The theme of this year's Gion Odori, the fall dance performed by the maiko and geiko of Gion Higashi, was "Seasonal Glories of the Maiko's Hanakanzashi," or flowered hair ornaments.
In December, maiko wear the maneki hanakanzashi. This dance depicted the maiko attending the year-end debut of Kabuki actors at the Minamiza theater. A young maiko overcomes her shyness to ask her favorite actor for his signature "with her big courage".
Masayo, the highest ranking maiko in Gion Higashi, dancing during the opening act of this year's Gion Odori: Maneki. This years theme was hanakanzashi, the flowered hair ornaments worn by the maiko. Each dance reflected the meaning and seasons in which each hanakanzashi is worn.
During Kaomise (from about Nov.30- Dec. 26) , the names of the performing Kabuki actors are written on long, wooden boards called maneki kanban, and hung outside the theater. Maiko attend the Kaomise (face showing) Kabuki performances, wearing these Maneki hanakanzashi. Two small, blank tags are attatched, and maiko ask their favorite Kabuki actors to sign them afterwards.
Fukimi and Miharu strike a Maneki Neko, or beckoning cat, pose.
Fumiki and Umeha.