The Maiko Masayo of Gion Higashi at Setsubun

The maiko Masayo during Setsubun at Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto
The maiko Masayo during Setsubun at Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto

Because this photo of the maiko Masayo was taken so long ago (February 3, 2005!) and I can't remember much about the day, I find it very puzzling. I do know that it was taken just after the maiko of Gion Higashi performed during Setsubun at Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto. On February 3, the maiko of Gion Kobu perform at 11:00 a.m., and the maiko of Gion Higashi perform at 1:00 p.m.

What I find befuddling about the image is Masayo's pink and blue kanzashi. To me, it looks like the kanzashi worn by a minarai (a girl just about to become a maiko who dresses much like a maiko but not exactly like one), not a maiko. However, if Masayo was a minarai at this time, not a full-fledged maiko, I would be very surprised if she were an accomplished enough dancer to perform in front of the crowds at Setsubun.

I know very little about the geisha and maiko of Gion Higashi, so I'm hoping someone with more knowledge of this district will be able to help me with this kanzashi mystery!

Finally, I'm sorry I'm posting this on Tuesday, not my usual Sunday. I had a problem with my blog and was unable to log in for a few days. I'll be posting more Setsubun images all this month. I have many images from 2004 - 2009 that I'd like to share.