Saturday, July 29, 2006

Yoiyama Kyomai : Gion Matsuri

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Geiko from Gion glide gracefully across the stage with their shamisens, as the long trains of their kimonos flutter behind them.

The Geiko took their place on the side of the stage, sitting seiza style, on their knees, and played as 3 maiko danced in the traditional Kyoto style. The maiko in the purple Kimono is Suzuha, who if I am not mistaken, recently appeared on the cover of the Japanese Playboy magazine! She is renowned for her classic beauty among many of Gion's customers.

Kotoha, a high ranking maiko (in green) and superb dancer, performed the lead role in the short performance. The young maiko behind her is only in her first year. Her upper lip is not yet painted, and her collar is still predominantly red.

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The extravagance of the flowing layers of colorful silk kimono, the breath-taking contrast of the porcelian-white makeup and delicately painted red lips, and the grace and dignity of the dance set to the haunting music of the shamisen create a scene of ethereal beauty beyond description.

As their dance ends, the maiko bow low to their audience. The maiko wear a very special hairstyle during the month of July specifically for Gion Matsuri.


Sera said...

Oh wow Melissa! That must have been beyond breath-taking to watch! I'm so jealous! I just adore the first geiko's momejii kimono and obi...just gorgeous!

That last photo is stunning, you can really see that special hairstyle. Do you know what it's called by chance?

Again, just spectacular photos! Thanks so much for sharing them. :)

Melissa said...

I know! I seriously lost my ability to breath when the first geiko took the stage... That kimono was unbelieveable! I'm glad someone else out there appreciates it (^-^)/.

The Gion Matsuri hairstyle is called Katsuyama. I believe it is named after a very popular and famous Tayuu of the 17th century Edo. At that time is was widely worn by married women, but went out of style at the begining of the Showa era in favor of more "modern" (western) and hygenic styles.

It's all very interesting, wouldn't you say? (^-^)v

I'm glad you enjoy the photos. I'm sure most people are sick and tired of hearing about geisha...

Anonymous said...

This is just breathtaking. I will never be able to thank you enough for sharing these absolutely stunning photos and so much most interesting information. Thank you!

Jenny said...

Breathtaking as usual.
They are so beatiful, both the women and their kimonos and obis.