Tag Archives: photo

Show Up and Good Things Happen!

A maiko makes her way down Miyagawa-suji on a snowy day in March 2014

As I wrote a few days ago, this is my post from December 28, 2014. It was accidentally deleted, so I am posting it again. My apologies to those who subscribe to my blog via e-mail!

During my days as a street photographer in Kyoto from 2002 – 2006, the one image I was never able to make was a photograph of a maiko or geiko walking down the street on a snowy day.

I remember coming frustratingly close one time. It started snowing early in the afternoon, and it snowed all during my train ride from Osaka to Kyoto (I was living in Osaka then).

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The Geisha Toshikana, My “Topu Moderu”!

The geisha Toshikana of Miyagawa-cho in June 2014

I was coming out of an alley in Miyagawa-cho on a sunny afternoon a few months ago when I almost bumped into the geisha Toshimana. “Oh, hello,” she said to me. I don’t think Toshimana knows my name, but she knows that I photograph her best friend, the geiko Toshikana, on a regular basis.

Then, as expected, I got “the look.” Toshimana’s eyebrows crinkled in curiousity.

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Maiko Takahina in Hanagasa Junko

The maiko Toshikana of Gion Kobu participates in Hanagasa Junko during Gion Matsuri

My favorite event of the month-long Gion Matsuri in Kyoto is Hanagasa Junko (The Flower Hat Procession), which is held towards the end of the festival on July 24.

However, I never attend the event hoping to photograph maiko or geisha. In fact, I usually ignore the young women I often photograph and focus on the many other participants of the procession.

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Maiko Fukuhina in “Miyagawa Ondo”

The maiko Fukuhina of Miyagawa-cho dances in Miyagawa Ondo at the 2007 Kyo Odori

This is a portrait of the maiko Fukuhina of Miyagawa-cho performing in “Miyagawa Ondo,” the annual finale of Kyo Odori. The 65th Kyo Odori ended last Sunday, April 20, 2014, but this photo was taken at the 58th Kyo Odori in 2007 when photography was still permitted.

I have been attending Kyo Odori for a decade now, and the the 58th Kyo Odori remains one of the two most memorable for me, along with last year’s 64th performance. The earlier performance stands out because it was the first time I photographed the event, and last year stands out because of the dance “Yuki Onna” (“Snow Maiden” in English).

Unfortunately, photography has not been permitted since 2009, so I have no photographs of “Yuki Onna” to share with you!

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