Misedashi of Maiko Kimimoe from the Toshikimi Okiya
December 14th was the day of Maiko Kimimoe Misedashi in the Miyagawa-Cho Hanamachi or Geisha District. The “Misedashi” ceremony is the official debut of a girl as a Maiko (apprentice geisha). After spending about 10 months as a “Shikomi”, the candidate becomes a “Minarai”, for a short period of time that varies depending on the district, and then makes her debut as a Maiko. From this day, her name tablet is displayed at the entrance of the Okiya (geisha house) and she will be able to work with the Geiko (the way the geisha are called in Kyoto), learning directly from her seniors (older maiko and geiko), accompanying them to their engagements, as well as attending school to learn the Kyoto way to talk and behave, dancing, music, and much more. The seniors teach their juniors everything about working in the “floating world”, the serving of tea, the playing of shamisen, dancing, and casual talk with guests.
On the day of the Misedashi, the new Maiko wears her most formal outfit (a black kimono and a golden obi) as well as special hair ornaments such as two kanzashi on each side of the head, several very expensive “Bekko-kanzashi” made of real tortoiseshell and a silver “Miokuri-kanzashi”, basically four silver plates tucked in under her bun in the back.
A large crowd of photographers usually wait for the new maiko to come out of her okiya and have pictures taken of her. After this, she’ll go around the geisha district to “Ochaya” (tea houses) and other local places with her “Onee-san” (older sister) to be presented and to ask them for their support during her career. She’s usually followed by a large number of photographers trying to record the event.
I wish her all the best in her career!