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Geisha of Akita - Kitsuke of Yesteryear

Kitsuke of yesteryear akita geisha 01.jpg

This photograph came from an album of a group of geisha from Akita, spanning many decades, starting out in the early 30's, with photos up to the mid 60's.  This particular photograph stood out from the rest in numerous ways. While there is no exact date attached, based on the surrounding photos in the album, along with the kitsuke it's likely to be from the late 30s or very early 40s.

The hairstyle on the geisha to the right is unusual and stunning. While simple in style, the way the braids frame her face, forming a heart gives an effortlessly chic feel. Additionally, their eri (collars) sit quite nicely. It is, however, a rather tell-tale sign they are geisha, as non-geisha would likely have worn the back of their eri closer to the nape of their neck.

The geisha on the left looks to be wearing a komon that has faux kanoko shibori rinzu, and her haori, with the distinct, slight shadowing around the leaves and petals, is meisen with tsubaki (camellia) and hato (pigeon) pattern.

Kitsuke of yesteryear akita geisha 02.jpg

The haori worn by the geisha on the right has kiku (chrysanthemum) in a hishi (diamond) shape while her kimono has a pattern of igeta overlaid on tatewaku. As a monochrome photo, it is up to the imagination in pondering what the original colours were.

While the featured photo shows the two geisha in casual kitsuke, the photo to the right shows the difference with them wearing their formal geisha attire. This photo would have been taken on New Year’s Day, as in addition to wearing kuro hikizuri, they are also wearing rice husk kanzashi.