Toward the end of February 2021, I heard that the popular geiko Toshiemi san was about to retire. This was surprising news about one of the most popular Geiko of the Miyagawa-Cho Kagai. I promptly asked around and received confirmation of her decision to leave.
I was then lucky to be able to arrange for the last photoshoot with her. This took place on the 2nd of March, the day she actually retired.
Geiko Toshiemi was wearing a beautiful pink kimono…
Taking place on January 4th, the Shin Aisatsu (新挨拶) or New Year’s Greeting of the Kamishichiken Hanamachi (Geisha District) is the first “event” of the year around Kyoto’s Kagai (another word for the so-called “flower town” or geisha world of Kyoto).
The following photos were made during three public photoshoots organized in Kyoto during the Fall (2018 and 2019). The theme is always “Maiko & Momiji”. The photos were taken at the Chishakuin Temple, the National Museum and the Shôsei-en Garden, with groups of five geimaiko.
On January 13th, all the Maiko and Geiko of the Gion Kobu Hanamachi (flower town or geisha district) visit the house of their teacher, Yachiyo Inoue, the master of Gion Kobu’s dance school, the Inoue School of Dance, to thank her for her service and present their best wishes for the New Year.
In winter, it is already the night and dark when the maiko leave their “okiya” (the geisha house where they live) to go to meet their patrons for the evening. I like this opportunity for night photography and all the challenges this implies.