The Geisha Kimina Adjusts Her Katsura

Kimina, a geisha in Miyagawa-cho in Kyoto, adjusts her wig (katsura)

The geisha Kimina of Miyagawa-cho checks her makeup and katsura (wig). Most geiko have only one katsura, and it is sent out for cleaning and maintenance every few months. More senior geiko who have remained in the profession for some time will have two katsura.

Kimina’s wig and makeup did not really need any adjustments here, but I asked her to act as if she really did need to fix something. One of the recurring themes in my portraits of geiko and maiko in recent years is to photograph them with mirrors and adjusting their hair and makeup. I particularly like the long wooden combs they use to check their hair and wigs like the one Kimina is using here. I find the tools people use in their jobs fascinating, particularly tools used by traditional craftsmen in places like Kyoto. It might be because I am so unskilled with any tools myself, except perhaps a camera…

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2 Comments

  1. stefan2009 June 30, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    Of course you’re skilled with a camera ! This portrait is very nice, I like a lot the brown wall behind her with hanameishi. And me too I like when geiko/maiko take the pose with mirror & combs.

    • John June 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

      Hi Stefan,
      As always, thank you for the comment! I know you search for photos of geiko and maiko in different places, so I was wondering if there are any photos that you would like to see but haven’t, for example of a particular dance or activity. Please let me know if you think of anything.

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