Subject 2: Geisha

Komomo-san, Mamechiho-san and Sakiko-san and me at Ichiriki Tea House in 2010.

Komomo-san, Mamechiho-san, Sakiko-san and me at Ichiriki Tea House in 2010.

In 2003 I accompanied my husband on a business trip to Japan.  He had to DRAG me as I was not keen to go.  However it did not take long after arriving (about an hour) before my curiosity was seriously piqued.  After the business part of the trip was over, we were wandering in Kyoto one evening when out of the darkness came a maiko in pink with her customer.  I fumbled for my camera and managed two quick photos.  These became my first maiko drawings. (Later on I learned that one should not photograph a maiko or geiko when she is with a customer as this is very impolite but I was ignorant back then.)

The first maiko drawing I did in 2003 which I called "Stepping Out". After I drew this I was hooked!

The first maiko drawing I did in 2003 which I called “Stepping Out”. 340 x 610 mm.  After I drew this I was hooked!

Since 2003 I have made 14 trips to Japan and drawn around 65 pictures of maiko and geiko.  Even though I have taken two years off this theme to draw Paris, I still think that drawing maiko and geiko is my favourite pasttime.  I feel like it is time to visit Kyoto again soon.

"Aesthete" a portrait of Mamechiho-san. The photo for this was taken on the second day of Mamechiho-san becoming a Geiko.

“Aesthete” a portrait of Mamechiho-san. The photo for this was taken on the second day of Mamechiho-san becoming a Geiko. 390 x 390 mm, 2010.

I had already drawn Mamechiho three times before I met her at Ichiriki Tea House in 2010.  She was incredulous that I, a stranger from Australia, knew her name and that I had drawn her.  (In the group photo at the top of the page she is sitting on the right side.)

"Erikae" drawing of Mamechiho-san. This was the day of Mamechiho-san's erikae, the day she became a Geiko.

“Erikae” drawing of Mamechiho-san. This was the day of Mamechiho-san’s erikae, the day she became a Geiko. 300 x 520 mm, 2010.

"Gion Fantasy" another portrait of Mamechiho-san.

“Gion Fantasy” another portrait of Mamechiho-san. 300 x 570 mm, 2010.

I’m certainly not an expert by ANY MEANS of geiko and maiko knowledge.  However I have learned much from my friends on Flickr and I have learned from reading books.  It is the sort of subject where, the more you learn, the more you realise you still don’t know.

Note:  If you are interested in the subject of geisha, you can do no better than to visit this blog http://johnpaulfoster.com/blog/ It is the most gorgeous blog as John is an amazing photographer, author and film-maker who knows his subject through and through.

Daughter of Kyoto Portrait of Katsuyuki on the day of her erikae. Drawn in coloured pencils, May 2014.

Daughter of Kyoto
Portrait of Katsuyuki on the day of her erikae. Drawn in coloured pencils, May 2014.

Related posts: Waiting   Rare View    It Ain’t Necessarily So   A Girl’s Best Friend  Spirited Away     Five Views of Kotomi    Observation  An Exceptional Day in Gion  Daughter of Kyoto   Blue Angel

Blue Angel portrait of Satohana, maiko of Kamishichiken, April 2014.

Blue Angel
portrait of Satohana, maiko of Kamishichiken, April 2014.

“Entrance” is a drawing of Katsutomo. June 2017

Related pages:   Ichifuku-san    Mameyuri-san

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