Maiko san – 舞妓(まいこ)さん

Hi, Leo Sensei dayo!

There is no more samurai in Japan nowadays. However, you can find Maiko in Kyoto if you go there. In this column, I will introduce Maiko to you. In this column, I will write in Japanese by paragraph too. Try and check your Japanese level.

京都 舞妓さん

Who is Maiko? 

Maiko is a female who entertains guests with dance, sing, conversation and playing games. Their ages usually range from 15 to 20. Maiko is a trainee for geiko. Geiko has more skills and experiences to entertain guests.





Origin of Maiko 

Origin of maiko came from waitresses who served tea and snacks to visitors at shrine in Kyoto about 300 years ago. Then they gradually started entertaing guests with dance and song.





Appearance(hair style and clothes)

Their hair styles are very unique with their own hair, not wig and with seasonal kanzashi(traditonal hair pin with ornament). Their clothes are traditional kimono which differs according to their rank and the occasion.





Maiko system

Maiko usually belongs to okiya, which is kind of entertainment production group, and lives there and gets training at the age of 15 or 16. After one-year training of manners, dance and song, they have to take a examination for dance. Once they pass this test, maiko can perform dance and song in fromt of guests with their seniors. After 5 years, maiko has to decide they will continue as geiko or quit. Okiya will support geiko until they can earn money independently without any backup. However, most of maiko will quit and then go to university or get marry nowadays.





My experience

I have met maiko once. At that time I had lunch at Japanese restaurant. Then suddenly maiko came into restaurant and sat next to me(!) and started eating soba noodle. They were invited to event near that restaurant from Kyoto. I kept observing their talikng way and behaviors next to me and those seemed to be very modest and graceful to me. It’s quite different from current Japanese style. Interestingly, many people gathered that restaurant to see maiko since meeting maiko is very rare even for Japanese. I also did not expect I could meet maiko next to me.





For tourist in Kyoto

When you travel in Kyoto, you can become maiko with kimono and make-up. My Indonesian friend became maiko and then other tourists thought she was real maiko and surrounded her to take photo and asked for some posese!

Be a good tourist with good manner!

Thank you for reading!

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1 Response

  1. Hi Leo Sensei , I have started reading your past columns posts , this topic of Maiko is very interesting and goos knowledge to understand the Japanese culture even not common to mordern young Japanese , thx . Cheers !

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