Every once in a while, I buy old magazines, books, and various knick-knacks with pictures of maiko and geiko on them, then scan them and upload to Flickr to share with you all. I like to think that I’m helping keep the memories of these ladies alive. Plus, it’s always fun to admire their hikizuri kimono!
The Sun Magazine, June 1972 Issue:
The Sun, June 1972
This one features one of the most famous geisha ever, Mineko Iwasaki. She is infamous for not only being the geiko informant behind Arthur Golden’s “Memoirs of A Geisha”, but also for suing him for defamation of character due to his portrayal of the geisha world. (Specifically, the practice of mizuage, the controversial selling of a maiko’s virginity once she became a geiko. Side note here: it is a highly debated topic on whether or not this historical practice actually occurred after the 1956 Anti-Prostitution Laws came into effect, or indeed, ever occurred at all. General consensus seems to be that while it did indeed occur in the past, it most certainly no longer does today. Iwasaki is also known for being a proponent for the argument that mizuage has never occurred.) She also sued Golden for revealing that she was the one who provided him information concerning the world of geisha, which she claimed was given on condition of anonymity, due to the secretive world of the geisha.
Some playing cards featuring maiko:
Maiko Playing Cards
Kyoto Gion, 1994:
This one is especially exciting, because one of the pages has a maiko’s hanameishi! (Literally, a “flower card”, which is like their personal business card given to attendants when they entertain at an ozashiki party.) I think it probably belongs to the maiko on the page it is stuck to. The page also seems to be signed with a note. The inside cover of the book also has a note in it, both of which can be seen below. If anyone can help out with translating the script, I’d be very grateful!
I have three more books waiting to be scanned, so those are next on my list!