This is part 1 of a 2 part series. Part 2 is over here: You call that a maiko/geiko costume? Part 2 : Geiko
I'm one nitpicky girl. And I kind of criticize everything I see, hear, touch, taste, smell, feel... even myself (oh god, I'm my own worst critic). So when it comes to a hobby I have diligently researched about, I CANNOT BEAR when it becomes so BLATANTLY DISRESPECTED by other people (wtf is up with all these bathrobe geisha).
Here's a super short and condensed version of what I know about the karyuukai (flower and willow world) so far.
I've decided to compile a list of TO-DOs for people who want to cosplay as maiko and geiko of Kyoto. The manner of wearing has been established since about Edo period and has not changed much over time, except probably the popular designs and fashions. I will not explain much of the terms because GIYF.
Pictures are from KyotoMaikoCH, Onihide, Kofuji, fuyou-hime, Joi, etc. Flickr people mostly( Super long entry under the cutCollapse )
There you have it. I did make a point of having all 5 kagai (hanamachi) represented. Wait, lemme check...
Yup, that's 5. Gion Kobu, Gion Higashi, Pontocho, Miyagawa-cho and Kamishichiken. I had the hardest time looking for appropriate photos of Gion Higashi girls because they're extremely rare (only about a handful) whereas I can easily find Gion Kobu and Miyagawa-cho girls. It doesn't help that my favorite maiko are in Gion Kobu.
Currently, I haven't found a "favorite" from the other kagai yet however, my former favorite, Kikuyu-san was from Miyagawa-cho that's why I'm a bit familiar with that Kagai. I'm beginning to like other kagai for their geiko, especially Kamishichiken's Umeha and Miyagawa-cho's Kikutsuru (okiya oneesan of Kikuyu, Kikune and Kikushino) however Gion Kobu to me remains the most familiar and thus, my favorite.
My current favorite geiko is a toss between Miyagawa-cho's Kikutsuru and Kikuno and Gion Kobu's Mamechiho (who is totally ebiiiiiil osm funny) since my former favorites have quit (Kotoha, Suzuha, etc.) These girls are all tachikata geiko (atm) however I do have one favorite jikata geiko, Mameyoshi of Gion Kobu, who has this wonderful deep husky voice for a member of the karyuukai (they usually have these cutesy voices). I found her when I was looking into Mamechiho-san's videos coz she usually the one sings and plays the shamisen for Mamechiho-san's ozashiki.
And CLEARLY, my favorite maiko is Ayano-san of Gion Kobu (there's another Ayano-san from Pontocho, different kanji). She's originally from Tokyo and entered the karyuukai when she was 16 (she quit school during her 2nd year of senior highschool, I think) and debuted when she was 17. She's like the cutest thing EVER. I call her the Tegoshi Yuya of Kyoto. Coincidentally, Tego's attitude is like Mamechiho-san's: loves to play pranks, Do S-ish, but is so adorable that she charms the pants off people. Ayano-san is just as charming. She did attempt to speak English at an ozashiki and it was funny and cute, I totally died of cuteness overload.
My second favorite would be the maiko Kyoka who totally looks like A DOLL. She looks really cool and mysterious and kind of snotty but she's really shy and cute. My third favorite is between Kyoka-san's oneesan in the okiya, Sayaka-san (who might debut next year), Mamechiho-san's imouto (in the okiya who will debut as a geiko at the end of November) Mamehana-san and Ayano-san's imouto in the okiya, Fumino-san. I hope they all graduate to geiko status and not quit so fast.
Go on to read part 2: You call that a maiko/geiko costume? Part 2 : Geiko