Painted Faces

Two ladies dressed up as a geiko (left) and a maiko (right). A geiko is also known as a geisha, an entertainer/ hostess trained in traditional Japanese music and dance. Maikos are apprentice geishas, and they tend to wear more elaborate decorations on their hair. In general, the more junior they are, the more lively and elaborate their costumes and makeup will be. The mature geishas will tend to have a much more subdued look. In Kyoto, it is not uncommon to see them (real ones) on the streets of Gion. Meanwhile, there are plenty of studios who will turn you into a geiko/ maiko for a few hours for a fee.

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17 thoughts

    • A couple of reasons really. The maiko has very modern nail art, and their lips are done the same way. Usually the maiko has their lower lips painted only. Finally, the real ones tend to hustle when they are out in public and it’s difficult to get them to pose like this 🙂

  1. Great job realizing they weren’t real. I suspect these women had done their research with not getting the one dressed as a Maiko to have her top lip fully painted. They really threw me of at first XD The Geiko though looks just about as real as you can get though the wig needs some tender loving care. I’m guessing she had a red juban that more or less gave it away? Really beautiful shot and you have a very well trained eye to realize they’re not real ^^

      • Lol well, not everyone would notice that XD There are a few more signs if you’re interested to know, It’s hard to point out the signs with the woman dressed as a Geisha because they did a really good job on her, besides the wig, though, there’s also the empty basket that Maiko and Geisha carry around. Again, there’s more signs, but I wold only want to type them out if you’re interested to learn about them ^^

      • No no, they would more likely just ignore the paparazzi and continue walking, they don’t stop to let people take photos because their patrons pay for the time it takes for them to travel as well, so they don’t like to keep them waiting if they can help it. As long as the paparazzi stay out of their way and don’t attempt to touch them (People actually do that, it’s completely ridiculous) and are generally polite, then they really don’t mind since they can’t do anything about it anyway considering it’s legal to take pictures of people in public spaces. The streets are included in those public spaces ^^

      • Yeah that’s how I can tell even before checking out their costumes. The basically scurry around very quick, while the role playing ones will take plenty of selfies. Quite the sight. I always wonder if the role players feel obliged to “act the part” when they are in costume.

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