a maiko) and erikae (graduation to a geiko).

Here is a detailed look and explanation of the one Peter commissioned for Yasuha:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Miyako Odori 2008 Video

Here is a video "trailer" for this year's Miyako Odori. We filmed it at the dress rehearsal.

I hope that if you come to Kyoto this April you will get to see the dances!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Miyako Odori 2008

Today Peter attended the special invite-only dress rehearsal of the Miyako Odori. The Miyako Odori is the most famous geisha dance, which gives the general public the chance to see geisha perform without hiring them personally. The Miyako Odori runs from April 1 to 30, and is held in the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo. The performances run 4 times a day at 12:30, 2:00, 3:30 and 4:50. You can usually buy tickets on the day, except probably weekends, and especially the later sessions.

This is this year's dance booklet:

And as a present here are scans of the maiko who are performing this year:

Maiko Page 1
Maiko Page 2
Maiko Page 3
Maiko Page 4

Video to come soon!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yasuha's Erikae

Last week, maiko Yasuha of the Miyagawa-cho geisha district "turned her collar" and became a geiko (geisha). Peter was there to photograph this happy event, and we have some photos and videos to share.

Yasuha - Erikae

For more photos: Visit Peter's Flickr account.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Guts Kansai!!

On February 11 at 2:50pm, Peter will appear on Guts Kansai TV show. In this episode he shows movie star Junichi Ishida and ex.Morning Musume Nakazawa Yuko around Kyoto in Japanese. He takes them to famous and not-so-famous sights in Kyoto, to show them that Kyoto is like a "Theme Park City" in Japan.

Outside Kiyomizudera temple in the snow.

With the hosts of the show outside Yasaka Jinja Shrine (her agent said we couldn't show her face in our blog, sorry!)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Setsubun and Obake

Setsubun is a Japanese festival celebrating the beginning of Spring in Japan. On this day it is traditional for familes to throw beans out of their house while chanting "Devils out, luck in!" to ward off bad luck for the coming year.

In Kyoto there are many "Mamemaki" ceremonies where preists and invited guests (such as maiko and geisha) throw lucky beans people visiting shrines. There is also another custom in Kyoto called "Obake", which is like Japanese Halloween. This custom is now confined mainly to the geisha districts, where geisha go from tea house to tea house and perform a skit while dressed in outrageous costumes.

One of the rules of Obake is that things are topsy-turvey. Old dress as young, men dress and women and vice-versa. This year Peter and his friends dressed up for Setsubun in Obake costumes, much to the amusement of the tourists! Many Japanese people do not know about Obake and thought they were actors. Peter was dressed as an old-fashioned courtesan and performed a dance. There will be a video on YouTube soon!

Peter as "Munage-Dayuu" (Hairy-chested Courtesean, LOL).

Peter and friends outside Yasaka Jinja.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tsuukai Everyday! 痛快!エブリデイ

On January 23 I will appear on Kansai Television's morning show "Tsuukai! Everyday" (Thrilling! Everyday) as a guest, along with geiko Umechika and comedy duo "Daian" (the group named themselves after their school's English teacher, Dianne). The hosts of the show explored northen Kyoto, at which point they stumbled across me in Kamishichiken, where I taught them how to take pictures of geiko and maiko.

Peter, Umechika and Daian.

Umechika in her Hometown, Yamagata

On December 30, Peter went to Yamagata Prefecture in Northern Japan to work on his two projects- his photobook on the geiko Umechika (due out in June), and to get video footage for his documentary "Real Geisha, Real Women" (TBC in 2009).

Umechika (lower left) and friends from high school.

Umechika with high school friends and Peter.

The Tohoku Shinkansen pulling into the station.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Video on Youtube!

The video of the New Years Greetings is now available for viewing on YouTube.

We will continue to upload geisha and kyoto related videos from time to time, so keep an eye out!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Omedetou-san dosu.

On January 6, the "Shin Aisatsu" or New Years Greetings were held in the geisha district of Miyagawa-cho. Peter went to photograph and film the proceedings, as well as say Happy New Year to all the geiko and maiko he works with.

There were many amature photographers and tourists (Japanese and foreign) gathered around to see the event, all hoping to catch a great shot. As most were not customers of the tea houses, they must have been surpised to see the geiko and maiko greet Peter by name along with the other regular Japanese customers!

The video from this event will soon be uploaded on YouTube, and may be included in Peter's upcoming documentary "Real Geisha, Real Women".

Some of the photographs he took are now available to see on Peter's Flickr account.

Happy New Year everyone!