Hey all I've been away for a while, but in this absence I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Japan. So, this is the beginning of a little series from that enchanting place.
It was an evening in Kyoto. I was there with quite a few of my friends and we were lucky enough to stumble upon a maiko (apprentice geisha). Actually, we stumbled upon two geishas (called "geiko" in Kyoto) before, but they didn't really want to get photographed. This one, however, failed to suppress a smile upon seeing our wish to photograph her, and in the end stopped for a second to let us take a picture. Then she smiled, and moved on her way
edit: it has been brought to my attention by our local maiko/geiko experts here that this might be a 'fake' maiko, an ordinary girl dressed as a maiko. Apparently there are salons who do that, and they do it very well, but they get some details wrong which can be a tell. For more details, read the comments below.
She's so beautiful, such an adorable story, too hehe. I'm jealous of your excursion, I was wondering recently if geisha were still in Japan or if that was more a thing of the past, but this made me so happy to see! I wonder if she hadn't been an apprentice long, and was thrilled that people thought her so beautiful they wanted a picture...?
Do you know if it's because they still get a lot of work there, or if it's more of... like a piece of history that's being held on to? Well, I've always had a dream to travel to Japan, so I'll certainly add Kyoto to le dream requirements.
Very lovely shot. But I think you may have been tricked into taking a picture of a tourist... You see she has the dangling ornaments that would be worn by a first year Maiko yet she has both of her lips painted which is the sign of a Maiko that is beyond that level. It still is a very pretty picture, but they are a tricky bunch XD
Yes, all of their traditions are extremely strict, from the style of their makeup, their hair, even the patterns on their kimono and obi and under robes are held to the highest of traditional importance. They would not make such a crushing mistake. It's likely that this lovely lady you captured an image of is a Henshin, a tourist dressed in the style of a geisha, though there are several tell tale signs, though slight and hard to see for people who have no limited knowledge on the traditions, they are absolute and easy to see for people who have studied the Geisha lifestyle. Henshin are extremely common and as I said, if one has no knowledge, they are easily mistaken as real geisha.