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 Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?

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Kimino
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PostSubject: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:09 pm

I believe discussions like this have been forbidden on other foruns such as IG, but I don't see why ignore it or just don't talk about it.

I've been noticing that, western okiyas have been appearing here and there more often than ever.
I can't really call then real okiyas, I don't know what license or knowledge they really have, or if they are just a hobby for western geisha aspirants or something serious. I can only say that I don't despise them, and acknowledge the efforts some of this ladies do to try becomming a real geisha.
The dream of being a geisha is probably the hardest a western woman can have, because only some few westerns were really accept as geisha in Japan.
But then I see this girls who want to make their own okiya in their own country, and I wonder... would it be possible that someday they are good enough to be recognized by Japan itself, as a way of immortalize the tradition of geisha outside the eastern world?

What is your opinion?

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Dr.B
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:15 am

As a kimono-san I never really liked calling my business and okiya. I always preferred to use the word troupe. I am rather uncomfortable with and personally prefer not to use the words okiya or ochiya in regards to my business. I prefer to refer to a group of more than one kimono-san as a troupe as we are not geisha. We never have been and never will be. I feel that referring to a kimono-san troupe as an okiya/ochiya is misleading to the customers and runs the risk of offending any possible contacts I may have with my local Japanese community, or any other Japaneses person for that mater. There by discrediting my company. I pride my self on attention to detail and on making sure that all aspects of my services are as respectful, authentic and traditional as possible. Every time that I present and portray the Japaneses arts and culture I strive to do so with the utmost respect. This is the core value that my company is bases on. With out it I am a sham and fraud and would not deserve to call my self a Kimono-San.


A true okiya or ochiya can not exist with out the hanamachi as it is an environment that is singular and unique to the grater Japanese cultural ecosystem.
I have engaged in self study for 12 years and I know that means nothing as far as the Japaneses are concerned. The reason I only offer Bon O dori dancing as apposed to any other form is because I have had training from a certified Japanese teacher. I have in fact bean considering removing tea ceremony from my list of serves for this exact same reason.

We can not honor the dance and culture with out proper training nor can we preserve a cultural that we are not part of. Kimono-san are not Japanese. We do not exist in Japan nor are we recognized by the Japanese as an thing but gijin. The Japanese have no wish to immortalize the tradition of geisha outside Japan nor will thay ever recognize a western okiya/ochiya no mater how good thay are because thay are not Japanese.

Any one saying that thay own or run an okiya/ochiya in the west that is not a kimono-san or claims to be a western geisha is is a disrespectful conman, delusional or both.

ANA'S IKIMARU KIMONO FORUM.
http://ikimaru.board-directory.net/t90-foreign-kimono-san-the-great-debate


My apologies for the rant. This has become a bit of a sore spot with me because such people have made it harder on me to do business. Many people have seen the disrespectful actions of such "western geisha" and thay think that I am the same. I only rarely dress as a geisha or a maiko because of this. I only dress up like that for the big Japanese festival or on customer request. I can not stand the idea of giving the wrong imprecision. I normally just dress like what I really am, a normal unmarried lady in kimono. This can range from an every day yukata to a formal crested furisode.

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Kimino
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:46 am

Thank you B, for explaining how you feel.

personally I think almost the same; I have the dream of becoming a geiko, but, I know I will never be one, unless some doors open from me and I can have a proper trainning in a japanese Okiya, as Liza Dalby had. But the fact is that I don't agree with some parts of the live of geisha, such as entertain boring costumers or sacrifice themselves so much. I would love to learn kyomai with a professional japanese teacher, because I love every aspects of it, but in fact in the place I am there's absolutely no way of finding one. I would have to save much money and probably go to kyoto.
I confess that I would love to perform "Gion Kouta" to an interested public, but the fact is that learn from videos is not enough and I would feel that I would only shame myself in front of others. I don't want in any way, to look ridiculous just because I want to do this so much. My philosophy of life is that, I can feel in my heart that I am a true geisha, but in the world I am not, I have not the knowledges, and I accept that. It's sometimes a matter of honor and principles.
I have some hikizuri, and I usually only wear them on special ocasions in family such as christmas, or a private photoshoot.
I also have a katsura wig, but for being really honest, I don't think I or many western woman have the necessary face features for it to fit beautifully. It just looks odd, unless seen from the back.
I also agree with you when you say it's sometimes a sore, because we see other western people calling themselves "geisha" when they don't even have the high formation they needed to call themselves so, and them people put us all in one bag: The Westerns That Disrespect the Geiko's Culture.
Some people take it as a hobby, a kind of dress-up or playing houses(=Okiya) and I feel really uncomfortable with that. People that sometimes don't even know how to make a proper kitsuke, and that makes me sad. Everyone is allowed to play and have fun, or even make cosplay of geisha, but some disrespect the culture itself because they are so blind in their cloud of the dream, or because they just don't want to take that seriously.
In other way, you also have those persons that work a lot, and try to be the best they can, they learn with the knowledge they have at hand or even from a real professor, and when you watch them you see they are really graceful. It just confuses me why in the end those 2 types are putted in the same bag, just because one did wrong.

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Komatsu2012
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:29 pm

Geiko

I would think to be an proper professional okiya you would need to be associated with an established house and be like a branch office or be started by an independent geisha who has the support of the community where they are located. By community I mean teahouses, restaurants, schools of music, dance, tea ceremony,and other performance venue's used in the business. Last but not least some financial backing as running an operation like an okiya takes money. There are expenses for food, kimono, kanzashi, furniture for each maiko or geiko. Nowadays cell phones for all the girl's ( for their security in an emergency or if they need to check in for some reason ) and at least 1 computer for the office. Not to mention all the gift's and other promotional expenses to advertize the business. As a kimono collector I would not even dream of opening such a business without a lot of financial and community backing.

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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:21 pm

Komatsu2012 wrote:
I would think to be an proper professional okiya you would need to be associated with an established house and be like a branch office or be started by an independent geisha who has the support of the community where they are located. By community I mean teahouses, restaurants, schools of music, dance, tea ceremony,and other performance venue's used in the business. Last but not least some financial backing as running an operation like an okiya takes money. There are expenses for food, kimono, kanzashi, furniture for each maiko or geiko. Nowadays cell phones for all the girl's ( for their security in an emergency or if they need to check in for some reason ) and at least 1 computer for the office. Not to mention all the gift's and other promotional expenses to advertize the business. As a kimono collector I would not even dream of opening such a business without a lot of financial and community backing.

Komatsu-san, from the way you are speaking, I must ask. If you had the money and the support internationally and from local businesses, would you start your own Okiya? By my words, I mean internationally from retired Geisha, and people like Liza Dalby, who give advice and lectures, kimono and katsura, locally through classes at renowned Universities and private dance and tea teachers, as well as through local restaurants and festivals. If you had this network and community, and a group, say, of about 10 ladies, some married and some not, who were interested in pooling their knowledge, skills and resources... then would you try and form a Geiko House?

This is a question I asked myself. My friends know the answer that I found. It isn't the one that others have expressed here, and as I do not wish to cause a fight I don't want to discuss it here. I hope everyone who has an artistic dream can have the opportunity to live that dream for a little while, just to see if from a logistics standpoint that dream has enough roots to grow. If it doesn't, then yes, it was a fine example of make-believe. If it does, and someone is willing to put in the extremely hard work to bring this dream into being, then I believe it is no one's right to attack that person when they are doing their best, asking for help, listening to the words of the professionals and trying to bring honor to those who have come before.

For forum users in general:

It is not within me to say whether or not a person should do a thing "because they are ugly" or "because it is shameful or they are of the wrong nationality" or because "they are an embarrassment." These are not reasons that I believe apply. It saddens me when people use these words about each other, and I had hoped that I would not find them here. Perhaps no one who is not part of the Karyuukai should have an opinion and be able to judge, other than the Licencing Bureau of the Japanese Government, of course. This is only my opinion. I hope that others who are looking for places to find kindred spirits in their love of all things Japanese, are not turned away from their dreams by the scornful words of others. That would indeed be a great loss to this community.


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Kimino
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:48 pm

Hasume wrote:


It is not within me to say whether or not a person should do a thing "because they are ugly" or "because it is shameful or they are of the wrong nationality" or because "they are an embarrassment." These are not reasons that I believe apply. It saddens me when people use these words about each other, and I had hoped that I would not find them here. Perhaps no one who is not part of the Karyuukai should have an opinion and be able to judge, other than the Licencing Bureau of the Japanese Government, of course. This is only my opinion. I hope that others who are looking for places to find kindred spirits in their love of all things Japanese, are not turned away from their dreams by the scornful words of others. That would indeed be a great loss to this community.

I believe no one here used scornful words Hasume-san,
I personally talked only about myself and how would I feel in certain situations. I also gave my opinion, as other member did, and I believe we were all respectful. My point is mostly the persons that play geisha without respect or formation, and the others, that try indeed to be a geisha, with all knowledge and formations that they can have, and do a lot of effort. This two kind of people are seen as they are within the same bag, when in fact one of them is a fraud and the other is a dreamer that work hard to make her dream come true. It's very difficult for those dreamers to be seen as equal to the frauds, and therefore, scorned and putted aside.

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PostSubject: Forgive me Kimino-san   Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:54 pm

Dr.B wrote:
Any one saying that thay own or run an okiya/ochiya in the west that is not a kimono-san or claims to be a western geisha is is a disrespectful conman, delusional or both.
Without wishing to contradict you, Kimino-san, as I know that your words were meant kindly and as arbitration in the "great debate," which may occur? Who knows? The words above seem to be scornful and judgmental to me, but then I have never called someone that I have not met a "delusional conman." There have been westerners that received invitations to work in the Karyuukai, and were oddities in that they were "Western Geisha." One such who has since retired is Liza Dalby, who was not in my mind a conman of any kind. Some are still practicing today, one from Russia, I believe, and one (who is truly not doing well in her relations with the Karyuukai) named Sayuki from Australia, there is even a wildly successful Geiko named Komomo, who is Japanese but grew up in China, I think?

Now, it is not outside the realm of possibility that the member who posted this simply meant that the people who "dress for the day" in the costume, and try to use flamboyantly "sexy" incorrect ensembles are in fact causing harm to the existing "true Geisha" community. In this, Dr. B is correct, and they are incorrectly calling themselves "Geisha" in ignorance of what that word means. There is a great deal of difference also, in people who choose to educate and perform as actors and those who wish to wear a costume for a day. I suppose one could call these two differences: Geisha-educators and Geisha-henshin? Henshin (meaning "transformation") is a term used by the costume shops in Kyoto where unskilled, untrained western and Japanese women can go and get dressed for an hour or more in a rough approximation of "Geisha" or "Maiko" during the day -- the off-hours for most true Geisha and Maiko in Kyoto, Japan. These are often tourists who love the "magic" or a foreign experience and would be almost as in love if they could dress up in traditional Chinese dress in Shanghai or Indian sari in New Delhi. It is the experience in the exotic locale that is exciting, rather than gaining recognition as artists who can do all this for themselves correctly, in their own home towns.

It is very saddening to see people who do not do their research and cannot understand the intricate rules for dressing and coordination, claiming to be dressed in the manner of Geisha outside of Japan. It is understandable if one is from the west (Australia, Europe, or the Americas) that all the rules are hard and seem strange, and therefore mistakes in dressing are made. This is where constructive criticism and advice from experts comes in handy. Likewise, a movie made by westerners for a western audience, using western makeup and hairstyling on Chinese actresses -- calling itself "Geisha" -- is insulting and offensive to some members of the Geisha community, particularly the beautiful woman that the original book ruined, Iwasaki-san. America is guilty of being both too free and too lazy to do things correctly, and this is frustrating, because it reinforces the wrong stereotypes about "true Geisha and Maiko."

I truly respect someone who wishes to stand for what they believe. I think that we should all be allowed to have our opinions on the matter. An effort should be made to compromise and agree to disagree where the opinions are too different to allow for understanding and acceptance. Using words like "I feel strongly that..." or "in my opinion..." help people understand that these are not rules set in stone by this website, but instead a personal view made from personal conversations and experiences. All of this is complicated by the fact that I am writing in English, and many others on the forum do not speak that language, so many errors in translation may occur. This can lead to people getting hurt and misunderstandings.

I wish my Japanese was good enough that I could feel comfortable discussing matters of the Flower and Willow world in that language. Sadly this is not the case, and online translators often make a terrible mess of what one has said. I will do my best not to be offended by what is said by passionate people who believe strongly that they are in the right. I only hope that others will be willing to listen and understand that other opinions may also be right.
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:00 pm

Hasume wrote:
Dr.B wrote:
Any one saying that thay own or run an okiya/ochiya in the west that is not a kimono-san or claims to be a western geisha is is a disrespectful conman, delusional or both.
Without wishing to contradict you, Kimino-san, as I know that your words were meant kindly and as arbitration in the "great debate," which may occur? Who knows? The words above seem to be scornful and judgmental to me, but then I have never called someone that I have not met a "delusional conman."

Sorry, I believe I didn't understand well what Dr.B said, because one of the words she used is very similar to one in my mother language,and I thought that the meaning was the same. I just used the translator and yes, it's ver different Uh
The lack was mine, I'm sorry.
Dr. B, you were in fact very offensive, so I kindly ask you to be careful with the words you use, they might hurt and seem judgefull.
Everyone, I don't want to have to erase comments or block the thread, as happened in IG and even other forums, because I really wanted this theme to be discussed freely and in a way that every single person can be free to give their opinion. I really stand for freedom of speech, but please don't be offensive to others. It's my deep wish that the Eternal Maiko community become a friendly place to talk about every matter related to geisha or kimono, because within mostly of other communities we see that people start a fight for nothing, and this will not happen here as long as I am the Admin.
I hope everyone understands and respects that.

Back on topic; Hasume-san gave us one point that I believe is very important:

There are people who do henshin because they want to be transformed into a maiko or geiko for one day. There are also people that make geisha cosplay, maybe because they are not able to get to a professional studio in Kyoto to get a transformation. There are people that just dress for the day to take some photos with friends, and other who just don't dress, but pratice the kyomai dances in normal kimono. There also people that dress as geisha and also dance. What all this people have in common? The fact that they share love, passion, dreams or hopes related to the geisha.
This should be more than enough to unite them, and make them respect each other. But what do you find always among them? judgement, bad critics, envy and scorn.
This make me think, why do we do this? is because every single one feels so alone in their dream? or they want to be special and have no equal? are they afraid of speak what they really wish to? I really don't know, but the fact is that we do. I must say that I've already been in some of the situations I refered above. I never dressed completely as geisha or maiko because I don't have everything needed, but even with only hikizuri or normal kimono I was judged. When I started collecting kimono and I managed to get my first complete kitsuke, I went to a cosplay in my area, and I ended up crying and leaving the event because I received such bad comments. Of course there were also nice people that wanted to take photos with me, but the bad envious words I received broke me down. I'm also judged if I dress in normal kitsuke to go take photos, so I can't even imagine how would it be if I dress as a complete geisha. Other thing that generates hate between kimono friends is auctions. When someone wins a hikizuri the others will attack her somehow. I know 2 people that are friends of mine but hate each other because a maiko hikizuri, that one won and the other lost...
This is how it works within the worldwide kimono community. I wanted to understand each side, in particular the western geisha's side.

I believe you, Hasume-san, are the one who can give us a light in this matter. You have geiko/maiko itens, and you dance,between other things.
I would love if you could show us your side, how everything began for you, and how's everything going on your project. Your knowledge will help many of us understanding.

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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:55 pm

Kimino wrote:
Hasume wrote:
Dr.B wrote:
Any one saying that thay own or run an okiya/ochiya in the west that is not a kimono-san or claims to be a western geisha is is a disrespectful conman, delusional or both.
Without wishing to contradict you, Kimino-san, as I know that your words were meant kindly and as arbitration in the "great debate," which may occur? Who knows? The words above seem to be scornful and judgmental to me, but then I have never called someone that I have not met a "delusional conman."

Sorry, I believe I didn't understand well what Dr.B said, because one of the words she used is very similar to one in my mother language,and I thought that the meaning was the same. I just used the translator and yes, it's very different Uh
The lack was mine, I'm sorry.
Dr. B, you were in fact very offensive, so I kindly ask you to be careful with the words you use, they might hurt and seem judgefull.

My intention was not to be offensive. Please allow me to clarify what I meant .

Conman = Someone that knowingly represents themselves as possessing credentials thay do not have. In this case someone who knows that thay lack the proper credentials and does not recognized the rules of the group that issues said credentials.

Delusional= Someone that believes that thay have the credentials when in fact thay never did.

My issue is not with people dressing up and playing henshin. My issue is with people outside of japan saying that thay own or run okiya/ochiya. Japan has never condoned this and likely never will. There is no person, group or governing body outside of japan able to issues the credentials needed for any one to do so. Therefor any one operating an okiya/ochiya in the west is doing so with out credentials.


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PostSubject: Kimino-san   Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:16 pm

Kimino wrote:
When I started collecting kimono and I managed to get my first complete kitsuke, I went to a cosplay in my area, and I ended up crying and leaving the event because I received such bad comments. Of course there were also nice people that wanted to take photos with me, but the bad envious words I received broke me down. I'm also judged if I dress in normal kitsuke to go take photos, so I can't even imagine how would it be if I dress as a complete geisha.

Oh Kimino-san! I am so sorry to hear that someone as kind and beautiful as you are should have received such cruel words from others! It is so hard to feel exposed and vulnerable in the eyes of others and know that no one in your country will understand. I can only imagine how angry and hurt this must have made you, and I am so sorry that it happened. I had a similar experience the first time I ever wore kimono, but afterwards it did make me think. One of the reasons that the Japanese kimono masters may get so distressed when outsiders judge them by the cheap costumes one finds online, or dresses incorrectly and goes in public, is because the "Kimono" and the "Geisha" are icons of what it is to be Japan. In a sense, it might be similar to someone from another country taking an American Flag or a bald eagle (two well-known symbols of my home country) and burning or defacing it. It would be dishonorable, and reflect back on the whole of the country. There are many conventions that exist in America about how to use our national flag, and so many people do not know them or respect these rules. It is strange to see people "trying to be patriotic" and doing very dishonorable things to our flag, in the name of their patriotism. I can give two examples just from today... but that would take time and not be interesting to many people. But the seed of truth is that for the Japanese, the kimono and the Geisha are like the faces of our presidents, things that give them hope and deep feelings of pride. To that end, because the kimono is a living, everyday thing, it is important in my mind to respect and understand it before wearing it... which I have learned only after wearing kimono for many years.

One of the first people to be very angry with me was an actual kimono designer and kitsuke master from Tokyo. At the time, I was wearing a handmade, hand-painted cotton "kimono-costume", crossed right-over-left with a polyester Chinese silk "obi' about 5 inches wide, tied in a western bow knot in back, that was dragging on the floor, so it could have been ANY number of many wrong things that offended her. I am so embarrassed, looking back many years later, at how funny I must have looked. I can now see how wrong everything was, from material to dyes to patterns, to construction -- I made it about 8 sizes too big for me, and the skirts too long. And yet, she took me aside politely and did everything she could to explain how the pieces were supposed to go together, silk with silk, formal with formal, tie this sash here like this and make certain that these parts do not show... In effect, she tried to give me in 20 minutes a lesson that she had learned over a lifetime of love and study. Inside she must have been crying about how foolish this westerner must be, to try and make something without knowing how. It would be like sending a four year old into the kitchen to cook a 7 course dinner. Naturally it would be a disaster! All that said, I truly believe it is still possible for a beginner to know the basics and feel confident with the results...

Adults should wear adult ensembles, not the kimono that are sized or designed for children, and the seasonal motifs and fabric choices should be observed. Formal Katsura for weddings should not be worn with non-wedding ensembles. Kimono that are too small for you should not be worn at all. Posture is everything. If you walk and sit as westerners are trained to do, your kimono will come half undone and your collars will slip and collapse. The neck opening would not be too low or too high, and Heaven help us all if your ankles are showing! The list goes on and on. It is even more frustrating when one must deal with Western cities, where car and bus or train transportation is the only way to get anywhere, and everything is dirty and built incorrectly, and all of this leaves the kimono kitsuke terribly messed up. Sometimes I feel that even with hours to prepare I will never do honor to my many teachers, and it breaks my heart. And yet I can tell that I am slowly learning how to "see" what the correct result should be, to feel how the pieces go together in order to make a beautiful result. Some of these rules can be slightly bent in order to allow a person who is 166 cm tall to wear kimono from a community where the original average height for kimono wearers was about 150 cm or less. Some rules can be broken to create a new look, a different interpretation for an event or a person. But still the framework must hold or the structure collapses.

None of this is an excuse for the ignorant to laugh. Often the worst insults come when people with a small amount of knowledge feel threatened, and, clinging to their superiority, they try and make their competition look foolish in the eyes of their community. So these cruel insults come from those who are afraid for the survival of their job, their role, their happiness. It is small minded to attack this way, but it is understandable in a sense, not acceptable, but unavoidable. People want to be happy and stay happy. Or the laughter can come from the true fools for whom anything "odd or different" is "stupid and funny" and therefore deserving of scorn. I have had drunk people on the street ask me to be their prostitute -- quite directly, in fact, one person asked me how much it would cost for the night-- and I have had drunk people tearfully thank me for trying as hard as I do and take their picture with me, so that they could save the moment forever out of respect. I have had complete strangers go out of their way to be kind and welcoming, and people I trusted threaten to 'sue' me over a difference of opinion and interpretation. I wish there were ways to allow all opinions to coexist, provided these opinions harm none.

I have many friends who do traditional Middle-Eastern belly dance. One is from Denmark, and has blue eyes and blond hair. Does this mean it is ridiculous for her to dance in this style? Should she be laughed at even though she works hard and takes lessons and does all she can to be respectful of the dance and traditions that come with it? She is not a prostitute. She is not a clown, to make jokes at and to tear down. Perhaps she has not traveled to Turkey and met with masters, and spoken to masters of her craft to receive their guidance. Perhaps she has -- you and I may not know the answer, and why would she carry such conversations in writing around just to prove to people that she has met these people, to keep people from being angry with her? It is not our job to judge her. Just as it is not our job to judge each other. Offer constructive criticism, and point out places where gaps in knowledge have led to errors and possible dishonor? Yes. This we can do. If we pool our knowledge we can be so much more than what we are, when we are apart. I believe this to be so.

I have and always will respect the hard working people who take the time to truly learn from teachers regularly, who take the time to invest in professionally taught lessons, and share with others the knowledge they learned in these lessons in order to teach others about kimono, about dance, flower arranging, kimono dressing, tea ceremony and a thousand other traditional arts. This is fantastic. Many such teachers have videos and websites online, which help people like me, who live far from the masters, to learn how to do things correctly. Nothing takes the place of a true conversation with an expert. But who has the opportunity to do this on a regular basis?

All that being said, it is impossible to please everyone. The use of certain terms like "geisha" and "henshin" and "okiya" outside of Japan, is difficult, because most western people will not know what they mean, or care to learn. Are all Sushi restaurants in America owned and run by Japanese sushi masters? Of course not! It is the rare exception when one finds a restaurant where the staff has had any formal sushi training from Japan at all. Should we call all martial arts (kendo, aikido, karate, sumo, jiujitsu, and kung fu), "Asian Martial Arts" in order to not offend people? Can a western person learn these arts outside of Japan or China? Possibly. Is it possible to learn how to be a true "Geisha" outside of Japan? I would truly say no, in my opinion. I do not believe it is possible to be a Geisha outside of Japan. So until such time as this changes I have found comfort in study and practice and respect for myself and others. I have had long conversations with retired Geisha and Japanese kimono Kitsuke teachers, and traditional dancers of many schools, artists and craftsmen from around the world. This helps me catch a tiny spark of what the true experience must be like. All I am is an actor, or possibly a midrange skill re-enactor, who re-creates an experience to the best of my ability, far from its original home. Just as my friends bring a small amount of middle-eastern tradition and life with them, when they go to dance. It is meditation and fulfillment, calming and empowering. It may not be approved by the Japanese Government, but very few people have the skills to receive this certification. This is my opinion, it can be wrong, it can be contradictory because it is the thoughts of a moment, inside a single person's head... not practiced or copied from elsewhere. Just shared here because I was asked to do so, by my dear friend.
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:57 pm

Geiko
I just logged in today to check this thread so I haven't read all the posts. That said I will address one that was addressed to me personally.
HATSUME Omgs did you even read what I posted ? I never said anyone was ugly, shameful , ignorant, mentally impaired ( but I'll leave that to the side at this juncture ) embarrassing, or ethnically incorrect. I simply stated my opinion that to run a legitimate business it takes financial , educational as well as customer support if you are to be taken seriously.

I have worked doing costuming, make-up and props professionally as well as run my own business so my position was purely from successful business standpoint. Also in my youth I had dance , etiquette , ice skating, equestrian, music lessons and was in a drama club with people who went on to make it their life work so I know there are hours of dedicated study involved to achieve proficiency in any artistic pursuit . To run a business is a major undertaking so for myself , and it was my life experience and current situation I was referring to when I said " I would not dream of opening such a business.... " I - Komatsu - am not interested in running a western okiya. Never once did I step on anyone else's dreams , desires or aspirations. If you want to have a dream, have it , live it, be about it in the best way you can but don't say you have been insulted or scorned just because it is not what someone else wants in life or doesn't have the same fantasy as your self.
If someone else has looked upon you in a disapproving manner maybe it is time for you to step back and look at your self in the mirror just to get a reality check on what the other person who criticized you saw and not take it out on others in this forum.

Sun


Last edited by Komatsu2012 on Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:22 pm

Komatsu2012 wrote:
Geiko
I just logged in today to check this thread so I haven't read all the posts. That said I will address one that was addressed to me personally.
HATSUME Omgs did you even read what I posted ?

I am so sorry that you did not understand what I wrote. If you check the other messages you will see that they are designed to address a comment made by another user of this site, which I quoted so there could be no mistake, not you. I am very sorry if you have been offended by my message. In honesty, I have gone back an edited my original message to try and make it more clearly addressed to the people involved. If you look at it, the only part that is for you, as I wrote, is a single question. That paragraph of information is the only part that deals directly with you. The rest was steam-of-consciousness dealing with the rest of the forum posts.

What I asked was simply, would you run an okiya if you had the tools I listed in my message? I did not accuse you of anything. I did not say that you wrote anything wrong, or used any words that could be accusatory. I am sorry that you took my simple question out of context as an attack, it was not intended as such. I was actually very excited by your original message, because it seemed like for once some one was seriously looking at the matter from a financial logistics standpoint and I was happy and honored that you would share your opinions here. I was hoping that you would see this as an opportunity to hash out ideas and problems with running such an enterprise in the US (or any other country). I understand I was mistaken, and you have no interest in okiyas in the west or anything of the sort. You have now made your opinion clear. Please regard this as my apology to you.
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:53 pm

Geiko
With all due respect Hasume-san I will accept your last post as a misunderstanding. If you reread what you wrote you only addressed me personally with my own quote. All I stated my my opinion on the topic. I was looking at this as a purely business situation and not some dream . I had many dreams and aspirations in life that didn't work out. I moved on and played the hand I was dealt. My grandmother's both told me " Set your own price as the world will never raise it ". By that they meant Find your true inner value and stick with it because the world will try to knock you down every chance they get.
Love love Sun
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PostSubject: Thank you Komatsu-san   Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:08 pm

I appreciate your quick response and greatly value your opinion. It is extremely hard to run a business in today's universally bad economy, and I deeply respect you for running your own. I really hope it is doing well! I would love to hear more about it sometime, if you feel like talking business. I was thinking about trying to set up funds to really run my own, but I don't have the first idea how to apply for the loans and write up a business proposal to take to a bank. Did you ever have to do this step, Komatsu-san? What about trademarks and Copywrights? Have you ever had to apply for one, for your business?

Your grandmothers both sound like incredibly smart and savvy women. I think the advice is good, as it is so easy to loose self-esteem in the face of criticism, and so hard to build it back up again if it is lost. I really wish you all the best with your own dreams... your many projects sound incredibly interesting. I hope sometime you have the chance to share images of them, here or elsewhere. Smile I for one would love to see them.

If you actually look just below the post addressed to you, you see the quote I was talking about discussed in far more depth, and clarified, so that it offended no one. You are right, in that initial message, the only post I quoted is yours. This was my error, and I apologize for the misunderstanding.
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:08 pm

Geiko
Kimino-san, you saddened me with your post in regards to the cosplay event. Don't you understand that most of those people have very boring lives and this is the only outlet they have to escape the drudgery ? DO YOU FEEL PRETTY IN KIMONO ? I think you do but worry to much what others think of you. Why ? Do they pay your bills, buy your food, care if you are sick or well ? I'm sure they don't so who cares what they think. Like I said in my last post, Set your own price as the world will never raise it Do what makes you happy and wish the rest a wonderful time in hell Dancing bunny Sun

Star Hasume-san I am no longer in business as I retired at 38yrs old due to medical problems. Now that I'm almost 60 yrs ( which at the time was not expected to be ) I would like to start another business IF I had the proper financing. I already did some preliminary figuring of finances and equipment ( to encompass the profession ) of becoming a maiko/geiko just from a collector perspective. Not really with the actual intention of doing it myself. This was about 15-20 yrs ago when it may have been feasible in my own life. I live in NYC and we do have Master's Certified in Japan in many different disciplines required to become a geisha. I was even going to take a course to become a certified kimono dresser as there is a school here . For dance we have Sachiyo Ito Dance Company and she is not only a Japanese Certified Dance Instructor but she is also been granted the title of Cultural Ambassador by The Japanese Government. She has classes for the public as well as private lessons here in Manhattan ( part of NYC ) We also have the Japan Society which is near the United Nations complex in Manhattan which has many classes and workshops for people interested in Japanese culture. Both are on-line if you wish more information
If you are interested in the list I figured out for What a Maiko/Geiko needs as far as equipment I would be glad to post it if it is acceptable to the forum administrators.
Sun
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:39 pm

Quote :
Hasume-san I am no longer in business as I retired at 38yrs old due to medical problems. Now that I'm almost 60 yrs ( which at the time was not expected to be ) I would like to start another business IF I had the proper financing. I already did some preliminary figuring of finances and equipment ( to encompass the profession ) of becoming a maiko/geiko just from a collector perspective. Not really with the actual intention of doing it myself. This was about 15-20 yrs ago when it may have been feasible in my own life. I live in NYC and we do have Master's Certified in Japan in many different disciplines required to become a geisha. I was even going to take a course to become a certified kimono dresser as there is a school here . For dance we have Sachiyo Ito Dance Company and she is not only a Japanese Certified Dance Instructor but she is also been granted the title of Cultural Ambassador by The Japanese Government. She has classes for the public as well as private lessons here in Manhattan ( part of NYC ) We also have the Japan Society which is near the United Nations complex in Manhattan which has many classes and workshops for people interested in Japanese culture. Both are on-line if you wish more information
If you are interested in the list I figured out for What a Maiko/Geiko needs as far as equipment I would be glad to post it if it is acceptable to the forum administrators.

Komatsu-san, I would love very much to see the list you have made, and compare "theoretical" logistics. A lot of all this planning is only really feasible if one is in possession of oodles and oodles of hard-earned cash. ^__^ Would that this was the case. I would be very honored to have your take on this, by the numbers, as I find anyone with the head for details awe-inspiring. Having done both professional and community theater both as a grunt laborer and with an eye towards administration, I can appreciate all the hard work such information gathering and tabulation can be!

Thanks again!

P.S. I am very sorry to hear that your health is not good and hope that you are doing as well as one can in such situations -- now long after you were expected to be dead! Sometimes I wonder about health professionals who make predictions of this sort... :/ and often inaccurate!
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:49 am

Komatsu2012 wrote:

Kimino-san, you saddened me with your post in regards to the cosplay event. Don't you understand that most of those people have very boring lives and this is the only outlet they have to escape the drudgery ? DO YOU FEEL PRETTY IN KIMONO ? I think you do but worry to much what others think of you. Why ? Do they pay your bills, buy your food, care if you are sick or well ? I'm sure they don't so who cares what they think. Like I said in my last post, Set your own price as the world will never raise it Do what makes you happy and wish the rest a wonderful time in hell

You are right Wink sometimes I only wish that people love me for who I am, that's why I sometimes care too much about what others think. But at the moment I don't have any problems in dress in kimono and go out. It's harder when you're a beginner, but then you gain knowledge and wisdom, and overcome little things like this easily.

Komatsu2012 wrote:

Both are on-line if you wish more information
If you are interested in the list I figured out for What a Maiko/Geiko needs as far as equipment I would be glad to post it if it is acceptable to the forum administrators.
Sun

You are very welcome to do that, Komatsu-san. Feel free to open a new thread about that matter in the section "tea & talk". (I wonder if I should do a new forum category about western geisha/okiya....hmmm)

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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:10 pm

Geiko Love love
I have prepared 6 documents ( Minimum Supplies For Women , Business Equipment , Business Property : Okiya , Business Set-Up : Okiya, Financing Ideas : Grant, Loans, Fundraiser's and Sample Floor Plans For Commercial Space ) which I believe would serve as a business model or plan for the operation of a “ Western Okiya “ based on my experience in running a business as well as how to promote a theatrical business. Star I will only post the MIMIMUN SUPPLIES FOR WOMEN as I consider the other 5 documents a business plan and therefore Intellectual Property under The U.S. Patents, Trademark and Copyright Laws. Star Anyone who is serious about this as an actual business can contact me personally to make arrangements to receive this package and receive advice which they can take or leave . I might be willing to be a consultant or investor but I have no interest of being an owner-operator of this enterprise. The MINIMUM SUPPLIES FOR WOMEN document should give you an idea of just how much of a financial commitment this would be some idea of what you can expect as far as the clothing and other necessities.
Sun
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:42 pm

Geiko Love love
MINIMUM SUPPLIES FOR WOMEN


12 – Full hanakanzashi sets ( monthly sets ) Special holiday / Festival ornaments

1 - Misedashi set 1 – Erikae set 1 – Minarai debut set (optional )

4 – kanoko ribbons per season ( 12 total ) depends on hair or wig restyling schedule

2 – Formal geiko sets ( spring – winter ) plus assorted tama pins

2 / 3 – Odori kanzashi ( depends on schedule for the year )

KIMONO FOR EACH GIRL ( PER SEASON )

1 – Formal ensemble ( includes obi and juban )

5 - Dance / Music lesson yukata ( 5 hanhaba obi, and 5 juban ) one per day of week

1 – Dance performance ensemble ( 2 obi / fukuro or nagoya and juban )

1 – Semi-formal ensemble ( 2 obi / fukuro or nagoya and juban )

7 – Everyday around town ensembles ( min. 4 obi nagoya / 4 hanhaba for summer 3 seasonal juban )

ALL OBI MUST MIX AND MATCH FOR EACH SEASON as just a change of obi can make a kimono look different

*** SUMMER 7 yukata for every day wear ( in addition to lesson yukata )
4 Ro ensembles 3 Sha ensembles evening wear

MAIKO NEED AT LEAST 20 – 28 DANARI OBI W-CREST Used for 2 – 5 years
4 Formal 4 – 6 seasonal ( these can be used by new girl's as business progresses )

2 – 3 Odori maiko ensembles

2 dozen obi-age / obi-jime sets ( 24 sets 6 per season ) geiko need 8-white (2 per season) for tomesode

4 – Maiko obidome 4 – geiko obi-dome ( 1 each season )

2 – formal zori 1 – pokkuri geta 8 – everyday zori ( 2 per season ) 1- rain geta 1– azuma ( rain coat )

28 pairs white tabi ( as they are worn for dance class, clean pair after, for going out, extra pair in kago
bag just in case a change is needed )

4 – kago bags ( 1 each season ) 1 – oiled parasol 2 – dance parasols 2 / 3 – summer parasols

Maiko also require a special obi-age type silk scarf that wraps around them over the kimono but under the obi-age and obi 4 – seasonal ( red )

Maiko also need special collars that start red, become embroidered white as she progresses in her studies 4 – seasonal

12 – Sets han-juban / suosyoke ( white cotton ;as these serve as underwear like a slip and camisol under the more expensive silk juban to keep them clean ; cutting down on cleaning expenses. )

1 – 2 obi -makura ( as more elaborate bows can use 2 makura ) 1 – 2 obi-ita or mae-ita ( these will be used everyday except with hanhaba or possibly nagoya ) 6 – 8 koshi-himo per girl



FANS as they are an important part of the job equipment these numbers may seem excessive until
you stop to think of how many times they are used and possible breakage or loss

2 - Dozen dance practice fans ( some dances use 1 fan some 2 fans plus the possibility of breakage.This
equals only 2 fans per month . Any left over fans can be used in the future so less are needed to be
purchased )
8 - Performance fans ( 2 per season )
1 – misedashi fan 1 - erikae fan 4 – tea ceremony fans ( seasonal )
1 - Dozen daily carry fans ( 3 per season ) 4 – uchiwa fans for daily summer carry. ( June, July, August ) 1 – extra ( loss or breakage )

Remember : Fans are very important accessories.

BUSINESS SUPPLIES FOR EMPLOYEES ( Per Girl )

1 – make-up table 1 – set of make-up including brushes and combs for hair styling
For hygienic reasons each girl should have her own grooming supplies.

Futon bedding w-linens 1 – footlocker for personal property to be stored.

1 – cell phone 1 – pocket calendar for appointments 1 – account book ( for her records )
1 – musical instrument ( shamisen, flute or drum / 3 types of drums ) plus accessories
( The musical instrument will be determined by each girl's talent but you must have between 3 – 5 of each to start so you can see who plays what. Additional instruments will need to be purchased as needed ) 1 – Tea service and sake serving set ( various seasonal motifs ) for classes and later use.

1,000 business cards per girl as these are advertizement. These will have the house name and logo.
500 separate cards w-girl's name ( these will be used sparingly )
GIRL'S MUST BE INSTRUCTER TO GIVE OUT HOUSE CARDS UNLESS THE RECIEPENT IS A PAYING CUSTOMER OR HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE ONE AS MANY GIRLS QUIT AND CUSTOM CARDS CAN BECOME VERY EXPENSIVE. Better they give out the house cards as these also come under business expenses on tax returns as advertizement. Also these are just preliminary estimates as I have never run an okiya.
( c ) 2012 Marion Jones
Sun

Any questions or feedback would be appreciated Star
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:10 am

Thank for posting this. I sent you a PM about the others Smile
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PostSubject: Thanks!   Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:11 pm

Komatsu2012 wrote:
Geiko
MINIMUM SUPPLIES FOR WOMEN
Any questions or feedback would be appreciated Star

Thank you so much Komatsu-san for sharing this incredibly detailed list of supplies!
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:01 pm

Geiko
Don't know if anyone recieves Ichiroya Newsletter. The Latest on deals with maiko collars
Love love Sun
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PostSubject: Ichiroya   Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:26 pm

Komatsu2012 wrote:
Geiko
Don't know if anyone recieves Ichiroya Newsletter. The Latest on deals with maiko collars

Oh shoot, I think I might have deleted my copy, they are so much fun to read, but get sent to my spam folder and sometimes I just delete the whole thing rather than sift through searching for Ichiroya! Did it have any tips on construction, and symbolism? I will have to see if it's still in my trash...
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PostSubject: Re: Western Okiyas - another way of immortalize the Tradition of Geisha?   Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:03 pm

Geiko http://www1.odn.ne.jp/maya/english/enknshop.htm Maya Kanzashi Shop where you can find professional kanzashi and prices
http://www1.odn.ne.jp/maya/english/kanzashi.htm Seasonal for Maiko



This is the complete set for Sept Bellflower Kikyou Price Y 44,050 $ 541.90 This is not including the kanoko ( or fusahimo or chinkoro which I did not include in my original Supplies List ) These would be fusahimo Y 735 $ 9.04 chinkoro Y 546 $ 6.72 and kanoko between Y 1,200 $ 14.76 and Y 3,900 $ 49.08 as of 11-16-2012
According to the latest Ichiroya Newsletter a new maiko collar is in excess of $ 1,200.00.
I would say, rough estimate, how much it is to outfit a maiko to start not including replacements Omgs $ 150,000.oo to $ 200,000.oo would not be unreasonable
Sun
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PostSubject: Accurate, and scary!   Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:15 pm

Absolutely correct, if you are commissioning all new pieces from kimono artists in Japan. Let us not forget, that if one is creating an "okiya" outside of Japan, there will also be the fees for lessons (either flying instructors to you, or you flying to them) and all the postage necessary to make your purchases... plus fees to get each and every piece laundered after... say... every other wearing?

It seems astronomically expensive.
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