The Maiko Ichiemi of Ponto-cho at Setsubun
As a thank you to all the people who informed me that the kanzashi Masayo was wearing in the photo I posted last week was a kusudama kanzashi, I am posting the only other photo I have of a maiko wearing one, Ichiemi in this case.
I actually went back through all my photos of Setsubun, which I photographed every year from 2004 - 2009 (except 2008), and these are the only two photos I found of any maiko wearing a kusudama kanzashi.
I have to admit that this is not one of my favorite kanzashi. I think it reminds me of the tassles my older sister had on the handlebars of her bicycle way back in the 1970s. One day I was riding in the basket of that bicycle when my sister went over a steep curb. I went flying through the air and was fortunate to land on the soft grass of a neighbor's lawn, not the cement sidewalk. My sister was petrified until I got up and started yelling at her. Who knows, maybe more damage occurred to my brain that day than I realized!
For fans of Ponto-cho, an interesting custom that they seem to follow that no other hanamachi follows (as far as I know), is to send maiko to watch Setsubun the year before they dance at the event. For example, Hisamari was at Setsubun in 2004, but she performed in 2005. Ichiemi was at Setsubun in 2006, but she did not dance. I'm not sure if she danced or not in 2007, but I'm sure Justine or Stefan will be able to educate me!