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Do you know what they call apprentice Geisha (Maiko in Kyoto) in Kagurazaka, Tokyo?

Updated: May 21


Hangyoku: Apprentice Geisha (Maiko in Kyoto) in Kagurazaka, Tokyo

Understanding the Tradition of Geisha in Tokyo and Kyoto


Geisha, also known as Geiko in Kyoto, are entertainers who engage in conversation, serve drinks, showcase their arts, such as dancing, and entertain guests with games. The phrase "Ozashiki wo Tsukeru(御座敷を付ける)" refers to the act of performing arts such as dancing and is commonly translated as "entertaining in the tatami room."


In Tokyo and the Kanto region, they are referred to as "Geisha" or "Geigi," while apprentices are called "Hangyoku" or "Oshaku." On the other hand, in Kyoto, they are known as "Geiko," with apprentices referred to as "Maiko."


Maiko in Kyoto


Discovering the World of Apprentice Geisha


The term "Hangyoku" originates from the old practice of charging half the fee ("Gyokudai") for setting up a Geisha's banquet at a ryotei (High-end restaurant). However, today, the fee difference is often nonexistent. In Kyoto's Geisha districts, apprentices are symbolically called "Hanadai" (flower fee). In the past, they were also called 'senkōdai' as incense was used to measure the duration of banquets.


Geisha and Hangyoku


A significant difference in name recognition between "'半玉' (Hangyoku)" and "'舞妓' (Maiko)."


Maiko in Kyoto is renowned both domestically and internationally. According to WordStream's Free Keyword Tool, there were 74,000 searches for '舞妓' (Maiko) in Japan, while '半玉' (Hangyoku) had 880 and '御酌' (Oshaku) had 50 searches (as of March 16, 2024).


In the United States, 'Maiko' had 12,100 searches, 'Hangyoku' had 30, and 'Oshaku' had 20. Due to extensive media coverage in novels, manga, TV dramas, and movies, there's a significant disparity in popularity.


In recent years, in Japan, 'Maiko Haaaan!!! (舞妓Haaaan!!!)' was released as a movie in 2007, and 'Maiko is Lady (舞妓はレディ)' was released in 2014, both of which were hits. This gap poses challenges in securing apprentices like '半玉' and '御酌' in the Kanto region.


Furthermore, the search volume for '芸者' (geisha) in Japan is 12,100, and '芸妓' (geiko) is 6,600, indicating greater recognition for '芸者.' In the U.S., 'Geisha' had 90,500 searches, while 'Geiko' had 9,900.


Despite movies like 'SAYURI (Memoirs of a Geisha),' which premiered in 2005, there are concerns about the faithful portrayal of Japan's flower and willow world, with some questioning why it's referred to as 'Geisha' instead of 'Geiko' in works set in Kyoto. However, the gap in popularity isn't as significant as that between '舞妓(Maiko)' and '半玉(Hangyoku).'"


Geisha


Apprentice Geisha in Kagurazaka/Tokyo: Bridging Traditions


In regions like Kanto, securing apprentices such as "Hangyoku" or "Oshaku" is reportedly challenging due to the notable difference in popularity compared to "Geisha" or "Geiko." Despite this, the apprentice Geisha plays a crucial role in preserving traditional arts and cultural heritage.


Preserving Tradition: The Tokyo Kagurazaka Geisha Association


Currently, the Tokyo Kagurazaka Geisha Association has only one apprentice, Ms. Waka. Becoming an apprentice Geisha in Kagurazaka holds promise for her future journey into the world of Geisha.


Hangyoku: Apprentice Geisha (Maiko in Kyoto) in Kagurazaka, Tokyo


Embrace the Enchantment of Kagurazaka's Geisha


Witness the captivating songs and dances of Kagurazaka's Geisha and engage in delightful conversations with them. You'll be amazed by their skills and eloquence, creating unforgettable memories to cherish forever.


Explore the Enchantment: Apprentice Geisha (Maiko in Kyoto) in Kagurazaka/Tokyo


Immerse yourself in the world of apprentice Geisha (Maiko in Kyoto) in Kagurazaka/Tokyo. Book your experience today and delve into the rich cultural heritage of Geisha entertainment.


Hangyoku: Apprentice Geisha (Maiko in Kyoto) in Kagurazaka, Tokyo

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