I am making kimono wearing class in New York. One of my students, a Canadian woman living in New York, told me that she is very interested in the world of geisha and maiko, who is half-baked geisha.
She has studied abroad in Japan, and when she went to Gion, Kyoto and saw a maiko, she was touched by beauty of the maiko.
In Tokyo, where I was born, maiko is called han-gyoku. Han-gyokus have slightly different styles of kimono wearing and hair setting from maikos, but beauty of han-gyokus, which I actually saw and experienced in Mukou-jima, Tokyo, was deeply kept in my heart.
There is an inquiry form in my homepage about kimono-wearing class. In addition to business inquiries from West Coast to East Coast of USA, I have received several pure-minded writings that they were interested in geishas. While I actually joined some han-gyokus or geishas in Mukou-jima at a young age, it is difficult to explain them to foreigners in English. So, I bought this book, “A Geisha's Journey: My Life As a Kyoto Apprentice.”
When I immediately show this book to my Canadian student, she laughed and told me to have it. Through this book, foreigners should enjoy such a beautiful world of maiko and geisha as one of Japanese traditional cultures.
I would like to introduce one more kimono book, “Kimono: Fashioning Culture” written by Liza Dalby, which genuinely describes culture and history of kimonos in English. Different from gorgeous geisha world, this book focuses on various kinds of kimonos from twelve-layered ceremonial kimonos to modern casual kimonos. My Canadian student also has this book!
I am wondering both books are required readings for foreign people who are interested in kimonos. And through these books I can also glimpse kimono world from foreigners’ view.