Traditional performer Geisha Kikuno

奈良元林院 芸妓菊乃

Kikuno Ono

Kikuno studied Nagauta, shamisen, Japanese dance, Kouta, calligraphy, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and Ohayashi * at Ganriin Kagaiin Nara Prefecture, and became to Maiko at the teahouse Tsuruya. Kikuno showed off at Kikusuiro in 1996 after an apprenticeship and became a geisha. In 1998, she was qualified as the Mochizuki-style Ohayashi, and was given the name Mochizuki Taimegajyu. In 1999, she took Hanayagi style qualification, became a name and became Hanayagi Taka, and became a Hanayagi style specialist (instructor) in 2004. She performed on the stage of Japanese dance and Ohayashi at Shochikuza, former Tokyo Kabukiza, and Ootsukinougakudo. She now has performances and events all over Japan and overseas, and is working to restore the decline of Kagai’s performing arts and to spread the culture of hospitality that Japan is proud of to the next generation.

Ohayashi *
These four instruments are called ‘Ohayashi’ (Japanese orchestra) (hogaku-bayashi (orchestra of Japanese traditional music), nagauta (long epic song with shamisen accompaniment) bayashi).


Ganriin Kagai was once crowded

Kikuno graduated from junior high school, entered Maiko training, became a geisha, and about 30 years have passed. There were about 30 geisha at that time, and it became only 1 person from now to several years ago. Nara Ganriin Town where Kikuno is located, is a kagai that opened in the Meiji period on the banks of the Sarusawa pond in the south of the world heritage Koufuku temple. In the early Showa period of the heyday, it was gorgeous with about 200 performers. The bustle of the city became the subject of Kamigata’s rakugo “Yoshino-Gitsune” without compromising on Gion in Kyoto.


Collaboration event held

In this situation, Ganriin Kagai’s geisha culture will be disrupted.
What can we do to restore the former bustle and tell more people about Nara, geisha and traditional performing arts? Kikuno and her geisha friends shared their wisdom, and after trial and error, held an event at Yakushiji Temple and Himuro Shrine. This event was attended by Kenji Williams from NY, and was the challenge collaboration with NASA’s space image and violin performance, shamisen, koto, gagaku, dance, violin, eleven string guitar, etc. The event was the beginning of the new challenge.


Ganriin kagai reconstruction project

After that, with the support of many people, Geino Kikuno became the representative and started a project to reconstruct Ganriin in Nara Prefecture. Nara has nurtured and inherited the traditional culture of tangible and intangible as much as Kyoto in the history of more than 1,300 years. We believe that it is our responsibility to study, preserve and inherit the traditional arts nurtured by Nara’s only KagaiGanriin”, along with Naramachi Geisha Kikuno and the new Maiko born here. The Nara Ganriin Kagai Reconstruction Project has been supported by volunteers from all over Japan since its establishment on November 18, 2013, and has been implementing various initiatives such as Maiko school and events to foster successors. .
Under the changing socio-economic conditions of today, Kagai and “IKI”as a culture cultivated in Kagai, and a new way of Kagai are being sought every day to preserve and inherit the traditional arts. As a result of these efforts, Nara, which originally had only one geisha, can now be increased to a total of 7 people, including 3 Geimaiko and 4 trainees.


Ganriin kagai reconstruction project HP


Hana Akari event

Along with Kikuno and her close-up geisha, there should be geisha in the same situation as ours in Japan. This event was started not only for the development of Ganriin, but also for connecting the declined Kagai performing arts nationwide to the future. This event was held four times in Nara Prefecture, once in Fukui Prefecture, and once in NY. Japan’s proud hospitality culture. We want to work together to connect the performing arts all over the world and to the future and pass on to the next generation.


Overseas performance

In NY, we visited elementary schools and universities to hold events for children and those interested in Japanese traditions.We talked about who the geisha are and what their life is like.


Osaka NanchiKagai Reconstruction Project

Osaka used to have a red light district called “Kagai”, and there were four typical ones: Kitashinchi, Shinmachi, Horie, and Nanchi (Nachi = current Minami). Around 1945, the number of geisha was 500 people in Kitashinchi, 900 people in Shinmachi, 500 people in Horie, and about 2000 people in Nanchi and is said to have been bustling as Japan’s largest Kagai. In particular, Minami is a “Nanchigokagai” (Soemoncho, Yaguramachi, Sakamachi, Namba Shinchi, Kuroemoncho), and has a large area, such as teahouses, luxury restaurants, restaurants, and inns. was the most lively in Japan. The Shimanouchi side north of the Dotonbori River is a high-class town, and the southern bank on the opposite bank is a social town. Among them, “Soemon-cho” is the most prestigious, and it is said that luxurious teahouses such as “Yamatoya” and “Tomiya” prospered. However, after the war, the number declined at the peak of the Osaka World Expo, and now there are only one Geisha in Minami and only seven in Kitashinchi. We think that there are many people who do not know the existence of teahouses. We have established a project to reconstruct Nanchi and make it in the southern area where many Geisha are crowded.


Meanwhile, Kikuno worked on the Nara Ganriin’s Kagai reconstruction, and originally Nara, who had only one geisha, now has a total of 7 people, including 3 Geisha, 4 trainees.As a next step, the Osaka Nanchi Kagai Reconstruction Project was newly launched on December 25, 2018, from the desire to reconstruct Kagai in her hometown of Osaka.



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