“Now a Geisha runs to nearly 160 pages of gorgeous color photos and captions, with chapters anchored around the proceedings and preparations of the graduation day. For the casual reader there’s much to be gleaned…” The Japan Times
“Stunning photos follow the transition from maiko to geiko with accompanying text explaining the process, including interviews in the geiko’s own words. Featuring Mameharu and Manaha from Gion Kobu and Momifuku from Ponto-cho. Highly recommended!” Kirsty Thornton of Kikuya Kanzashi
Now a Geisha documents—in exquisite photographs and exclusive interviews and essays—every step in the metamorphosis of three young Japanese women from maiko (apprentice geisha) to geiko (Kyoto’s term for full-fledged geisha). The images and narratives unveil the unique traditions the women follow during the time of their debuts (known as their erikae). The geiko themselves talk honestly about what this transformation is like, as do the artists and craftspeople who make the momentous event possible.
The erikae period begins with a maiko wearing the sakkō hairstyle a few weeks before her debut and ends when the new geiko dons a brightly colored kimono a few days after it. The most meaningful and joyous occasion is the day of the erikae itself. In a mere two hours, the new geiko has her elaborate makeup applied, is fitted in an intricate wig for the first time, and slips into a formal black kimono tied with a gold sash. When the process is complete, the new geiko is escorted around her district and introduced to the community. By showing all the stages in the evolution from maiko to geiko, Now a Geisha gives readers unprecedented insight into how women become Japan’s most mysterious icons.