Maiko are apprentice geisha or geiko (as they are called in Eastern, i.e. Western Japan and Kyoto). Girls begin their journey at an early age, around 15, and it takes them several years to master the essential skills and become a full-fledged geisha.
Theirs is an occupation shrouded in mystery - popular culture equates them to women of the streets, whereas Japanese tradition asserts they are artists trained to entertain guests through dancing, singing, playing instruments, or engaging in light conversations. Flirting and innuendos do take place, though it is assured clients are aware nothing more can be expected.
Precision in applying make-up, styling hair, dressing in up to 20 pounds heavy kimonos, eating without smearing lipstick, mastering entertainment and societal arts, are only a handful of things maiko learn during their extensive and expensive apprenticeship.
Captivated by the stories of maiko, we are honoring the girls who dedicate their lives to preserving the tradition of geisha with this minimalistic visual that incorporates different aspects of Japanese and maiko culture.
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