When talking about Japan, what pops up in your mind?
Is ti Mt. Fuji? Chery blossoms? Sushi? Or Kimono…?
Many people may have an image of Geisha when asked this question.
To me, Geisha had been an ancient subject with mysterious aura. I am deeply attracted by and interested in Geisha.
You may not know that Geisha is still an active performance in today’s Japan with well preserved culture and traditions.
There are two organizations near our location that offer Geisha performances, one is called “Hakone Yumoto Geigi Kumiai”, the other one is called “Hana-no-Mai” in Atami.
I decided to visit “Hana-no-Mai” to have an experience of Japan’s Geisha style.
Because I have reserved a seat beforehand, I got a discount for my ticket and was arranged to sit on the front rows.
The theater offers green tea refreshments and a program list.
The inner stage and the layout of the stage.
There are curtains with plum flower shape mark, I guess the design of the curtain must changed according to different seasons.
After the show is finished, I went to the stage and accidentally touched the stage, I found it felt warm.
The show is well arranged to meet the spectator’s moods and expectations, it basically presents elements of tragedies and comedies by turns.
The program list describes performers for each program. Performers can be divided into two groups which are called “Tachikata” and “Jikata” representing different roles.
Tachikata are dancers, Jikata are music instrument players and singers.
The first program is called Momiji-no-hashi which means Red Leaf Bridge. Geishas holding red leaves representing the variations of red leaves from autumn to winter.
The second program is originated from an old story, the music became heavy and somewhat sad.
Even after the show, performers refer to themselves by using “Boku”, the First Person Pronoun for man in Japanese.
The music of the entire show was played and sang by three Jikata on the leftside. It felt much different between song sang by real human and music played by machine.
The rest of the show was played by using several instruments.
These Geisha were in their mid ages, they perform with good acting skills. I was deeply impressed by one geisha’s performance of a drunkard old woman.
In this set of performance, performers walked onto the stage from left side and walked to the large stage, representing the thoughts by the three during travel. However I didn’t understand the performance except the written text.
After the show, all performers boarded the stage, it looked spectacular.
Performers were introduced to the spectators in turn, when their names have been addressed, they bowed their head toward the crowd.
After the show is finished, everybody got a chance to take pictures with the performers.
They were kind enough to walk down the stage to take photos with us.
I was lucky to take some pictures of their hairstyles and makeups. However I prefer the distant view of their appearance.
On our leaving, they escorted us to the porch, they were so kind.
A woman spoke good Chinese, chatted with me in Chinese for a while.
By having close contact with them, I found they are not with rigid mind sets and mysterious as I had imaged. They are full of energies and with high spirits and kindness.
Felt just like a neighbor.
Geisha with its ancient mysteries culture heritage so far, a bit more modern.
But I think, precisely so that it can continue to pass on vitality!
|Geisha Dance – Hana-no-Mai –
|17-13 Chuou-cho, Atami, Shizuoka
|Monday to Friday
|11 am to 11:40 am on Saturday and Sunday
|1300 yen (refreshments included)
|From JR Atami Station take a bus of Tokai Bus for Momiji-no-Oka for approx. 10 minutes, get off at Shimizu-cho bus stop.
|Open throughout the year
* Please refer to the latest info before visiting the place.