Friday, February 16, 2007

Handarari: Gion`s Soon to Be Maiko

Meet two of Gion`s newest, soon-to-be Maiko. They are minarai ( 見習い ), apprentice maiko who have graduated from their study as a shikomi, the first step in becoming a maiko.Minarai means to watch and learn, and that is exactly what they do: they begin to dress and become accustomed to the full, formal regalia and make-up of the maiko, accompany their big sisters to ozashiki (banquets and parties where geiko entertain), watch, and learn, preparing them for their debut as maiko, when they will begin to entertain customers. It is during this time that their professional name will be decided, and announced at their debut.

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Minarai look a lot like maiko, but their most easily recognizable trait is the length of their obi. Known as hadarari (半 han meaning half and darari refering to the long, flowing obi style of Kyoto`s maiko) a minari`s obi hangs to only half the length of that of a maiko.

The long, trailing darari obi exclusive to Kyoto's maiko. The sight of a maiko's magnificent dangling obi swaying as she walks is supposedly one of the famous sights of Kyoto.

Making their way down the Hanamikouji to the Ichiriki teahouse for their first engagement of the evening. I believe the young minarai on the right is from Okinawa, and was recently featured in a NHK documentary.

The Ichiriki.


courtney said...

Oh, I love the hadarari picture! So cute.

Abbey said...

Kawaii - so cute and little!

Sera said...

They are both so cute! They'll make lovely maiko. :)

How long is the Minanari period?

Melissa said...

Sera: I believe minarai spend a month observing their senior geiko before making their debut.Actually, I think one of these girls will make their debut this week! Of course I will be at school (ioi).

Sera said...

Awwwwhh, that's a shame you'll miss it. T__T

Thanks so much for answering my question Melissa!! <3

shigatsuhana said...

Wow! These girls are so cute! It is interesting that they paint their top lip during minarai! You don't hear too much about the minarai. Thank you for sharing these.