Any Questions for an Otokoshi or Katsura Maker?


The gentleman opening the door for the geisha Makiko is an otokoshi, an essential figure in the world of Kyoto's geiko and maiko. An otokoshi helps maiko and geiko get dressed every day (their obi are too long for the women to tie by themselves), and he also accompanies them on their visits to tea houses during two of the most important days in their careers, their omisedashi (debut as a maiko) and erikae (debut as a geiko). This photo was taken during Makiko's erikae on February 23, 2009.

In a few weeks I will be interviewing an otokoshi and a katsura maker, a craftsman who makes the wigs that geiko wear, about their careers in general and about their roles during a geiko's erikae in particular for a very special book project.

Most of the questions will be based on photographs I have taken of these two men at work, helping a geiko put on her wig and kimono for the very first time and making sure that everything is perfect for her debut. I find their jobs and skills fascinating and want to learn more about what they were doing during each step of a geiko's erikae.

I received some interesting questions from perspectives that never occurred to me when I asked readers if they had any questions for the maiko Takahina last year, so I thought I would do the same for my interviews with the otokoshi and katsura maker.

If you have any questions for either of them, you can add them as comments to this post. If time permits, I will try to ask them when I have finished my interview and post the answers here in November.

As always, I ask only that you keep the questions polite and respectful, and please keep in mind that my time to interview each man will be quite limited. I may not have a chance to ask all the questions I get, but I will do my best to have at least one or two answered.