Meeting the White Geisha - Sayukiさんと合いに

Last week I headed off to Asakusa to meet the 'White Giesha' - although it sounds like something out of a fairy tale, there really is a foreign geisha. Sayuki took an MBA at Oxford before turning to social anthropology, and specializing in Japanese culture. She has spent half of her life in Japan, graduating from Japanese high school, and then becoming the first white girl to enter Japan’s oldest university, Keio.

先週、白人の芸者さんと合いに浅草に行きました。物語のように聞こえますが、本当に外国人の芸者がいます。オックスフォード大学にて MBA を取得し、日本文化を中心とした社会人類学を研究されているそうです。人生の半分位は日本で過ごし、日本の高校を卒業した後、京王大学に入学した初外国人だったそうです。

Sayuki has lectured at a number of universities around the world, and has published several books on Japanese culture. She is also an anthropological film director with credits on NHK, BBC, National Geographic Channel programmes.

Sayuki さんは世界中の大学で講義したり、日本文化についての本も出版されました。NHK, BBC, ナショナルジオグラフィクチャンネルで放送されたことのあるような社会人類学の映画監督でもある女性です。

And she's opened her own shop in Asakusa, one of the oldest and most traditional neighbourhoods in Tokyo. I wanted to find out how long it takes a geisha to get dressed, see how many kimonos she owns and see if I could get a hitoe (single-layer) kimono to wear for June and September.


The store has lots to draw kimono fans, both Japanese and foreign.  Kimono Beginners can buy a "full set" of underwear including footwear for 15,000 yen at the shop. Then If you add a recycled kimono and a recycled obi from 2000 yen upwards you have a full set of kimono for around 20,000 - 30,000. Sayuki and her team can dress you in the shop and teach you how to do it, and you can take your full kimono outfit home with you. It is common for groups to head to the shop and then to all go out to lunch together at a tea-house.


Sayuki's tsukeobi: the geisha obi that you can tie yourself in 3 minutes. Anyone can bring their own obis to the shop and get them made into a tsukeobi for 3150 yen (Sayuki says this is helpful because 100% of Japanese women have obis at home though only 8% can now tie them). She also says this is her secret to getting fully dressed in under 10 minutes!

紗幸の付け帯:たった3分で結べる芸者さんの帯。自分の帯をお店に持って行けば、3150円で付け帯に加工してもらってそのまま家の持って帰れます。Sayuki さんによると、日本の女性は全員家に帯がありますが、8%しか結ぶことができないそうです。この帯は、紗幸さんの10分以下の着付け時間のヒミツでもあるそうです!

Lastly, anyone can send Sayuki-san a box of the kimono they have at home that they may have inherited and don't know what to do with, and Sayuki and her team can provide advice on what you have, what you need to add, and coordinate some new ensembles for you. All ways to make kimono wearing as easy as possible.


Under her watchful eye, I was suited up in a hitoe (single layer) kimono, including summer underwear, obi (sash), obijime (sash tie) and obiage (silk scarf) for about 15,000 yen.


This makes my 6th kimono (one for every month of the project) now. As for Sayuki-san - as a geisha she requires so many more. She has around 100!

これで私の着物コレクションの6着目になります!このプロジェクトの月と一致しますね。しかし芸者の 紗幸さんはもっともっと必要です。100枚位持っているそうです!

1 comment:

  1. About Sayuki

    you should check this out

    Fiona Graham was ordered by the New Zealand Tenancy Tribunal to make the payments after a Dunedin hearing in December.
    By Matthew Haggart on Thu, 5 Feb 2009


    Fiona Graham
    from Wikipedia


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