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Foreign Kimono-San: The Great Debate

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Foreign Kimono-San: The Great Debate

Post  AnaIkimaru on Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:12 am

Hey everyone! I think it's about time for our first debate. It's no secret that some internet sites and forums ban or try to dissuade the topic of kimono-san. But why is that? Before we get started, let's quickly identify *what* a kimono-san is, before jumping into this topic.

A kimono-san first and foremost, a woman in kimono. However, her role is a bit foggier. Inside Japan, she is seen as a hostess skilled in traditional music, song, dance, and games. She is not seen as a geisha, but more as a talented hostess with her own repetoire of arts and a performer in her own right. Her kitsuke (kimono dressing) is also different from a geisha's.

A foreign kimono-san is even more confusing. Some dress up as geisha, others merely in a nice kimono ensemble. Almost all of them can be divided into three catagories- a performer, an educator, or a mix of both.

A performer would be more inclined to wear snazzier attire, wear oshiroi (makeup) more frequently, and generally perform more frequently on a stage rather than in a workshop. Their main duty would be to entertain.

An educator would be more often demonstrating skills in a classroom or workshop setting. She may not be wearing hiki (trailing) kimono such as hikizuri or susohiki, and may forgo stage peices altogether. Her main purpose is to show the arts that pertain to traditional Japanese cultureand explain them. Truly, her job is to educate.

Then, there is the final classification, which is probably the one I fall under. The performer and educator. This would require a broad range in attire- from a nice kimono ensemble in your favorite colors, to a season-specific stage kimono ensemble for each season. One should know at least three songs to comfortably perform in front of an audience. In this case, I believe this is the only classication of kimono-san that should have reasonable cause to perform geisha literature without physically being one herself- I for example perform the first verse of gion kouta in Japanese, then in English.

Regardless of classification, I believe all kimono-san should have at least three arts that they are comfortable with- kistuke kimono dressing, buyo dance, uta song, fue flute, shamisen banjo, asobi games, language, fortune telling, origami paper folding, etc. Kistuke is a must, and one of the traditional arts listed before language should be a second.

----------------

That said, with the definition of a kimono-san clear, why do you think foreign kimono-san have such a taboo image?
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Re: Foreign Kimono-San: The Great Debate

Post  Dr.B aka Matsuko on Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:07 am

I do hope that you don't mined if I clarify a few of things.

AnaIkimaru wrote:Hey everyone! I think it's about time for our first debate. It's no secret that some internet sites and forums ban or try to dissuade the topic of kimono-san. But why is that?


The only web site that bans the topic of Kimono-sans is Immortal Geisha Forums and for good reson. Trust me I was on the front lines of that flam war.

It all started out as a simple post about What if there was a real Okiya in the U S. The conversation then turned to what if we started owe own okiya in the west and that led to the birth of the concept of kimono-san except we used the term Nishi Geisha back then. At this point in the thread people started to brake in to two camps.
" The Japanese Geisha only Camp" There stance was geisha should only be in Japan and Nishi Geisha/kimono-san are disrespectful to real geisha . " The Nishi Geisha Camp later the Anti-IG camp" There stance was lets recreate a hole Hanamachi and live exactly like Kyoto maiko. The thread then degraded in to the worst flam war in IG history. This prompted the mods to lock the thread and politely ask people not to discus it. A number of the Nishi Geisha Camp members competently ignored this request and started another Nishi Geisha thread. The mods then locked this tread and started to realy put ther foot down at this piont. Naomi even made a stiky post as to why she wanted us to not talk about Nishi geisha,K-san and foreign Okiyas. This thread was then hijacked by the same group of Nishi geisha camp members. The mod delated all of the hijakres post from that thread locked it and then beaned the offending members for braking the rules.

http://www.immortalgeisha.com/ig_bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=5359

http://www.immortalgeisha.com/ig_bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=5246&hilit=okiya



AnaIkimaru wrote:let's quickly identify *what* a kimono-san is, before jumping into this topic. A kimono-san first and foremost, a woman in kimono. However, her role is a bit foggier. Inside Japan, she is seen as a hostess skilled in traditional music, song, dance, and games. She is not seen as a geisha, but more as a talented hostess with her own repetoire of arts and a performer in her own right. Her kitsuke (kimono dressing) is also different from a geisha's.
A foreign kimono-san is even more confusing. Some dress up as geisha, others merely in a nice kimono ensemble. Almost all of them can be divided into three catagories- a performer, an educator, or a mix of both.

Not every Kimono-san is a woman. Some are men. some men dress like Tikomochi and others like Onagata. There are not any Japanese Kimono-san. There only geisha and Furisode-san in japan. All kimono-san are "foreign" I based the idea of Kimono-san on Furisode-san but with some big differences. Furisode-san are all female. Thay only where Furisode and that must retire at age 25.
Kimono-san can be any gender Thay where any kind of kimono (hence the name kimono-san) and that can continue to perform as long as that wish.

IG
What is a Furisode-san?
Furisode-san are young unmarried Japanese women between the age 18 - 25 years old that train for 6 months in Japanese dance and 2 months in tea ceremony in order to entertain and appear at various events. They are employed by the "Asakusa sight-seeing long-sleeved kimono institute" Furisode-san wear furisode, not hikizuri as worn by maiko. They wear wigs styled similar to the maiko's split peach, but only split in the back and the shibori ribbon tighter to the center knot. They do not wear darari obi, they tie their obi in the kouken musubi.

What is a Kimono-San or Nishi-geisha?
Kimono-san and Nishi-geisha are titles created outside of Japan to describe those foreigners who wish to mimic the lifestyle of geisha and maiko. Kimono-san often dress in a cosplay style similar to Furisode-san and attempt to entertain in the Japanese manner. Often, while some of these women have had professional dance, kitsuke or tea-ceremony lessons, many have no traditional Japanese training or have been entirely self taught. These titles are not known in, authorized or recognized by Japan.

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Re: Foreign Kimono-San: The Great Debate

Post  Hayashi-san on Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:33 pm

well,i am the author of that idea,i were banned from IG because of it and called "madam"( my nick there was nozmoscada).When i posted it,Naomi warned the entire forum to be aware about people with fake job offers like me..i got very pissed off and started to react.So,in the end,Naomi said that i were ruining the boards and closed it for some time....to be honest,all that was a great bullshit ><! None of them were japanese to won any tradition,besides japaneses imitate/take from other cultures all they feel it´s nice for them and make adaptations,so why it´s a crime to have nishi geishas? It all started because i were accused of willing to create a prostitution house Mad .

The polemic of nishi geisha exists only for women in America and Europe.I have never seen men condening me when i talk about it or natives from other countries,even japanese that are out USA.

In any way,the time passed by,the idea got mature and wasn´t not forgotten. Very Happy

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