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Kyoto: New Maiko Preparing to Make Dance Debut at Gion Odori

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Maiko leader Masanao, center, combs the hair of one of her juniors during a photo shoot in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, on Aug. 31.

KYOTO — Gion Odori, a famous seasonal event in Kyoto, will be held from Nov. 1 to 10 in the Gion Higashi district, one of Kyoto’s five entertainment areas called kagai. A total of 15 geiko and maiko — traditional female entertainers — are scheduled to give a dance performance.

Seven of them are maiko, who are novices in training to become geiko, and five of the seven will perform in the show for the first time.

On Aug. 31, they had a photo shoot for a pamphlet. During the session, Masanao, who has the most experience of the maiko, served as the leader, paying attention to the outfits of the younger ones.

They had to wait for many hours, during which time Masanao carefully combed the hair of her juniors one by one, and fixed the positions of their kanzashi ornamental hairpins to ease any tension.

“Like my seniors who gave me a lot of kindness, I want to support my juniors,” Masanao said. “On the stage, I want to perform serenely so that I can lead all of them.”