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:
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To recap, I have been researching an alternate mon (crest) which is used by the Tama okiya (geisha house) of Gion Kobu, which is known as the “Kikyo Knot” 結び桔梗, seen here:
So, today I decided I’d try on my traditional Japanese-style wigs (katsura) to see how they fit. They are in the style that geisha/geiko and apprentice maiko wear. I didn’t wear kimono or makeup, as these were just test runs, but I thought I’d share some pictures anyway.
First-up, Taka Shimada-style Geiko Katsura:
Within the course of this year, I have been fortunate enough to have been able to purchase two maiko wigs, as well as a maiko haneri collar. Now it’s my turn to pass on what I have learned to you guys!
Maiko haneri can be very expensive. However, if you’re good at embroidery (or have a nice sewing machine or dedicated embroidery machine), it’s much cheaper to make your own. All you need is a heavily embroidered white design on a piece of chirimen (crepe) red silk, and flecks of golden thread woven beneath. However, even if you do this, you still need an “easy collar” to hold the haneri in place on your neck, or else it’s just a piece of very pretty floppy fabric. In case anyone is interested in creating their own maiko collar, or for those of you just interested in its construction, I have gone through and taken pictures and measurements. I covered everything I could think of, but if you don’t see something that you want, please feel free to contact me, and I’ll be more than happy to take pictures or provide additional measurements.
Here you can see the haneri already attached to the easy collar. The thin white pieces of fabric on the sides are for tying the collar to your chest; you simply wrap them around yourself and tie. They also help keep the collar stable on your neck and prevent it from flopping about everywhere under your kimono. Note that there is also a piece of white fabric under the haneri on each side….I have turned these up in the first photo, as my particular haneri is very stained in that area, and does not make for a nice picture.
It just keeps on popping up! Thanks to Jaki-san on IG, I now have even more photos of the “Musubi Kikyou” kamon in use!
I actually lost this 1985 “Kyo Maiko” book to Jaki in a bidding war on YJA….thankfully, she won it and was awesome enough to post the scans for me!
Over the past few months, I’ve been researching the maiko who wore my blue mountain hikizuri, pictured below:
Her name was Katsuyoshi (佳つ好), of Gion Kobu. So far, I have been able to determine that she was a maiko during the 1980s-early 1990s. It’s been kind of hard to find anything about her, as she only appears officially in one Miyako Odori program: the 1990 one that may have well been her last year as a maiko.
My friend is participating in a homestay program for Japanese girls this summer, and originally I was supposed to go over her house today in kimono and hang out with them after work. Unfortunately, my friend had a bit of a memory lapse and forgot that today the girls would be in another city shopping! But even though our plans didn’t work out, I still got to wear kimono, so it’s all good.
By the way, with the heat index, today was a whopping 117F/47.2C!!! O.o I almost melted walking outside…
I have been collecting maiko items for a little over two years now, with the end goal of doing a henshin (a word which literally translated means “to change or transform the body”. In this context, it means to dress oneself as a maiko). If you go to Japan, you an pay to have this done, but I think it is usually poorly done, and does not look nice at all. So I am planning on doing it myself. (Hopefully I will be able to do a good job!) Today, I moved a little closer towards this end goal with the purchase of two very hard-to-find items.
If you remember from the posts Dude, It’s a Darari! and Mystery Mon…Kind of Solved?, I have been researching an alternate mon which is used by the Tama okiya of Gion Kobu, which is known as the “Kikyo Knot” 結び桔梗, seen here:
Thanks to the help of several members of the IG forums, I now have even more pictures of this mon being used!