Welcome, one and all, to today’s guest post. Later today, we’ll have a book spotlight on Fireworks and Stolen Kisses by Freddy MacKay and Angel Martinez, but in the lead-up, we have a guest post from Freddy.
Geisha vs. Maiko
by Freddy MacKay
In Fireworks & Stolen Kisses, we meet Haru, a Satislit, aka a bride-son. This is a trained position within the lijun society and Satislit are highly sough after. When Angel and I created this world we knew we’d have this type of character and we had to go about making choices on what we wanted to base it on. Satislit are skilled marriage prospects, not unlike refined young women were taught in high society in Europe, America or Asia. In our world, Lijun and humans mirrored each other, sometimes one influencing how the other created their customs. In our world, Satislit were around long before geishas, but their training is similar.
Geisha are considered to be “Women of Art” in Japan, and it is one of the few female run, female dominated professions in Japan. In their profession they have to learn the proper ways of serving tea, dancing, playing an instrument, techniques in gaming and conversation, and more. Their training traditionally started very young, though in contemporary times they are young women, and it is this image that most people have of geisha, however they are actually picturing maikos.
The maikos, “Women of Dance” are apprentices, and to make up for their lack of refinement, they are more elaborate in their makeup, kimono and hair. Since they are still learning the proper social graces and networking, they are to make up for their lack of knowledge by their appearance. During their apprenticeship, maikos will wear five different hairstyles to signify where they are in their training.
Once maikos are promoted to fill-fledged geisha (in a ceremony called erikae — turning of the collar) their make up becomes more subdued as they get older because it’s a signifier of maturity. The wearing of the white makeup becomes much less common and used usually only during formal occasions for certain situations.
Below are a few photos of geisha and maiko – I borrowed them from wikipedia.