Maiko Hikizuri Update!

So, as you know from my last post, I recently bought a pink maiko hikizuri off of YJA, using the proxy service Japan Auction Center. I was very interested in seeing if I could link this kimono to a specific maiko, and so started to look through all the maiko pictures I could find, to see if there was a photo of it anywhere. Lo and behold, on page 141 of maiko photos on flickr (yes, I am quite persistent lol) I found it!!! Flickr member emusing-emma has graciously allowed me to post some of her pictures here:

That would be maiko Koyō (小耀 , also romanized as Koyou) wearing my hiki on the left! 😀 According to emusing-emma, these photos were taken May 16,2006 at the Gion Corner Theater in Kyoto. From her hand gestures, you can tell she’s dancing the Gion Kouta, a traditional Japanese dance, along with maiko Wakana. Koyō is now a full-fledged geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha), and Wakana has recently retired after becoming a geiko as well. Koyō’s erikae, (literally “turning of the collar”, the ceremony when one becomes a full geiko) was in December 2008, so she’s now approaching the end of her second year as a geiko!

I did some research, and Koyō is a member of the Hiroshimaya (廣島屋) okiya (geisha house), located in Gion Kobu, Kyoto. Gion Kobu is one of the most prestigious hanamachi (literally “flower towns”, the districts where geisha work). There are five hanamachi in Kyoto: Gion Kobu, Gion Higashi, Kamishichiken, Miyagawacho, and Pontocho. That my hiki came from such a prestigious district is quite exciting!

Koyō’s darari obi has what appears to be a pattern of stylized butterflies on it, which I found quite funny since her okiya’s mon is a butterfly! Its odd, since it’d seem almost like double-overkill to use that particular pattern, since as it’s so close to the appearance of the mon itself, and the mon already appears on the obi. Perhaps the artist who created it really liked butterflies? 😀

Anyways, I am really excited that there are pictures showing this hikizuri being worn by a real maiko! I have no idea how this particular hiki came to be put for sale on what amounts to Japan’s equivalent of EBay though. There are a few stains, but they are so light that I had to stare hard at the hiki in order to see them. They’re barely noticeable. The only noticeable stain is a red one on the inside lining….and that wouldn’t be seen when worn. What made the okiya give up this particular kimono? However it happened, I am very glad that it was able to make its way to my home. I get giddy when I see it hanging on my wall.

(Special thanks to emusing-emma for allowing the use of her photos. All photographic rights belong to her. To see more of this photo set, please click here)


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Lyuba-chan says:

    I’m very excited for you!! 🙂 I can’t wait to see it worn? Are you going to try and ‘replicate’ maiko’s outfit by finding a darari obi with butterflies? ;P

    1. Thanks! Oh, I’m definitely planning on wearing it someday, no worries! 😉 . I just don’t have everything I’d need just yet lol.

      To tell the truth, I’m not a huge fan of the coordination that Koyō has going on. It’s cute on her, but for me it would totally not work. (Too much green, and little matchy-matchy) So, I wouldn’t go so far as to “replicate” in every way, but if I were to find a darari with the Hiroshimaya okiya mon, then…omg YES!!! That would definitely be my dream obi. (And if it would just so happen to be hakata, I think I could die and go to heaven lol)

  2. Emma says:

    I’m really pleased that you liked the photos – it sounds like you were as excited to find my photos as I was to find out the names of the maikos in them (also with help from flickr!). It made the photos seem all the more special when I knew the names of the maikos and could find out more about their careers.

    I look forward to seeing you wear the hikizuri. Eventually I want to buy myself a kimono – in the meantime I will keep looking at and envying all yours!

  3. Excited is an understatement. 😉 I’m ecstatic to have been able to link this hikizuri to a particular maiko with your help! I’m currently trying to see if I can find any other photos of it being worn, either by Koyō or another maiko in her okiya, as I’m interested in seeing how it made its way to my hands. I completely understand about finding out more about the maiko and their careers…once I found out that Koyō had worn it, I starting trying to find every photo of her that I could. It’s so interesting, to see her progression through the years. And knowing more about the people who have worn my hikizuri makes it all that more special to me 🙂

    I’m looking forward to wearing it! I am looking for a maiko collar and darari obi currently, but since these items are rather rare and expensive, it will probably take a while. I would love to see which kimono you choose when you do get one. They really are addictive! (And thank you for the compliment!)

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