Stunning performance by Geisha Kikuno
Over two hundred people came to the J-Collabo’s fall festival held at J-Labo on September 7th. One of the main events of the festival was Geisha performance by Kikuno, who is a professional Geisha in Nara, which is an area that was flourished as a capital of Japan around 1300 years ago.
It was the first Geisha performance in Brooklyn, and Kikuno fascinated her guests with her subtle and elegant movements that have been passed down for years as well as her silk kimono and traditional Geisha makeup that covered her face all white with bright red lips.
Kikuno started to train to become a Geisha right after graduating from junior high school. She was influenced by her aunt, who is running an ochaya, which literally means tea house, where Geisha entertain customers, and also her father and grandmother, who play Japanese traditional dance. The origin of Geisha dates back to 300 years ago in the Edo period. Geisha are highly skilled women in dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments to entertain their patrons, and not only their skills but also their beauty and grace have been considered to be a traditional Japanese aesthetic.
However, as a people’s trend changes, the number of Geisha districts called Hanamachi has decreased from 600 to 10 in the past 80 years. Each Hanamachi has its original Geisha performance and entertainment. Kikuno emphasizes the importance of carrying on the tradition to the next generation as one of professional Geisha. Kikuno has recently collaborated with Geisha from other Hanamachi, and has played outside of Nara where she has her own ochaya. Her show in New York was a part of her commitments dedicated to preserving Geisha culture. Kikuno was pleased to have straightforward and favorable feedbacks from the guests at the J-Collabo fall festival, and she is blessed to have an opportunity to show her work outside of Japan for the first time.
Being Geisha enables to meet various people, and this is what Kikuno has been attracted to the most as a Geisha. Her passion and challenge as Geisha continues, and J-Collabo is looking forward to seeing her next performance in New York soon.
(c) Kimio Takeyama