Geiko (geisha) and maiko

Geiko芸子, geisha 芸者 and geigi 芸妓 are the same.
In Kanto area (around Tokyo), they call them "geigi" or "geisha", and in Kansai (around Kyoto) geiko.
They entertain (dancing, singing and playing shamisen, etc.) at banquets and socialize with guests.
A half-baked geisha-to-be is called "Hangyoku
半玉"...Han means half、their ability of dance is not perfect
so gyokudai (
玉代/fee for call geisha) is half price. That's why they are called Hangyoku.
Hangyoku in Kyoto is called "Suugi 雛妓/Oshaku ". And after they brush up their skills they are called Maiko and earn full amount of fee.
Then, after they get farther skill and reached the level, they are called geiko.


"Geisha"is one of the first things that foreign people image
when they mention Japan.
Geisha is a female professional entertainer.
A geisha in Kyoto are highly accomplished in traditional manners and artistic performance.

left: maiko........right: geiko (geisha)

They play the shamisen (Japanese banjo), sing traditional song ( kouta, etc.)
and perform Japanese dances at a Japanese-style banquet etc.
They also play games with guests, pour drinks,
and make guests enjoyable with excellent conversation.

"Maiko" is a girl geisha-to be in Kyoto.
They wear beautiful long sleeve colourful kimono.
The way of tying obi or sash is called "darari "and it hangs down.
Today only maiko tie the sush like that.
They wear very thick-soled clogs called pokkuri.

(Maiko is apprentice geisha in Kyoto.
In Tokyo, they are called Hangyoku )


There are three Maiko and eighteen Geigi in Nagoya (Jan. 2011)
In 2009, Meigiren
(名妓連 Nagoya Geigi Association) had a teenager-Maiko for the first time in 20 years.
Her name is Yukino
(ゆき乃) and she is so pretty.
As a Nagoyan Geigi, they have to learn at least two special performances aside from traditional Japanese arts.
One is to sing "Nagoya Jinku"(Jinku is one of Japan's folk songs and is
fixed verse form of 26 syllables arranged in a seven-seven-seven-five pattern.)
The other is a performance to make a shape of "Gold shachihoko" of Nagoya Castle (Top of
the roof of danjon, you see a pair of shachihoko/The gold shachihoko is a symbol of Nagoya)
by standing on both arms and a cheek

Photos are here (external link)


If you want to see Nagoyan geigi's performance, you have to reserve
Ryotei (Japanese restaurant) and call them.
Minimum charge: 20,000 yen /2hours plus transportation fee for geigi.
(For traditional Japanese hairdo and kimono with train, you will be charged extra)

Meigiren Official Website is here.

Traditional style Japanese restaurant called "Ryotei" (Everything is very expensive.)
Hassho-kan(八勝館) Yagoto, Showa-ku
Kawabun(河文) Marunouchi, Naka-ku
Tsutamo(蔦茂) Sakae, Naka-ku
Kouraku (香樂) Chikara-machi, Higashi-ku


Geisha jargon
Shamisen (Japanese banjo)
Geisha quarter
Business office dwelling of geisha
Man who carries geisha's shamisen.
Greetings to the customers when they visit the ozashiki.
Usually they sing or dance concern to the local area or season in salute.
Ocha o hiku
Situation that geisha is not busy
When geisha who had not many customers to named her passed the time griding the tea to make powdered green tea (matcha)
Time charge for a geisha.
Fee for a geish's time. Senko means incense stick..
In the old days, they timed with a burning incense stick.s
Dancing geisha
Geisha who play the shamisen at a banquet
Geisha call-office made up of the
associations of caterer, geisha dwelling and teahouse
They take charge of all arrangement: arrange of geisha, take geisha to and from the
machiaijaya, arrange and adjust the charge, etc.
Professional name used by geisha
Talented or beautiful geisha
No time restriction on geisha-asobi.
Daijin Asobi
Play around in grand style at the geisha quarter


Ozashiki Culture College