If not for the geisha Mameharu, my new book Now a Geisha would not exist. Mameharu was the first maiko to say yes to me photographing her erikae (debut as a geiko), so she opened the door for me.
I told her exactly this when I signed her copy of the book. If you like, you can see my inscription on Mameharu’s Instagram page. She posted several photos of the book, including her favorite.
Since she has retired, Mameharu uses her real name, Moe Koyama, which is why I signed the book to Moe, not Mameharu.
As with most things in the world of geiko and maiko, getting permission to photograph Mameharu’s erikae was not easy. It started in March 2012, when I first found out Mameharu would be having her erikae.