A Glimpse of Manaha's Erikae

A glimpse of geisha Manaha at her debut
A glimpse of geisha Manaha at her debut

After four years and seven months, the maiko Manaha of Gion Kobu became a geisha last Monday, May 27, 2013.  This photo shows a moment between the second and third stages of Manaha's transformation into a geiko.

She has already had her makeup applied by a professional makeup artist (stage 1), and the father and son team from Imanishi Katsura (pictured here with Manaha) have helped her put on her katsura (wig) for the first time (stage 2). While some final adjustments were being made to Manaha's kimono (stage 3), the Imanishis started to adjust the kanzashi (hair ornaments) that go in her katsura.

I took this photo with my iPhone 5 from the corner of the room (a pretty small room since there were anywhere from 8 - 12 people in there at any given time!) to give Manaha and her guests a break from the flash of my main camera. At a private and personal event like this, it is just as important to know when to back off some as it is to know when to ask for a moment to get a key image.