65 Maiko Masquerade: Crafting Geisha Girlhood in Japan (Dr. Jan Bardsley)

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On this episode of the Japan Station podcast, Dr. Jan Bardsley talks about the fascinating world of Japan's maiko and geisha.

About Dr. Jan Bardsley

Dr. Jan Bardsley is Professor Emerita of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the author of Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan and the award-winning The Bluestockings of Japan: New Woman Essays and Fiction from Seito, 1911–1916. Her latest book is Maiko Masquerade: Creating Geisha Girlhood in Japan.

Topics Discussed

  • What a maiko is
  • The difference between a maiko and a geiko/geisha
  • The life of a maiko
  • What maiko and geiko/geisha do
  • The striking appearance of a maiko
  • Transitioning from a maiko to a geiko
  • The responsibilities of a geiko
  • The elaborate hairstyle of the maiko
  • The motivations of some girls who chose to become maiko
  • The famed dance productions performed by Kyoto's geiko and maiko
  • The Miyako Odori
  • Marriage as it pertains to geiko
  • How the maiko and geisha's connection to sexual labor has changed with the passing of time
  • The maiko as a mascot of Japan and Kyoto
  • The danna (patron)
  • The financial burden of supporting geiko
  • The Kyoto Traditional Music Foundation
  • Eirakuya's tenugui (hand towel) that depict maiko playing sports
  • The Kyoto International Manga Museum's maiko illustration exhibit
  • Whether foreigners can become maiko
  • Learning to become "Japanese"
  • And much more!
Support on Patreon

If you enjoy Japan Station and want to ensure that we're able to produce more episodes, then please consider becoming a patron on Patreon.com. For a minimum pledge of $1 a month you'll get early access to all JapanKyo podcasts, bonus content, and more. And for $3 a month, you'll get access to Japanese Plus Alpha, a podcast produced by me (Tony Vega) that focuses on the Japanese language and all of its fascinating quirks. Also, all pledges get a shout-out on the show and my undying gratitude. Thank you in advance!

Links, Videos, Etc.

To pick up a copy of Maiko Masquerade: Creating Geisha Girlhood in Japan, please consider using the Amazon affiliate link below.

To check out the latest episode of Ichimon Japan, use the link below.

If you would like to support the show by picking up some merchandise, make sure to visit KimitoDesigns.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing song: Oedo Controller (大江戸コントローラー) by Yunomi featuring Toriena (Used with permission from Yunomi) To listen to more of Yunomi's music, check out his Soundcloud page or YouTube channel.

Japan Station cover art: Provided by Erik R.

Featured image: Courtesy of Dr. Katarzyna Cwiertka

Featured image: Courtesy of Jan Bardsley

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Full Show Notes

78 episodes