Geiko and Maiko Say "Happy New Year"New Year's Opening Ceremonies in Kyoto's Four Entertainment Quarters
On January 7, the annual New Year's opening ceremony was held in each of Kyoto's entertainment quarters, Gion Kobu, Gion Higashi, Ponto-cho, and Miyagawa-cho. "Geiko" and "Maiko," or geisha and apprentice geisha, dressed in black formal kimonos with crests exchanged greetings with one another in a peaceful atmosphere, saying, "Omedeto-san-dosu," or "Happy New Year," and vowed a renewed devotion to enhancing their artistic skills.
The ceremony in Gion Kobu took place at Gion Corner, adjacent to its usual venue, the Gion Koubu Kaburenjo, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, which was closed to enhance its earthquake resistance. The ceremony was attended by approximately 110 people, including geiko and maiko wearing rice-ear-shaped ornamental hairpins for New Year, as well as people involved in "Ochaya," or establishments where patrons are entertained by geisha.
After chanting "Chikai" together, or the oath that specifies the proper attitude of geiko and maiko, Kimi Ota, president of "Yasaka Nyokouba Gakuen," a school corporation to train geiko and maiko, greeted them, saying, "Take care of yourselves and make earnest efforts to master the arts." Yachiyo Inoue, the head of the Inoue School of Kyoto dancing, performed "Jiuta," or a traditional dance of the Kansai area, titled "Yamatobumi," and then geiko and maiko received sacred sake in the lobby. Marika, a maiko who will participate in the Coming-of-Age ceremony this year, said, "I would like to work hard on training in dancing and drumming so that I can encourage my juniors, like their big sister."(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)